Tagged: “Anger”

I am a mental health professional.  Some people want a quicker fix than what your Process Model offers.  Can you recommend a brief therapy instead?

Because forgiveness is a moral virtue, it is not possible to artificially push it into a traditional psychological set of techniques that might lead to quick forgiveness.  If the injustice is serious against your client and the hurt deep within that client, then time and practice definitely are recommended. It will be worth the effort because we find that traditional psychological techniques are not a substitute for a true struggle to grow in this heroic moral virtue.  A meta-analysis by Aktar and Barlow show statistically that longer periods of time in forgiving (12 and even more sessions) are more effective than short-term therapy of 4-6 sessions.  Here is a reference to that meta-analysis:

Akhtar, S., & Barlow, J. (2018). Forgiveness therapy for the promotion of mental well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19(1), 107-122.

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Is indifference toward the person who hurt me considered something negative in the forgiveness process?  I am feeling indifferent.  In the past, the feeling was much more negative than this.

Indifference is not a moral virtue and so it is not what forgiveness is. Yet, feeling indifference may be a transition out of hatred.  If you had deep anger or hatred and now you are indifferent toward the one who hurt you, then you are making progress in forgiving. There is more to your forgiveness journey than this.  Why?  It is because the one who hurt you is a person and all persons can be treated with kindness, respect, generosity, and even love.  So, I urge you to stay on your important forgiveness journey.  Please be encouraged because it seems that you are making progress.

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What is the difference between acknowledging the pain and bearing the pain?

Acknowledgement is insight only: I realize that I am in pain.  Bearing the pain, in contrast, is an active approach of not only understanding that you are in pain but also taking an active role in standing up with the pain and deliberately committing to not passing it back to the one who hurt you or to not passing it onto unsuspecting others.  So, one is passive in terms of not doing something about the pain (acknowledgement) and the other is active (bearing the pain).

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I am trying to forgive a family relative.  My immediate family members keep saying negative things about the person.  When I explain to my immediate family members that I am trying to forgive the person, then they intensify their negative judgements against this person.  How can I forgive under this circumstance?

Your forgiving is being made more challenging because of the constant negative statements from people whom you love.  Yet, please keep in mind that their choice not to forgive is not your choice.  Their views need not stay as your view.  Yes, you will have to struggle against those negative statements, but here is my suggestion: Every time you hear a negative statement about your relative, say to yourself—-to yourself silently—something positive about the person.  Say privately to yourself, “I choose to forgive the person.”  These exercises, repeated over time, should help you to forgive even if your family members continue with the negative statements.

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