Abuse is one of the common challenges faced by a society that results in psychological effects that may affect an individual in his or her lifetime. This article seeks to review the influence of forgiveness therapy on the psychological effects of abuse. It will deal with the areas, such as depressions, anxiety, and emotional abuse among others. The review will provide a summary, response, and application of the article in counseling.
Women who have experienced emotional abuse inflicted by their spouses go through many psychological reactions such as anger, depression, and insecurity. The research methodology consisted of about 20 participants who have gone through psychological abuse (Reed & Enright, 2006). The randomized, matched as well as group designs were applied in the process. Testing procedures included screening and use of dependent variables. The instruments applied were the questionnaires, the Enrighght forgiveness measure, and the cooper smith self-esteem inventory among others. About 35% of abused women worldwide are abused by their spouses, which leads to long-term negative psychological effects (Reed & Enright, 2006). There are many therapies developed to treat these problems. However, no effective solution has been realized.
Spousal psychological abuse occurs in the form of betrayal, for example, unfaithfulness. Seven categories of emotional abuse encountered by the spouses included threats, harming and abandonment, jealousy, intentionally being ignored, criticism, ridicule, and destruction of the individual’s property. The outcomes of these include low self-esteem, helplessness, depression, and anxiety among other traumatic disorders. These impacts last beyond the personal level. Research indicates that many applied therapies do not provide effective solutions. However, forgiveness therapy has proved to be promising (Reed & Enright, 2006).
Research conducted on the FT showed there exists a correlation between forgiveness, justice, self-confidence, and the alienation of anxiety. Forgiveness reduces the past abuse effects and clinicians have adopted ways to apply the therapy. FT assists the abused women to realize the unjust act of abuse and find a solution in choosing the forgiveness option. It focuses on four phases, which include understanding, making decisions, working, and discovering (Reed & Enright, 2006). It enables abused women to realize their positive qualities, and therefore, eliminates chances of low self-esteem.
Abuse by the people we love is painful and leads to psychological problems that may last a lifetime. A number of women have been abused by their partners emotionally. Many of them receive such injustice from their loved partners, which makes it more painful than the physical abuse itself. Forgiveness therapy provides some hope for the treatment of the psychological problems that arise as a result of abuse. Human beings are relieved from extreme pain caused by hatred, anxiety, and depression whenever they apply forgiveness to their situations. Women who choose to forgive are able to identify the injustices imposed on them, work towards forgiveness, and finally take the most difficult option of forgiving. Through this, they realize that they have channeled the energies they used in a psychological problem towards realizing a desire for their welfare and the welfare of those who abused them.
FT proves to be effective in promoting a person’s positive qualities, which in turn leads to avoidance of problems, such as shame. Shame is eliminated when an abused woman realizes and admits that she is no longer defined by the act. It will also increase their levels of self-worth by providing an alternative way of looking at her. Other impacts of FT are a better understanding of the value of suffering as well as providing ways of redeeming oneself from negativity.
The ideas of this article are relevant in the daily counseling sessions that pertain to family and marriage. The principle of counseling requires that the client makes the final solution. However, the counselor needs to help the client towards the understanding of his or her inner abilities, such as the ability to forgive those who abused them. In clinical counseling, as a therapist, I would apply these principles by asking my client to reflect on her past life and give her perceptions. This would help the client to control her feelings. I would then recommend that forgiving is useful while focusing on the utility and importance of forgiveness. To emphasize this, I would also apply their religious beliefs, which emphasize forgiveness.
Creating a climate for victims to express their feelings is important. Basic therapy skills are applied to reach their deeper areas of feelings. This is because some victims may not be aware of the deep resentment, anger, and hurt. Sharing these inner feelings will bring the client towards reality and understanding of self. It also helps the client understand the offense committed against, which is necessary for reaching forgiveness. The client is helped to realize that even the offenders too suffer from feelings of guilt and shame and therefore need forgiveness. I will help my client realize her innate abilities to forgive, which will rescue her from the psychological torture created by the assault.
Forgiveness therapy offers solutions to many psychological problems that other medical strategies have failed to offer. Some may be embarrassing and painful to the point they can haunt an individual for a long time. Under such situations, FT would be the best medicine.
Reed, G. L. & Enright, R. D. October. (2006). The effects of forgiveness therapy on
Depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse. Retrieved from: http://psycnet.apa.org/journals/ccp/74/5/920/