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Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation: Lessons Learned from the Amish. Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation: Lessons Learned from the Amish. Workshop Objectives: Have detailed knowledge concerning what it means to forgive and to pardon, and how these two separate constructs are related;

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Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation: Lessons Learned from the Amish

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Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish1

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • Workshop Objectives:

    • Have detailed knowledge concerning what it means to forgive and to pardon, and how these two separate constructs are related;

    • Understand the relationship between the compassion found in forgiveness and pardoning and subjective well being; and

    • Have learned exercises intended to facilitate the motivation to seek and to extend to others forgiveness and pardon.

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish2

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • Thursday Morning:

    • Review of the Events of 10/02/2006

    • Amish Theology of Forgiveness

      • Overview of other Religious points of view, as well

    • Psychology of Forgiveness (1)

  • Thursday Afternoon:

    • Psychology of Forgiveness (2)

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish3

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • Friday Morning:

    • Forgiveness Exercise: “Why Forgive?”

    • Empirical Support for Forgiveness Therapy

      • Health Benefits

      • Emotional Healing

  • Friday Afternoon:

    • The Work of Reconciliation

      • Personal and National Healing

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish4

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • Events of October 2, 2006

    • The Invasion: 10:25 a.m.

    • Police Notified: 10:36 a.m.

    • Police & Emergency Personnel Arrive: 10:42 a.m.

    • The Shooting Begins: 11:07 a.m.

    • The Rescue: 11:10 a.m.

    • Aftermath: October 2nd through 4th

    • The Victims

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish5

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • News Media Coverage:

    • First Day Coverage:


    • Second Day Coverage:

    • Third Day Coverage:

    • On the day of the Burials:

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation lessons learned from the amish6

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:Lessons Learned from the Amish

  • One Week Later:

  • Bill Moyers on “Amish Grace,” one year later:

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Over 100 years of persecution led to emigration to Pennsylvania and religious freedom

  • No Amish remain in Europe

  • Estimated to be over 165,000 Old Order Amish in the United States and Canada

  • Reference: Amish Grace: How Forgiveness Transcended Tragedy by Kraybill, Nolt, and Weaver-Zercher

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness1

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Thy Will Be Done:

    • Foundation of Amish Theology is Gelassenheit (yieldedness or submission)

    • Characterizes one’s relationship with God

    • Living within God’s Divine Order as revealed by Christ

The nature of galassenheit

The Nature of Galassenheit

  • God works in the world with the “power of powerlessness”

    • Yield to one another, renounce self defense, give up the desire for justification or efforts at revenge

    • Always seeking to discern “God’s Plans” behind events

The nature of galassenheit1

The Nature of Galassenheit

  • Not Fatalistic; that is, Humans possess choices of ultimate significance

    • Whether to make a commitment to Christ (Baptism is an adult choice, made after adolescents are allowed a year of living as an “English”)

    • Galassenheit requires discernment that may lead to

      • Resistance to government rules (i.e. military service)

      • Refusal to attend public schools

The nature of galassenheit2

The Nature of Galassenheit

  • One does not argue with God

  • One yields to church authority; willing to accept the Ordnung (rules of the church)

  • One’s humility and modesty testify to Gelassenheit

The nature of galassenheit3

The Nature of Galassenheit

  • Collectivist vs. Individualist Culture

    • Dress in prescribed clothing

    • Refuse to pose for photographs

    • Drive in horse drawn carriages

  • “Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39)

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness2

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Dirk Willems Rescues His Pursuer:

  • Executed on May 16, 1569

  • Amish martyrs

    submitted their lives

    to God & extended

    forgiveness to those

    about to kill them.

