Handbook of the Psychology of Self-Forgiveness

  • Lydia Woodyatt
  • Everett L. Worthington, Jr.
  • Michael Wenzel
  • Brandon J. Griffin

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xxi
  2. Understanding Self-Forgiveness

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Lydia Woodyatt, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Michael Wenzel, Brandon J. Griffin
      Pages 3-16
    3. Colin Wayne Leach
      Pages 17-28
    4. Lydia Woodyatt, Michael Wenzel, Melissa de Vel-Palumbo
      Pages 43-58
    5. Kirsten L. Graham, Jessica L. Morse, Maeve B. O’Donnell, Michael F. Steger
      Pages 59-72
  3. The Causes and Consequences of Self-Forgiveness

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 73-73
    2. Loren L. Toussaint, Jon R. Webb, Jameson K. Hirsch
      Pages 87-99
    3. Michael Massengale, Elise Choe, Don E. Davis
      Pages 101-113
    4. Sara Pelucchi, Camillo Regalia, F. Giorgia Paleari, Frank D. Fincham
      Pages 115-130
    5. Julie J. Exline, Joshua A. Wilt, Nick Stauner, Valencia A. Harriott, Seyma N. Saritoprak
      Pages 131-145
    6. Michael J. A. Wohl, Melissa M. Salmon, Samantha J. Hollingshead, Sara K. Lidstone, Nassim Tabri
      Pages 147-159
  4. Applications of Self-Forgiveness in Psychopathology and Psychotherapy: Models and Modalities of Intervention

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 161-161
    2. Marilyn A. Cornish, Nathaniel G. Wade, Ana Cikara
      Pages 163-177
    3. Everett L. Worthington Jr., Brandon J. Griffin, Nathaniel G. Wade
      Pages 179-192
    4. Elizabeth G. Ruffing, Sarah H. Moon, Jennifer Krier, David R. Paine, Eliyohu Wolff, Steven J. Sandage
      Pages 193-206
    5. Brandon J. Griffin, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Christopher M. Bell, Don E. Davis
      Pages 207-218
  5. Applications of Self-Forgiveness in Psychopathology and Psychotherapy: Clinical Applications to Specific Domains

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 219-219
    2. Brandon J. Griffin, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Steven J. Danish, John Donovan, Caroline R. Lavelock, Laurel Shaler et al.
      Pages 221-233
    3. Frederick A. DiBlasio
      Pages 235-248
    4. Jon R. Webb, Loren L. Toussaint, Jameson K. Hirsch
      Pages 265-277
    5. David K. Mosher, Joshua N. Hook, Joshua B. Grubbs
      Pages 279-291
    6. Jon R. Webb, Jameson K. Hirsch, Loren L. Toussaint
      Pages 309-325
    7. Tim Windsor
      Pages 327-340
    8. Lydia Woodyatt, Everett L. Worthington Jr., Michael Wenzel, Brandon J. Griffin
      Pages 341-350
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 351-369

About this book


The present volume is a ground-breaking and agenda-setting investigation of the psychology of self-forgiveness. It brings together the work of expert clinicians and researchers working within the field, to address questions such as: Why is self-forgiveness so difficult? What contexts and psychological experiences give rise to the need for self-forgiveness? What approaches can therapists use to help people process difficult experiences that elicit guilt, shame and self-condemnation? How can people work through their own failures and transgressions?

Assembling current theories and findings, this unique resource reviews and advances our understanding of self-forgiveness, and its potentially critical function in interpersonal relationships and individual emotional and physical health. The editors begin by exploring the nature of self-forgiveness. They consider its processes, causes, and effects, how it may be measured, and its potential benefits to theory and psychotherapy. Expert clinicians and researchers then examine self-forgiveness in its many facets; as a response to guilt and shame, a step toward processing transgressions, a means of reducing anxiety, and an essential component of, or, under some circumstances a barrier to, psychotherapeutic intervention. Contributors also address self-forgiveness as applied to diverse psychosocial contexts such as addiction and recovery, couples and families, healthy aging, the workplace, and the military.

Among the topics in the Handbook:

  • An evolutionary approach to shame-based self-criticism, self-forgiveness and compassion.
  • Working through psychological needs following transgressions to arrive at self-forgiveness.
  • Self-forgiveness and health: a stress-and-coping model.
  • Self-forgiveness and personal and relational well-being.
  • Self-directed intervention to promote self-forgiveness.
  • Understanding the role of forgiving the self in the act of hurting oneself.

The Handbook of the Psychology of Self-Forgiveness serves many healing professionals. It covers a wide range of problems for which individuals often seek help from counselors, clergy, social workers, psychologists and physicians. Research psychologists, philosophers, and sociologists studying self-forgiveness will also find it an essential handbook that draws together the advances made over the past several decades, and identifies important directions for the road ahead.


guilt worhtlessness remorse positive psychology psychopathology personal transgression self-condemnation self-forgiveness therapy moral injury self-acceptance self-compassion counselling psychology social psychology

Editors and affiliations

  • Lydia Woodyatt
    • 1
  • Everett L. Worthington, Jr.
    • 2
  • Michael Wenzel
    • 3
  • Brandon J. Griffin
    • 4
  1. 1.School of PsychologyFlinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyVirginia Commonwealth UniversityRichmondUSA
  3. 3.School of PsychologyFlinders University of South AustraliaAdelaideAustralia
  4. 4.San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical CenterSan FranciscoUSA

Bibliographic information