Interpreting Forgiveness from a Hermeneutical Approach

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Hawthorne, Cynthia
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Abstract counsellors hear accounts of how clients have suffered from abuse, serious offences and mistreatment or have been impacted by acts of infidelity, divorce or by violence, rape, torture or murder; all which can critically consume the client's life. Helping these individuals to resign their tragic history is challenging, yet rewarding for the client. In this paper, an 8 stage hermeneutical approach to forgiveness was created by applying a combination of process-based forgiveness steps, with decision-based forgiveness approaches and mapped on a colour-coded healing spiral. This approach was applied to a case study to illustrate how forgiveness therapy can help clients recognize how they responded to being hurt and that unforgiveness and bitterness is energy consuming. The case study will demonstrate that by working through the healing spiral of forgiveness, the individual can find meaning in the offence, redirect destructive thoughts and make steps towards living life free from resentment, bitterness, anger and internal strife.
forgiveness in therapy , hermeneutics in therapy , abuse counseling