Charles Waldegrave

Posted by on Dec 1, 2016 in | 0 comments

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  • Forgiveness linked to justice: an interview with Charles Waldegrave



    Could we begin by considering your own relationship with the question of forgiveness? Has your thinking around the issue of forgiveness remained constant, or has it changed over time?

    Over the years, there has been considerable debate at The Family Centre about the issue of forgiveness. Between the different cultural and gender groupings in our workplace we have had many discussions about forgiveness and its place in our work and lives. In the past I would speak positively about the concept of forgiveness. I do not consider Christianity as in any way superior to other faiths. It does happen however to be the religion of my culture. Some things we do badly, like the ownership of truth. Some things I think we do well, and the concept of forgiveness is a good example of this.

    And yet, when I used to speak about my views on the significance and importance of forgiveness, this frequently led to considerable debate. It has been through these debates and conversations that I have come to see more clearly the particular implications that it can have when I as a white man speak on matters of forgiveness. When issues of forgiveness are being discussed, it makes a considerable difference who is speaking. When Maori or Pacific women talk about the hazards and possibilities of forgiveness, it evokes very different images than when white men such as myself have the same conversation. Not only have I been alerted to this, but when in the past I have spoken about forgiveness, the Maori and Pacific people with whom I work have reminded me that in some circumstances, if you forgive quickly, you don’t allow space for justice to be done.


  1. “Narrative therapy doesn’t believe in a ‘whole self’ which needs to be integrated but rather that our identities are made up of many stories, and that these stories are constantly changing.”

    I like this, I find it very compatible with my beliefs as a Buddhist. In Buddhism, as I understand it, mistaken beliefs about a solid, fixed “self” are the source of our suffering.

    I work with couples using EFT for couples, and in that approach, there is a big emphasis on externalising the problem as “the cycle that you get trapped in”, and encouraging couples to come up with their own name for it.

  2. Thank you for this. I am a counsellor, and trying to make as much as possible of my notes “in quotes”, that is, writing down things that the clients said. And not my own opinions.

  3. hello

    I the ED of a Friendship Center in Terrace, BC where were mostly target the indigenous population in our city of 12,000. I found your video interesting and something that we may want to try. Havee you been able to to do any follow ups studies to gage the long term effect of your program?


    Cal Albright
    Kermode Friendship Center
    Terrace, BC

  4. Thank you for this overview of Narrative Therapy. I am returning to practice after some time away, and these reminders are timely and appreciated.

  5. Hi Chris

    I really enjoyed watching your video about Narrative Walks. My project is based in Blaenau Gwent, in South Wales, Uk. I’m wondering whether I might use such an approach in my work with our Youth Service, who support young people between the ages of 11 and 25. Have you any thoughts on this? Are there any resources available, either free or to purchase?

    Best wishes


    • Hi Paul, m

      Much of my early attempts of the program were with the 15-20 year old age bracket and I found it worked really well. When I recently had an opportunity to run the program again with this age bracket – I extended the finish time so that could spend more time at the stop points and have a fire at the last resting place to talk about our intentions after the walk. This meant that we used head torches for the 2km which added a bit of a sense of theatre to the day. It was pretty cool.

      If you email me on I can send you the manual. Or ask any other questions via this page so others might share in the answers.


  6. Thank you for sharing your insights. This has been very enlightening as a student studying post-grad social work. Recently my tutorial group was discussing how professionals often use their interpretation and that clients may not get to see how some professionals interpret their stories, in this way many things can be missed especially what the client sees as being important.