Date of Conferral





Counselor Education and Supervision


Theodore P. Remley


Forgiveness is a concept that is strongly rooted in Christianity. Forgiveness therapy was developed with Christian principles and has proven to be successful for Christian counselors. However, forgiveness has not been explored from the perceptions of secular counselors. Specifically, it is not known if secular counselors are using concepts that are similar to Christian forgiveness therapy. Using forgiveness therapy, this qualitative grounded theory study described the experiences, thoughts, and understanding of forgiveness from the views of secular counselors. Research questions addressed if secular mental counselors have a concept similar to forgiveness therapy as defined in the Christian counseling literature. Individual interviews were recorded via Zoom, transcribed, open coded, and analyzed to produce themes. The 10 themes that were generated from the data included (a) varied theoretical orientations, (b) need to address/assess client anger, (c) perceptions of anger, (d) various meanings of forgiveness, (e) views on reconciliation, (f) acceptance and moving forward, (g) working with client trauma, (h) mindfulness is the key, (i) participants' lives and their personal resiliency, and (j) same approach used to address various types of anger. The results demonstrated that the secular counselors in this study believed that forgiveness is not needed to address anger. Counselors who read this study will gain a greater understanding of forgiveness, as well as counseling techniques and theories used to address anger from the standpoint of secular counselors. Information from this study may be used in the development and education of all counselors and will increase understanding of varied approaches in counseling.