This study examined the potential for forgiveness to act as a healing agent in cases of traumatic violence. An exploration of the psychological, emotional, behavioral, and somatic characteristics of the experience of trauma and journey to forgiveness was explored, as well as the ways in which forgiveness supported the healing process of victims and/or family survivors of violence. The study was based on qualitative interviews with14 victims and/or family survivors who had suffered harm associated with acts of violence. Descriptive and explanatory analysis identified nine categories with three comprehensive themes: 1) acts of violence produce trauma and forgiveness is a means for healing that trauma; 2) the mediating factors of a) strength of relationship with the offender; b) religious or spiritual worldview; c) apology; d) offender accountability; and e) face-to-face meeting with the offender create conditions favorable for the emergence of forgiveness and 3) forgiveness produces psychological, emotional, behavioral, and somatic healing outcomes for victims and survivors of violence
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Thesis advisor: Morrison, Brenda
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