ABSTRACT

When people live in mutually supportive relationships they have a solid basis for ongoing hopefulness. However, when relationships deteriorate through disappointments, betrayals or traumatic events, interpersonal stress and conflict tend to displace the support. As a result, hope may be eroded and the persons involved become more vulnerable to despair. Possibilities for rebuilding and maintaining hope increase when people develop behavioural competencies to recover from conflict and achieve reconciliation. We suggest that practices of acknowledgement constitute one such competency. Indeed, we regard processes of acknowledging as central, not only for enabling reconciliation (Tomm 2002), but also for generating and maintaining human wellness. The focus in this chapter will be on the phenomenon of acknowledgement itself. Our intent is to offer some clarifying distinctions to enhance the reader’s interest, understanding and competence in offering acknowledgement.