Journal of Religion and Health

, Volume 35, Issue 3, pp 225–230 | Cite as

The use of altruism and forgiveness in therapy

  • Joseph R. Canale
  • Royce White
  • Kim Kelly


This study investigates the relative likelihood of psychotherapists promoting altruism and forgiveness as therapeutic agents as compared with other techniques. One hundred and five therapists were asked to rate the relative likelihood of fostering altruism, forgiveness, direct expression of feelings, vicarious ventilation of feelings, and self-reinforcement in response to treating four presenting problems where a fictitious client had been hurt by another. Results indicated that, for the most part, altruism and forgiveness were likely to be promoted significantly less often than the other three therapeutic alternatives by the therapists sampled. The association of altruism and forgiveness with religious values and their disassociation from selftheory are posited as possible explanations for the findings.


Therapeutic Agent Present Problem Therapeutic Alternative Relative Likelihood Direct Expression 
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Copyright information

© Institutes of Religion and Health 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph R. Canale
    • 1
  • Royce White
    • 1
  • Kim Kelly
    • 1
  1. 1.Psychology Department of of Marist CollegePoughkeepsie

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