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postgraduate thesis: A study of forgiveness and reconciliation of married couples in the Chinese context: development of a clinicalintervention model

TitleA study of forgiveness and reconciliation of married couples in the Chinese context: development of a clinicalintervention model
Authors
Advisors
Issue Date2012
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Abstract
 This study examines the intra- and inter-personal processes through which married couples achieve forgiveness and reconciliation. In phase one of the study, in-depth interviews were conducted. Six couples from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were interviewed to identify the steps taken by both parties that allowed them to achieve forgiveness and reconciliation after hurtful events in their marriages. The steps taken by the injured parties in such situations include acknowledging pain, letting go of grudges, viewing the offending party differently and reestablishing trust; in turn, the injurer accepts responsibility for his or her wrongdoing, expresses remorse, resolves his or her inner struggles and receives trust in his or her integrity. The results demonstrate that balance is of paramount importance in relationships. Although the injured party needs to regain his or her sense of justice, the dignity of the injurer must also be protected. In addition, because both parties may have acted wrongfully, the roles of the injured and the injurer may become reversed during the reconciliation process. Finally, when reconciliation is achieved through forgiveness and the redevelopment of trust, identity reconstruction occurs. The implications of these findings for marital counseling are presented. In phase two of the study, two major scales, the Transgression-related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory and the Relationship Trust Scale, were validated using questionnaires completed by 665 married individuals. Both of the scales exhibit excellent internal reliability and demonstrate construct validity. The validation process revealed that the perfectionist tendencies of Chinese married couples may lead them not to want to “bury” their resentment to advance the relationship. Instead, Chinese couples may prefer harmonious relationships without any negative sentiment. Practitioner research was employed in the final phase of the study. Ten couples received counseling from the researcher, who was also a clinician, after experiencing transgressions in their marriages. As measured using the validated scales, the couples had improved significantly by the end of the counseling process; the impact of the hurtful event had decreased; and forgiveness, trust and dyadic adjustment had increased. The wives also exhibited significant improvement in terms of their marital satisfaction levels, although the husbands did not. Based on the clinical data, the researcher developed a five-phase intervention model that helps married couples to forgive and reconcile. In this model, the first phase involves engaging the couples. For the parties involved to be able to move on with the counseling process, the conflict between the spouses needs to be de-escalated. The second phase involves addressing the injustice gap and the hurt feelings of the injured party via dialogue between the spouses. When forgiveness is granted during the third phase, an identity reconstruction process ensues. The fourth phase involves rebuilding the emotional bond between the spouses and their sense of trust, and in the final phase, the couple consolidates the change. In addition, the effort to connect the couples to their ancestral, cultural and spiritual resources is an essential intervention strategy; as such resources can sustain the couples during this arduous journey.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectForgiveness.
Reconciliation.
Marriage counseling.
Dept/ProgramSocial Work and Social Administration

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.advisorChan, CLW-
dc.contributor.advisorLeung, PPY-
dc.contributor.authorWong, Lai-cheung.-
dc.contributor.author黃麗彰.-
dc.date.issued2012-
dc.description.abstract This study examines the intra- and inter-personal processes through which married couples achieve forgiveness and reconciliation. In phase one of the study, in-depth interviews were conducted. Six couples from mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong were interviewed to identify the steps taken by both parties that allowed them to achieve forgiveness and reconciliation after hurtful events in their marriages. The steps taken by the injured parties in such situations include acknowledging pain, letting go of grudges, viewing the offending party differently and reestablishing trust; in turn, the injurer accepts responsibility for his or her wrongdoing, expresses remorse, resolves his or her inner struggles and receives trust in his or her integrity. The results demonstrate that balance is of paramount importance in relationships. Although the injured party needs to regain his or her sense of justice, the dignity of the injurer must also be protected. In addition, because both parties may have acted wrongfully, the roles of the injured and the injurer may become reversed during the reconciliation process. Finally, when reconciliation is achieved through forgiveness and the redevelopment of trust, identity reconstruction occurs. The implications of these findings for marital counseling are presented. In phase two of the study, two major scales, the Transgression-related Interpersonal Motivations Inventory and the Relationship Trust Scale, were validated using questionnaires completed by 665 married individuals. Both of the scales exhibit excellent internal reliability and demonstrate construct validity. The validation process revealed that the perfectionist tendencies of Chinese married couples may lead them not to want to “bury” their resentment to advance the relationship. Instead, Chinese couples may prefer harmonious relationships without any negative sentiment. Practitioner research was employed in the final phase of the study. Ten couples received counseling from the researcher, who was also a clinician, after experiencing transgressions in their marriages. As measured using the validated scales, the couples had improved significantly by the end of the counseling process; the impact of the hurtful event had decreased; and forgiveness, trust and dyadic adjustment had increased. The wives also exhibited significant improvement in terms of their marital satisfaction levels, although the husbands did not. Based on the clinical data, the researcher developed a five-phase intervention model that helps married couples to forgive and reconcile. In this model, the first phase involves engaging the couples. For the parties involved to be able to move on with the counseling process, the conflict between the spouses needs to be de-escalated. The second phase involves addressing the injustice gap and the hurt feelings of the injured party via dialogue between the spouses. When forgiveness is granted during the third phase, an identity reconstruction process ensues. The fourth phase involves rebuilding the emotional bond between the spouses and their sense of trust, and in the final phase, the couple consolidates the change. In addition, the effort to connect the couples to their ancestral, cultural and spiritual resources is an essential intervention strategy; as such resources can sustain the couples during this arduous journey.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B48199333-
dc.subject.lcshForgiveness.-
dc.subject.lcshReconciliation.-
dc.subject.lcshMarriage counseling.-
dc.titleA study of forgiveness and reconciliation of married couples in the Chinese context: development of a clinicalintervention model-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4819933-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesisleveldoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineSocial Work and Social Administration-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b4819933-
dc.date.hkucongregation2012-

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