Forgiveness Therapy

Forgiveness is about self-healing, empowerment, and liberation. If we don't find it within ourselves to forgive, we spend much of our energy thinking about the negative. Forgiveness therapy can help you move past anger toward peace.
Forgiveness Therapy
The mental health benefits of forgiveness can be profound, and in many cases, necessary to preserve your well-being. Simply put, forgiveness is good for your mental health.

What is Forgiveness Therapy?

Most of us have been taught about the importance of forgiveness. However, like many paths to healing, it is easier said than done.  We have all been in situations or have dealt with people who have wronged or hurt us. When wronged, we typically find ourselves harboring feelings of betrayal, anger, or the need to seek vengeance to return to normalcy.

There is a perspective of forgiveness that might surprise some people: Forgiveness is not a selfless act that is in the sole benefit for the person that has wronged you. Instead, it is about self-healing, empowerment, and liberation. If we don’t find it within ourselves to forgive, we spend much of our energy thinking about the negative aspects of our lives. A lot of people hold on to hurtful memories for years. We get sick about it, have flashbacks, and waste our time thinking of memories of the past that hurt us in the present. 

Therapists can help their clients move past their anger and pain tied to past events. They are looking into the beneficial role that forgiveness can play in healing.

Forgiveness is all about knowing that you have been hurt, accepting that pain as your own, then allowing yourself to continue with your day-to-day life. You do this by coming to terms with the hurtful situation so that it doesn’t burden you daily. Forgiveness doesn’t excuse anyone’s bad behavior, and it certainly doesn’t make it okay that you have been wronged. It does not mean that you forget; it means that you have resolved the conflict, seen it as part of your life, and can move forward without allowing it to interfere with your current relationships.

So why does forgiveness matter? And how do you know when it’s time to forgive? If you are seeking solace in substances such as drugs and alcohol or engaging in unhealthy behaviors such as self-mutilation or harm, risky sexual behavior, or are depressed, stressed, or anxious. It might be time to try to forgive, even what seems unforgivable. The mental health benefits of forgiveness are well established in the therapy community, and as such, it’s often crucial for those who feel victimized to learn to forgive to feel better.

Some people can forgive quickly, while others take a lot longer. The act of forgiving is one of realizing that holding onto anger and resentment carries a heavy weight on us. When we forgive, instead of only seeing our pain and suffering, we can begin to see the situation with complete acceptance as it is.

Although there are a variety of definitions of forgiveness, research has suggested they all have three standard components:

  1. Gaining a more balanced view of the offender and the event
  2. Decreasing negative feelings towards the offender and potentially increasing compassion
  3. Giving up the right to punish the offender further or to demand restitution

It isn’t easy to let go, find peace and move forward when you feel violated. Research has suggested that a roadblock people face with forgiveness is the idea of being viewed as “weak” and believing that forgiveness gives the offender a “free pass.” However, in many ways, it takes a lot more strength to forgive. Forgiveness can be a key part in regaining control over a traumatic event.

Why Hire a Therapist?

If you have trouble forgiving on your own, it’s time to seek help. We often need help from a neutral party that will allow us to recognize harmful patterns and areas that require change and navigate the tough times.

Get your feelings out in the open, have someone to listen to you, and help you formulate a plan to regain your life to some sense of normalcy and contentment. Placing your trust in a therapist will help you forgive and heal after being wronged. Then your therapist can genuinely listen, remain neutral, and plot a course to help you overcome your struggles on your terms. In essence, it’s your job to be as honest and open as possible.

What to Look for in a Therapist

Some people struggle with finding a therapist that is the right fit for them. It’s essential to look at reviews, costs, listen to referrals, and that you make a connection. Most therapists will be able to help you with forgiveness therapy, but the right therapist will always be the one you feel most comfortable sharing intimate details with. Forming a tight bond and feeling connected to your therapist allows you to trust their advice and know that they have your best interest in mind.