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness3

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Gospel Reading for Sunday, October 1, 2006: Matthew 18: 21 – 35

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness4

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Origins in Christian Theology: Matthew 6:9 – 13, The Lord’s Prayer

    Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed by thy name. Thy Kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness5

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • The Lord’s Prayer

    • First prayer learned as a child

    • Recited at EVERY gathering

    • First act in the morning

    • Last act in the evening

  • Communal nature of Amish society REQUIRES constant forgiveness

    • “Individualism is the great divide between us and outsiders.” (40 year old Amish father)

Amish grace the theology of forgiveness6

Amish Grace: The Theology of Forgiveness

  • Matthew 6:14 – 15

    • For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

  • The purpose of life is to go to Heaven; spend eternity with God

  • ALL people are sinners

  • ALL people are forgiven their sins IF they unconditionally forgive everyone

Forgiveness in judaism

Forgiveness in Judaism

  • Individual Forgiveness cannot be separated from the context of community

  • Forgiveness and Repentance are inextricably linked

    • Cannot allow another’s transgression to distract us from the need for self-reflection and cleansing (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur)

  • The individual is commanded by G-d to accept the offender’s apology

  • The act of forgiveness is part of the obligation to practice “Tikkun Olan,” the repairing of the world

Forgiveness in islam

Forgiveness in Islam

  • In the Qur’an Allah has described the Believers as “those who avoid major sins and acts of indecencies and when they are angry they forgive.” (al-Shura 42:37)

  • Later in the same Surah Allah says, “The reward of the evil is the evil thereof, but whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon Allah.” (al-Shura 42:40)

  • The Prophet in Ta’if

Forgiveness in buddhism

Forgiveness in Buddhism

  • Dialectic between Happiness & Suffering

  • Mindfulness and Acceptance of the Universality of Suffering leads to Wisdom & Compassion

  • To not forgive is to perpetuate endless cycles of resentment, anger, fear, despair (suffering)

  • To not forgive is to remain trapped in dualistic thinking (Ignorance)

Forgiveness in alcoholics anonymous

Forgiveness in Alcoholics Anonymous

  • Focuses on being forgiven:

    • If we are sorry for what we have done, and have the honest desire to let God take us to better things, we believe we will be forgiven and will have learned our lesson. If we are not sorry, and our conduct continues to harm others, we are quite sure to drink.

  • 9th Step focuses on making amends, NOT on asking for forgiveness

Psychology of forgiveness primary references

Psychology of ForgivenessPrimary References

  • Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope by Enright and Fitzgibbons

  • Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope by Enright

  • The Power of Forgiveness Website:

  • Fetzer Institute Forgiveness Website:

Psychology of forgiveness

Psychology of Forgiveness

  • Starting with Anger

    • Internal state (feelings & thoughts)

    • External state (verbal & behavioral)

      • Physiological Arousal + Emotional Pain

    • Response to Unjust Treatment by Another

Psychology of forgiveness1

Psychology of Forgiveness

  • Psychosocial Consequences of Anger

    • Damaged Interpersonal Relationships

    • Workplace Problems

    • Poor Decision Making & Risk Taking

    • Substance Abuse

    • Diminished Motor Capacity

  • Medical Consequences of Anger

    • Coronary Heart Disease

    • High Cholesterol

    • Strokes

    • Cancer

    • Stress Related Illnesses (IBS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia etc.)

Psychology of forgiveness2

Psychology of Forgiveness

  • Features of Anger in Forgiveness Therapy

    • Focused on another person or other people

    • Intense, at least in the short term

    • A learned pattern of annoyance, irritation, and acrimony w/ others who may not be the source of the anger

    • Can be extreme in passivity or hostility

    • Regressive; that is, appropriate for someone much younger

    • The anger abides

    • Based on a REAL injustice and hurt

Forgiveness morality

Forgiveness & Morality

  • Morality = Quest for the Good in relation to others

    • Focused on interpersonal relationships, with emphasis on having good intentions for other people

  • When one is wronged one seeks Justice

    • “Eye for an eye”

  • When one is wronged one extends Mercy

    • Genuine extension of beneficence to the offender

  • Forgiving emphasizes Mercy over Justice

Forgiveness transformation

Forgiveness & Transformation

  • Forgiving leads to several alterations

    • The forgiver changes previous responses toward the offender

    • The forgiver’s emotional state changes for the better

    • Relationships may improve

Definition of forgiving

Definition of Forgiving

People, upon rationally determining that they have been unfairly treated, forgive when the willfully abandonresentment and related responses (to which they have a right), and endeavor to respond to the wrongdoer based on the moral principle of beneficence, which may include compassion, unconditional worth, generosity, and moral love (to which the wrongdoer, by nature of the hurtful act or acts, has no right).

