Research Support for Helping People REACH Forgiveness
Only a few studies have applied forgiveness interventions in actual psychotherapy (e.g., Freedman & Enright, 1996; Malcolm & Greenberg, 2003). Psychotherapy usually is focused on specific behavior disorders, and if forgiveness is addressed, it is part of therapy, rarely its entire focus. So, efficacy studies on forgiveness therapy will almost inevitably be either a bit contrived or contextualized within a broader therapy. The target concerns of psychotherapy are usually focused on feeling better (i.e., with emotional disorders such as depression, anxiety, anger, or PTSD), behaving better (e.g., obsessive-compulsive disorder, dissociative disorders), or making transformations in personality (e.g., personality and other Axis II disorders). Thus, forgiveness therapy usually will occur as a modular portion of more general psychotherapy, or a psychoeducational group could be made available to people for whom forgiveness was an issue in an interpersonally oriented psychotherapy.