Forgiveness Can Improve Mental And Physical Health.
Generally, forgiveness is a decision to let go of resentment and thoughts of revenge, where the act that hurt or offended you might always remain a part of your life, but forgiveness can lessen its grip on you and help you focus on other, more positive parts of your life. This article from the American Psychological Association’s web site, under its Continuing Education Corner, is a synthesis of several interesting research conclusions. Forgiveness is of particular interest to me in view of the cases of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that figured in my earlier practice. We are aware that forgiveness is at the heart of the victim’s own physical, emotional and mental health. However, the degree of violation, the personality of the victim, and the continued proximity of the perpetrator, often determines the process and outcome of forgiveness. Its appropriate timing and inherent elements are often overlooked to the detriment of deeply traumatised patients, in ill-advised attempts to extract an immediate or premature forgiveness, further exposing them to either re-traumatisation by their perpetrators, or others who may continue to exploit them. R.D. Enright, R. Fitzgibbons, and E.L. Worthington are familiar names in the forefront of forgiveness research for decades.
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