Definition of forgiving1

Definition of Forgiving

  • “Rationally Determining”

    • Does not hastily judge the offender

    • Forgiver is free of mental defect (does not distort reality)

    • Forgiver sees that the other has committed a moral wrong

  • “Willfully abandon”

    • Active engagement in changing the response to the moral wrong

    • Accomplished by a conscious decision-making process

Definition of forgiving2

Definition of Forgiving

  • “Abandoning Resentment”

    • Decreases negative emotions

    • Decreases negative thoughts

    • Decreases negative behaviors

  • “Beneficence” (A sense of goodness in which a person aids others without thought of what they have done or could do for him/her)

    • Increases positive emotions

    • Increases positive thoughts

    • Increases positive behaviors

Definition of forgiving3

Definition of Forgiving

  • “Compassion”

    • A moral emotion in which one suffers along with the other

    • Implies that the injured feels sympathetic toward the offender because that person is also a human being

  • “Unconditional Worth”

    • The offender is a person

    • ALL persons have worth IN SPITE OF the wrongs they may do

Definition of forgiving4

Definition of Forgiving

  • “Generosity”

    • One gives the offender more than he/she deserves, because of Unconditional Worth

    • A conferral of mercy upon the offender

  • “Moral Love”

    • An investment in the well being of another person

    • Agape: Bringing an open and softened heart to all people, including offenders

The paradox of forgiving

The Paradox of Forgiving

  • One gives up what one has a right to

    • Resentment

    • Revenge

    • Retribution

  • One gives to another that which is not necessarily deserved

    • Beneficence as defined by

      • Compassion, Unconditional Worth, Generosity, and Moral Love

What forgiveness is not

What Forgiveness Is Not

  • Pardoning: A public act of jurisprudence (forgiveness is private)

  • Condoning: Recognition of a moral infraction but tolerated do to circumstances (forgiving does not tolerate the injustice)

  • Reconciliation: Involves TWO people (forgiveness belongs to the forgiver alone); conditional on the offender’s willingness and ability to change offensive ways

What forgiveness is not1

What Forgiveness Is Not

  • Conciliation: To appease, gain someone’s favor through pleasing acts, to placate

  • Justification: If the offenders action was actually justified, then forgiveness is not appropriate

  • Forgetting: Forgiving IS NOT “forgive and forget” or “put the past behind you”

    • Forgiving is REMEMBERING in new ways

What forgiveness is not2

What Forgiveness Is Not

  • Becoming Less Disappointed: Forgiver remains disappointed in the other’s behaviors, but lessens his/her own suffering

  • Balancing Scales: An aspect of Justice, not Mercy

    • May be needed, but subsequent to Forgiving

  • Self-Centering: Forgiving IS NOT focused on the forgiver’s well being

    • Paradoxically focuses on the humanity of the offender and compassionate understanding

Forgiveness is developmental

Forgiveness is Developmental

  • Varies based on the level of Cognitive Complexity of the individual

    • Forgiveness therapy must take this into account

    • Therapist can help the client grow developmentally through the therapy

    • If the client feels “stuck” in anger, it may be a clue to a lower level of complexity

Forgiveness is developmental styles of forgiveness

Forgiveness is DevelopmentalStyles of Forgiveness

  • Revengeful Forgiveness: needs to punish

  • Restitutional Forgiveness: needs restitution

  • Expectational Forgiveness: Only forgives when pressured to

Forgiveness is developmental styles of forgiveness1

Forgiveness is DevelopmentalStyles of Forgiveness

  • Lawful Expectational Forgiveness: When my religion demands it of me

  • Forgiveness as Social Harmony: When it decreases friction and conflict in society

