Forgiveness is a process where someone who has been wronged chooses to let go of their resentment, and treat the wrongdoer with compassion. Forgiveness does not mean forgetting or condoning the wrongdoing, granting legal mercy, or reconciling a relationship. You can forgive a person while in no way believing that their actions were acceptable or justified.
Clients who continue to hang on to painful emotions related to a mistreatment—even though they have every right to hold those emotions—can receive great benefit from forgiveness therapy. A number of positive outcomes, such as reductions in depression, resentment, and rumination, have been associated with forgiveness.
Our worksheet on the subject, Forgiveness Therapy, is based on a therapeutic intervention by the same name. This 5-page packet acts as an outline of forgiveness therapy, beginning with education, and then dedicating a page to each of the four phases of forgiveness (uncovering, decision, work, and deepening). This worksheet is not intended to be completed in one sitting, but as a client enters each phase, or as review for each phase.
If you are unfamiliar with forgiveness therapy, we highly recommend Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, the authoritative source on the subject.
1. Enright, R. D., & Fitzgibbons, R. P. (2015). Forgiveness therapy: An empirical guide for resolving anger and restoring hope. American Psychological Association.