I am in graduate school studying to be a mental health professional.  Held in high regard is the issue of insight.  The point is to break down the psychological defenses so that the person now is aware of what is causing the anger or the anxiety or the discontent.  How does forgiveness compare and contrast to the call for insight?

In our Process Model of Forgiveness, we have four phases.  The first phase asks the client, when that client is ready, to see the amount of anger in the heart, caused by other people’s unfairness.  There is more to this phase than just this, but my point is that we do make room, lots of room in fact, to explore the psychological defenses and to gradually see how current and persistent anger is connected to unfairness toward the client that might have occurred many years ago.  Yet, awareness or what you are calling insight is only the beginning of Forgiveness Therapy.  In other words, as a person now sees the depth of anger, what does the person now do to get rid of that anger?  We find that insight is not enough.  It is in deliberately reaching out to those who acted unfairly with the moral virtue of forgiveness, this has a way of softening the heart and thus reducing the anger to manageable levels.  In other words, when deeply hurt by others, the inner trauma is not reduced to an important degree without forgiveness, which the client must freely choose for the self.

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