  • Forgiveness as Love: Agape; Unconditional worth of all humans

The process model of forgiveness therapy

The Process Model of Forgiveness Therapy

  • Assumption:

    • Forgiveness is a process, an unfolding, that

      • Does not run smoothly

      • Is filled with starts and stops

      • Eventually culminates in reducing anger and enhancing compassion

    • Forgiveness is not a decision only

      • Deciding to forgive is a part of the process

      • Necessary, but not sufficient

The process model of forgiveness therapy1

The Process Model of Forgiveness Therapy

  • Forgiveness happens in Phases

    • Each phase contains several units

    • The phases and units are not invariant for every process of forgiving

    • Phases/Units provide a road map to help the therapist and client discern what route will bring relief

      • A blueprint for an anger/forgiveness Case Conceptualization

The process model of forgiveness therapy2

The Process Model of Forgiveness Therapy

  • Uncovering Phase: Client gains insight into whether and how the injustice and subsequent injury have compromised his/her life.

  • Decision Phase: Client gains an understanding of the nature of forgiveness and makes a decision to commit to forgiving on the basis of this understanding.

The process model of forgiveness therapy3

The Process Model of Forgiveness Therapy

  • Work Phase: Client gains a cognitive understanding of the offender and begins to view the offender in a new light, resulting in positive change in affect about the offender, about the self, and about the relationship.

  • Deepening Phase: Client finds meaning in the suffering, feels more connected with others, and experiences decreased negative affect and, at times, renewed purpose in life.

Uncovering phase unit one examining psychological defenses and issues involved

Uncovering Phase Unit One: Examining Psychological Defenses and Issues Involved

  • The client may not know he/she is angry, due to the effectiveness of the defense

    • Assess whether certain defenses are preventing the client from rationally examining what happened

    • Help the client understand what happened and who was unfair

    • Typical Defenses include Denial, Repression, and Displacement

Uncovering phase unit two confronting anger

Uncovering Phase Unit Two:Confronting Anger

  • Once defenses break down, client may become very angry, which can linger for months or years

  • Therapist must

    • Acknowledge the anger

    • Allow for its expression

    • Set as a goal its diminution toward the offender

Uncovering phase unit three admitting shame

Uncovering Phase Unit Three:Admitting Shame

  • Some Unfairnesses precipitate shame in the offended person:

    • Childhood sexual abuse, particularly incest

    • Other forms of childhood and adult abuse

    • Divorce

    • Spousal abandonment

    • Termination of employment

  • Anger + Shame = A Lot of Suffering

  • Therapist helps the client work through the shame; perhaps uncover secondary anger (at those who instigate shame (i.e. gossipers)

Uncovering phase unit four awareness of depletion of emotional energy

Uncovering Phase Unit Four:Awareness of Depletion of Emotional Energy

  • Anger + Shame + Suffering is exhausting!

  • Therapist must recognize how fatiguing this is

  • Reduction in Anger/Shame etc. can be part of client’s motivation to consider Forgiveness

Uncovering phase unit five awareness of cognitive rehearsal

Uncovering Phase Unit Five:Awareness of Cognitive Rehearsal

  • Angry people become preoccupied with the offense

    • Can include dream life, as well

  • Often people are unaware of their preoccupation; has become normal

  • Insight concerning preoccupation can be motivational, as well

Uncovering phase unit six comparing self and offender

Uncovering Phase Unit Six:Comparing Self and Offender

  • Comparison of client’s unfortunate state with offender’s fortunate state

  • Deepens client anger; can lead to envy

  • Insight concerning comparisons can be motivational to client

Uncovering phase unit seven facing permanent change

Uncovering Phase Unit Seven:Facing Permanent Change

  • The moral breach may leave the client permanently changed

  • Not unusual for this to be an object of client denial, which leaves the client “stuck”

