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Rebecca L. Jobe


This study expanded on the existing empirical research on forgiveness and specifically ho'oponopono, a traditional Hawaiian forgiveness process. An extensive literature review revealed that while forgiveness has gained in popularity among researchers and clinicians, few therapeutic process-based models have been researched. Furthermore, ho'oponopono has not been studied as a process-based approach to forgiveness. Therefore, the purpose of the present between-groups, within-groups, repeated measures study was to assess the effects of the application of ho'oponopono (focused on a specific transgressor) on levels of unforgiveness, as measured by the Transgression-Related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory (TRIM). The participants (N = 79) were randomly divided into a test group and a control group. Both groups completed the TRIM twice and the test group engaged in the process of ho'oponopono between the pre- and post-test assessments. Two separate paired-sample t tests were used to examine the control group (n = 39) and the test group (n = 40), and a 1-way ANOVA was conducted between groups to examine the effectiveness of ho'oponopono with the test group in comparison to the control group. The results demonstrated that those who engaged in the ho'oponopono process subsequently experienced a statistically significant reduction in unforgiveness, whereas those in the control group showed no statistically significant change in negative affect over the course of the study. Based on these findings and by validating ho'oponopono as an effective therapeutic forgiveness method, this study lays the groundwork for future research of this specific forgiveness process. Strong implications for positive social change through the application of ho'oponopono include improved health, and improved interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships.