Ho'oponopono, "to make right": Hawaiian conflict resolution and metaphor in the construction of a family therapy

Cult Med Psychiatry. 1985 Jun;9(2):201-17. doi: 10.1007/BF00117369.


It has been noted in the literature that community conflict resolution rituals have many structural and functional similarities to the goals and methods of psychotherapy. A Hawaiian form of conflict resolution called ho'oponopono ("to make right, orderly, correct") is a case where a conflict resolution format actually was used to create a culturally appropriate family therapy. This was done under the sponsorship of a Hawaiian social welfare organization with Hawaiian ancestry therapists. An important element in the transformation and usefulness of ho'oponopono as a Hawaiian therapy is the maintenance and incorporation of metaphoric understandings about the nature and dynamics of Hawaiian social relations.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Conflict, Psychological*
  • Family
  • Family Therapy / methods*
  • Hawaii
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Problem Solving
  • Role Playing