  • Acceptance comes slowly in this area

Uncovering phase unit eight an altered just world view

Uncovering Phase Unit Eight:An Altered “Just World” View

  • Trauma frequently results in an alteration of how a client believes the world works

  • World = Cruel, unsafe, people are self-interested

  • Critical that therapist help the client compare this change in world view, and how it permeates the client’s life

Uncovering phase seven layers of pain

Uncovering PhaseSeven Layers of Pain

  • Anger

  • Shame

  • Depleted energy

  • Cognitive rehearsal

  • Comparisons with offender

  • Possibility of permanent injury

  • More pessimistic philosophy of life

Treatment in the uncovering phase

Treatment in the Uncovering Phase

  • Focuses on

    • “telling the story”

    • Validating the anger

    • Identifying clearly the perpetrator

    • Understanding the cost of the offense to the client (defenses, anger, shame, fatigue, preoccupation, resentments (comparisons), change in world view)

    • Joining forces with the client

Decision phase unit one previous coping strategies are ineffective

Decision Phase Unit One: Previous Coping Strategies Are Ineffective

  • Seven Layers of Pain → Insight that “I am not coping well”

  • The definition of insanity is…

  • Maybe I should try something different?

  • When the client begins to question his/her resentment and whether it’s worth it, the therapist has a window to begin an existential journey.

Decision phase unit two willingness to consider forgiveness

Decision Phase Unit Two: Willingness to Consider Forgiveness

  • Client is free to select or reject forgiveness

  • MUST be clearly informed concerning

    • Abandonment of resentment and adoption of beneficence

    • Paradox inherent in the definition

    • What forgiveness is not (e.g. condoning, reconciling etc.)

    • To forgive ≠ Becoming a Doormat

    • Interplay between forgiving and finding justice

Decision phase unit three committing to forgive the offender

Decision Phase Unit Three: Committing to Forgive the Offender

  • Making a commitment to forgive

    • It is a cognitive act, not an affective act

    • It can occur even if the client is still angry and resentful

  • A conscious commitment to NOT ACT on the anger and/or resentment

  • A conscious commitment to uncover all acts of anger or resentment, whether active or passive

Treatment in the decision phase

Treatment in the Decision Phase

  • Make an inventory of previous solutions to dealing with the unfair situation

    • Rate the effectiveness (1 – 10) of each

  • Psychoeducation concerning the definition of forgiveness

  • Motivational enhancement (i.e. advantages & disadvantages of forgiving; of not forgiving

Treatment in the decision phase1

Treatment in the Decision Phase

  • Consider these statements for discussion:

    • Do no harm to the one who hurt you. How can you act on that statement?

    • How have you done harm, even in a subtle way, to him or her?

    • How can you reverse this trend?

Work phase unit one reframing

Work Phase Unit One:Reframing

  • To rethink a situation or see it with fresh perspective

  • Cognitive, rather than affective exercise, that generally leads to positive affective responses toward the offender

  • Help the client see the offender as a human being, rather than as evil

Work phase unit one reframing1

Work Phase Unit One:Reframing

  • Typical Questions:

    • What was it like for the offender growing up?

    • What was it like for the offender at the time of the offense?

    • Can you see the offender as part of a human community?

    • Is it possible that I may have contributed to the offender’s actions? (VERY carefully)

    • Does the history of our relationship help explain the offense?

Work phase unit two showing empathy and compassion

Work Phase Unit Two:Showing Empathy and Compassion

  • Empathy (“step inside the other’s shoes”) can emerge at this time; cannot be forced

    • Successful reframing (& fewer distortions) associated with emergence of empathy

    • Cognitive response

    • Decreases in

      • Over deprecation of the offender

      • Over adulation of the offender (it was OK to do what he/she did)

    • Seeing the offender and the offenses clearly, with moral neutrality

Work phase unit two showing empathy and compassion1

Work Phase Unit Two:Showing Empathy and Compassion

  • Compassion (“come alongside the other person & be willing to suffer along with him/her”)

