Tagged: “Cognitive Behavioral Therapy”
It seems to me that a safer approach when treated unfairly is to engage in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and not forgiveness. Forgiveness invites an unwanted guest back into the heart. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, in contrast, helps me to think in new ways so that I do not condemn myself for letting the injustice happen and it helps me keep my distance from the one who hurt me.
Research does show that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy as a psychotherapeutic technique can be helpful in changing one’s attitude toward difficult situations, but it may not be as effective as Forgiveness Therapy in getting rid of the elephant in the room which is deep, excessive anger that just won’t quit. Forgiveness Therapy has been shown to be very effective against the effects of trauma suffered because of others’ injustice. Forgiveness Therapy can take time and is a struggle because you are growing in the important virtue of having mercy on those who did not have mercy on you. Yet, the effort is worth it because the toxic anger can be reduced and eliminated. Some residual anger can remain, but it does not control the one who forgives.
As I understand good psychotherapy, the counselor should not direct the client’s thinking but instead be non-directive as Carl Rogers explained. According to Rogers, the counselor should show “unconditional positive regard” to the client and be more of a mirror to the client, reflecting back what the client said. Clients then have the capacity to solve their own problems. Forgiveness therapy is too controlling when I look at Rogers’ advice to us. How do you respond?
Not all psychotherapy is non-directive. For example, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, the mental health professional deliberately points out faults in a person’s thinking and challenges the client to reconsider certain thoughts to make them more adaptive for that client. In Forgiveness Therapy, people often need direction in thinking though a deep definition of what forgiveness is and is not. If we left it up to each client, how many do you think would find an effective pathway to forgiveness in a reasonable amount of time? If we have a scientifically-supported pathway of forgiveness, would it be a good or a bad idea to share this with the client? That road map to forgiveness can accomplish the goals of forgiveness (reduced resentment along with respect and even love for the offending person) in a much faster time than a non-directive approach is likely to do.
For additional information, see The Four Phases of Forgiveness.