Background: Forgiveness therapy has been used in many settings and with various
populations. Existing theoretical and empirical perspectives on forgiveness point to the
potential utility of this innovative theoretical model. However, its use with those who have
experienced child abuse and neglect is undocumented.
Method: This paper represents an initial exploration of the contribution of forgiveness
therapy (FT) to heal the wounds of child maltreatment. A case study is presented that
demonstrates the utilization of DiBlasio's family based conjoint approach to assist an
adolescent victim of severe paternal maltreatment within the context of the Bedouin-Arab
Structured assessment instruments were used to measure change over time in a father and son.
Results: Positive child outcomes related to self-esteem, life satisfaction, and school
attendance are reported. At the same time, decreased valuation of parenting skills and family
functioning was also found, which may be related to the sober confrontation of interpersonal
difficulties integral to FT.
Conclusions: The therapeutic process described points to the importance of engaging the
maltreating father as additional victim. This necessitates a modification of existing
forgiveness therapy models that focus exclusively on the pain and suffering of the primary
and obvious victim. Therapist readiness to compromise on traditional considerations related
to therapeutic setting may also be needed in order for forgiveness therapy to succeed within
this understudied cultural context.