    • Not moral neutral: goal is the good of the other

    • Affective response

    • Motivates to reach out (within reason) to the offender

    • Beginning of the release from hatred and bitterness

    • A Mystery

Work phase unit three bearing the pain

Work Phase Unit Three:Bearing the Pain

  • Acceptance of what happened and its consequences

    • Transitional; when one accepts pain, it diminishes

    • Does not close the door to Justice

    • Requires great Courage

  • When this unit occurs, the client passes from being a victim to being a survivor

Work phase unit four giving a moral gift

Work Phase Unit Four:Giving a Moral Gift

  • Beneficence is not internal, it must be expressed

  • Cannot be forced (supererogatory in nature)

  • An act of kindness toward the offender

  • Sometimes it’s enough to no longer resent and think ill of the offender

Treatment in the work phase

Treatment in the Work Phase

  • Telling the story of the offender

  • Cultivating a Global (or, perhaps, a spiritual) Perspective

  • Sharp affective reflections and affirmations by the therapist as empathy and compassion emerge

  • Motivational enhancement (ready, willing, able paradigm) toward “bearing the pain”

  • Rehearsal of the Moral Gift for the offender

Deepening phase unit one finding meaning

Deepening Phase Unit One:Finding Meaning

  • Frankl believed that the heart of healing was in finding rational meaning, a narrative that makes sense to the one suffering

  • New client worldview:

    • Suffering is part of the world

    • Suffering can confer benefits

    • Suffering can be relieved

    • Suffering depends on one’s perspective, at times

    • Suffering can be lived with

  • The new narrative makes sense and lessens my suffering

Deepening phase unit two having needed others forgiveness

Deepening Phase Unit Two:Having Needed Others’ Forgiveness

  • Have you ever wronged others?

    • Was forgiveness extended?

    • How did that feel?

    • What were the consequences of receiving forgiveness?

  • Not unusual to generalize forgiveness beyond the original hurt

Deepening phase unit three knowing that one is not alone

Deepening Phase Unit Three:Knowing that One is Not Alone

  • Opening of the heart leads to awareness of

    • The universality of suffering

    • Presence of others willing to help

    • For religious or spiritual people, deepening of one’s connection with God/Higher Power

      • Collaborative Religious Coping, rather than Self-Directed or Deferring

Deepening phase unit four realizing a new purpose

Deepening Phase Unit Four:Realizing a New Purpose

  • Upon feeling forgiveness client may want to extend beneficence to others suffering similarly

  • With decrease or loss of trait anger one may find one’s world view substantially changed

Deepening phase unit five awareness of affective transformation

Deepening Phase Unit Five:Awareness of Affective Transformation

  • Realization of freedom from psychological distress

    • Reductions in depression, anxiety, addiction, stress-related disorders

    • Change in self image concerning virtues and value

      • See self as an agent of wisdom and compassion in the world

Treatment in the deepening phase

Treatment in the Deepening Phase

  • Key Questions:

    • What have you learned as a result of the suffering you have endured?

    • Can you recall a specific event in which you were extended forgiveness? Hope to be forgiven?

    • How has this helped you?

    • How does this help you to forgive others?

    • Tell me about who you are becoming.

Forgiveness in addictions counseling

Forgiveness in Addictions Counseling

  • Anger & Substance Abuse

    • Conduct D/O precedes Substance Abuse

    • AOD abusers have higher levels of trait and state anger than general population

    • Subjective anger is strongly related to SUD; stronger relationship than ASPD.

