Tagged: “break free from the past”

As another question that I have about forgiveness therapy, does the amount of time spent in this form of therapy matter?  In other words, is longer better?

Yes, longer is better.  Baskin and Enright (1994) showed that forgiveness therapy lasting 12 weeks or longer seems more optimal than short-term therapies.  Longer therapies as more effective than short-term therapies also was supported by the meta-analysis by Aktar and Barlow.  The references to these two journal articles are as follows:

Baskin, T.W., & Enright, R. D. (2004).  Intervention studies on forgiveness: A meta-analysis.  Journal of Counseling and Development, 82, 79-90.

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

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You say that the biggest surprise you had when studying forgiveness therapy was its effectiveness when trauma is present in the participants.  What was your second biggest surprise?

I think the second biggest surprise is that when people forgive and recover from the effects of trauma, they often develop a new purpose in life.  That new purpose is to help others who also are hurting from other people’s mistreatment of them.  This new purpose seems to give hope and vitality to those who were carrying a large emotional burden within them.

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I don’t get it. So what if a person has the potential to be good. If she is not behaving in a good way, which basically is always, the idea of potential is worthless.

I want you to see that you are defining this person exclusively by behavior, not intangible qualities such as being a unique person. There never was another person exactly like her on the planet.  In other words, there is more to her than her current behavior.  She has a worth that goes beyond her current behavior with  you.  Your view of her seems to be too narrow.

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Even if my view of the one who walked out on me is too narrow, as you say, it is the truth.  Why play games with a fantasy of who she might become?

Seeing her as more than the behaviors of walking out on you is not fantasy.  I think it is a higher reality than seeing her only in terms of current behavior.  As I said earlier to you, would you want all of your family members to define you exclusively by the times when you had a really bad day, with insensitivity to some family members?  Do you think this misbehavior is the exclusive truth about who you are as a person?

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