CSPH 5215 - Forgiveness and Healing: A Journey Toward Wholeness

This is traditionally a blended course. Course will meet primarily online, but will have required in person dates. Check the class search for in person meeting dates and times. 

Note: This course is offered in remote online format for Fall 2021. Please see the notes in the Class Search or Schedule Builder for specific details.

Course Description:

This course will examine the impact of forgiveness on the process of inter-personal and intra-personal healing, as well as healing of conflict and trauma at the intergroup level. Forgiveness and healing will be examined in the context of intense interpersonal and intrapersonal conflicts in multiple health care and social work settings, including in families, between physicians and nurses, between patients/clients and nurses/social workers, within communities, among friends, between co-workers, or within ourselves. Forgiveness will also be examined in the larger global context and how principles and practices of forgiveness are being applied in some of the most entrenched political and violent conflicts, such as in Northern Ireland, South Africa, Liberia, Rwanda, and Israel/Palestine. This course is designed to provide a basic understanding of the central elements of forgiveness and healing in the context of multiple micro and macro life settings.

The concepts of forgiveness and healing will be examined from multiple spiritual and secular traditions. The underlying philosophical elements of forgiveness and healing will be critically assessed and beliefs and rituals from numerous indigenous and European traditions will be presented and examined. The focus will be upon gaining a more grounded understanding of the process of forgiveness and its potential impact upon emotional and relational healing. The concepts of forgiveness and healing will be addressed in a very broad and inclusive manner, with no assumptions made related to their specific cultural context or meaning. Empirical studies that have examined the impact of forgiveness upon emotional and physical healing will be reviewed.

Concepts such as forgiveness and healing are inseparable from the concept of spirituality. For the purposes of the course, spirituality is not synonymous with the dogma and creeds of the major religious traditions in the world, even though religion for many may serve as a pathway to spirituality. Practices within the major religions of the world that foster forgiveness and healing, however, will be explored, along with practices within Native American, Canadian Aboriginal, Native Hawaiian, African, New Zealand Maori, and Eastern cultural traditions.

Course Objectives:

At the conclusion of the course, students will have:

  • Knowledge of the central elements of the concept of forgiveness from multiple spiritual and cultural contexts.
  • Knowledge of the difference between "shallow" and authentic forgiveness.
  • An understanding of the central elements of the concept of healing from multiple spiritual and cultural contexts.
  • Knowledge of the positive impact that authentic forgiveness can have on the process of healing from all forms of micro and macro conflict and trauma.
  • Knowledge of the role that forgiveness and healing through engaged spirituality (not necessarily religion) can play within the context of intense conflicts that people are faced with in multiple settings.
  • An understanding of forgiveness and healing in terms of both interpersonal conflict and broader issues of social justice, including large group conflicts involving major violation of human rights in the global community.
  • An understanding of specific practices, such as mindfulness meditation, that contribute to forgiveness and healing that are grounded in diverse cultural traditions among indigenous people of the world.
  • Knowledge of the contribution found within human services and health care literature to understanding forgiveness and healing in multiple practice settings.
  • An ability to practice techniques which contribute to forgiveness and healing within the context of issues that students are faced with in multiple settings.

Course Details

Course ID: 
CSPH 5215
Graduate Students, Undergraduate students with junior status or above, or instructor consent.
Semesters Course Offered: 
Course Flyer: 
PDF icon Course Flyer (1.09 MB)