Forgiveness in addictions counseling1

Forgiveness in Addictions Counseling

  • Anger & Substance Abuse (continued)

    • Some substances (ETOH, PCP, Amphetamines, Cocaine) associated with provoking aggressive behaviors

    • Adoption studies show strong relationship between Impulsiveness and addiction

    • “Resentment is like taking poison and hoping the other guy dies”

Forgiveness in addictions counseling2

Forgiveness in Addictions Counseling

  • 12 Step Work focuses on “making amends”

    • Promotes the work of expressing remorse, a precursor to reconciliation

  • 4th & 5th Step can facilitate the Uncovering Phase, but do not address Decision, Work, and Deepening

  • Spirituality of the 12 Steps opens hearts

    • General facilitation of forgiveness in the humility promoted by 12 Step programs

  • Scant research into the relationship between State/Trait Anger and Recovery

Benefits of forgiveness

Benefits of Forgiveness

  • “Holding onto Grudges is Harmful”

  • “Forgiveness is good for health”

  • The work of:

    • Everett Worthington

    • Kathleen Lawler Row

Empirical validation

Empirical Validation

  • Comparison of:

    • Decision-Based Forgiveness Therapy

    • Process-Based Group Forgiveness Therapy

    • Process-Based Individual Therapy

  • Reference:

    • Baskin, T.W. & Enright, R.D. (2004). Intervention Studies on Forgiveness: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Counseling and Development, 82, p. 79 – 90.

Decision based forgiveness therapy

Decision Based Forgiveness Therapy

  • Forgiveness is a Decision

    • “I forgive you” is stated publicly.

    • Forgiver is consciously aware of this proclamation.

    • Cognitive Process.

  • Outcomes Research Results:

    • No difference in “level of forgiveness” from Control Groups.

    • No difference in “emotional health” from Control Groups.

Process based group forgiveness therapy

Process-Based Group Forgiveness Therapy

  • Forgiveness is a Process; Group Therapy

    • Process Model of Forgiveness followed in Group Therapy Settings

    • Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Processes.

  • Outcomes Research Results:

    • “Level of Forgiveness” better than 75% of the Control Group.

    • “Emotional Health” better than 65% of the Control Group.

Process based individual forgiveness therapy

Process-Based Individual Forgiveness Therapy

  • Forgiveness is a Process; Individual Therapy

    • Process Model of Forgiveness followed in Individual Therapy Settings

    • Cognitive, Affective, and Behavioral Processes.

  • Outcomes Research Results:

    • “Level of Forgiveness” better than 95% of the Control Group.

    • “Emotional Health” better than 92% of the Control Group.



  • A Process for the Offended Person

    • Offended forgives

    • Offended comes to Trust again

    • Offended offers Open Communication

    • Offended Accepts Justice

  • A Process for the Offender

    • Offender expresses remorse

    • Offender provides evidence of remorse

    • Offender makes amends

    • Offender provides evidence of personal change

Reconciliation case study ebenezer scrooge nephew fred bob cratchit

Reconciliation Case Study:Ebenezer Scrooge, Nephew Fred, & Bob Cratchit

Ebenezer Scrooge Nephew FredBob Cratchit

Reconciliation case study ebenezer scrooge nephew fred bob cratchit1

Reconciliation Case Study:Ebenezer Scrooge, Nephew Fred, & Bob Cratchit

  • Fred offers unconditional forgiveness to Uncle Scrooge from the outset; Bob Cratchit refuses to speak ill of “the founder of the feast,” but

    • Trust has not been restored

    • There is no Open Communication

    • There is no evidence of remorse

    • There is no evidence of any personal change

Reconciliation case study ebenezer scrooge nephew fred bob cratchit2

Reconciliation Case Study:Ebenezer Scrooge, Nephew Fred, & Bob Cratchit

  • After being haunted by the three spirits (analogue for the therapeutic process), Scrooge:

    • Expresses Remorse for the way he’s lived (Fred opens his door to his uncle in Trust; Bob Cratchit listens)

    • Makes Amends for his past actions (Offers to sit with Bob Cratchit to discuss his family; promises to keep Christmas in his heart throughout the year; Communication is now Open)

    • Provides Evidence of Personal Change (Makes good on promises to help Tiny Tim; makes contribution to help the poor; Restorative Justice is made)

Forgiveness remorse reconciliation the healing of nations

Forgiveness, Remorse, & Reconciliation:The Healing of Nations

  • South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission: Archbishop Desmond Tutu


  • September 11, 2001

    • Forgiveness Garden Proposal

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