School of Behavioral Sciences


Doctor of Education in Community Care and Counseling (EdD)


Daniel Marston


Interpersonal Trauma, Childhood Trauma, Forgiveness, Self-Compassion, Actualized Forgiveness


Counseling | Social and Behavioral Sciences


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences adults have with forgiveness in healing from interpersonal childhood trauma. Forgiveness is a phenomenon often talked about in research and healing modalities. This study utilized a qualitative interview approach to explore how adult survivors of interpersonal trauma in childhood think about and integrate forgiveness into their healing journey. Research participants included 15 individuals who are between 25 and 45 years of age and self-identified as having experienced interpersonal trauma during their childhood. In-depth interviews were conducted to explore how each individual feels about forgiveness and how they might have integrated forgiveness into their healing from the trauma they experienced as children. Further, this study explored how the experience of forgiveness in their healing journey has impacted or changed the experience of trauma symptoms in their lives. The themes derived from the data collected in interviews included letting go, actualized forgiveness, and self-compassion. Findings presented a better understanding of the impact of the definition of forgiveness an individual internalizes, implications for practice, and the need for future research to follow up on this study and potentially focus on male perspectives.

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