1 CCPA CONVENTION OTTAWA 2011 PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP Helping Clients Forgive:A Model of ForgivenessDaniel Klassen PhD“Having looked the beast in the eye,Having asked and received forgiveness,Let us shut the door on the past.Not to forget it,But to allow it not to imprison us.”Desmond TutuCCPA CONVENTION OTTAWA PRE-CONFERENCE WORKSHOP
2 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness IntroductionThe Myths of ForgivenessDefining ForgivenessReadiness and ResistanceThe Place of Forgiveness in CounsellingThe Themes on the Path of Forgiveness
3 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness IntroductionForgiveness in Counselling LiteratureInternational Attention to ForgivenessSome Benefits of Forgiveness Counselling“Forgiving does not erase the bitter past.A healed memory is not a deleted memory,Forgiving what we cannot forgetCreates a new way to remember.We change the memory of our pastInto our hope for the future.”Lewis Smedes
4 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness IntroductionForgiveness in Counselling LiteratureHistory is brief – beginning about 1990.Not found in the writings of Adler, Rogers, Maslow or Freud.Perhaps forgiveness was seen a religious notion – not amenable to scientific enquiry.Perhaps the scientific community believed there were other effective ways of dealing with injustices, offenses and wounds.Perhaps the psychological dimensions of forgiving, such as the affective, cognitive and behavioral, were not acknowledged.Today there is much more readiness, among wellness practitioners, to accept notions which are more spiritual in nature and more open to other forms of research and less amenable to rigid scientific investigation.
5 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness IntroductionInternational Attention on ForgivenessJacques Derrida – PhilosopherFounder of DeconstructionismComments on correspondence between Japan and Korea regarding the forgiveness of war crimes in WWII“Forgiving forgives only the unforgiveable”Jacques Derrida in On Forgiveness
6 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness IntroductionSome Benefits of Forgiveness CounsellingReduced AngerDiminished AnxietyReduced DepressionImproved Self-EsteemIncreased Optimism and HopeLess Preoccupation with Offenses“Unless we learn to release them,offenses have a way ofdefining and confining us.” dk
7 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness The Myths of ForgivenessForgiving is …An Event: It is a process and an attitudeForgetting: It must be rememberedReconciling: It may not be safeAbsolution: We don’t have the authorityDenying: It must be seen for what it is“When we forgive an injusticeWe do not excuse itWe do not tolerate itWe do not smother itWe look the evil full in the faceCall it what it isLet it’s horror, shock, stun and enrage usAnd only then do we forgive it.”Lewis Smedes
8 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness The Myths of ForgivenessForgiving is …Excusing: There can be no excuseCondoning: It can’t be justifiedSettling: We are not “settling” for an inferior positionFeel Fair: It must be fair but may not feel fairIgnoring Justice: It must be just or it would not be effectiveAmnesty: Forgiveness does not merely “overlook” the wrong“It takes one person to forgive,Two to reconcile.” dk
9 “Forgiveness does not change the past, It enlarges the future.” Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Forgiveness is yielding my right to hurt you, for hurting me.” AnonThe Definition of ForgivenessThe injured one is able to recognize an actual injustice.The injured one chooses to abandon resentment (to which they are entitled) toward the offender, rather than respond with justifiable retribution (which the offender has rightfully earned).The injured one cancels the debt which the offender owes, acknowledging that justice has been served.“Forgiveness does not change the past,It enlarges the future.”Paul Boese
10 “Vengeance is the lazy man’s justice” Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Forgiveness is rarely a ‘first response’ to an offense” dkReadiness to ForgiveGreat Individual differencesSome families practise forgiving generouslySome cultures discourage the practice of forgiveness“Vengeance is the lazy man’s justice”The Interpreter DVDThe Drowning Man Trial
11 Resistance to Forgiving Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “The weak can never forgive Forgiveness is an attitude of the strong.” GhandiResistance to ForgivingThe need to listenBegin where they areNot to forgive is an optionAcceptance is not agreementResistance is the door to forgiveness“How much more grievousAre the consequences of angerThan the causes of it.”Marcus Aurelius
12 “Forgiveness is the oil of relationships” Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “To be social, is to be forgiving.” Robert FrostThe Need for ForgivenessWe are social beings … interpersonal relationships is a primary needWe offend each another with injustices … these offenses place the relationship at riskThe negative effects of injustices may be repaired through the process of forgiveness“Forgiveness is the oil of relationships”Josh McDowellThe Base-Line for Human Behavior … we do that … and not to our enemies as much as to our friends ..
13 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness Themes on the Path of ForgivenessDeal with JusticeGrieve the LossCancel the Debt“To forgiveIs to setA prisoner freeand discoverthe prisoner is me.”Corrie Ten Boom
14 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness The Themes of ForgivenessDo not follow in a linear patternDo not follow in a chronological styleThe pattern might be called “spiral”In a spiral pattern the themes keep on being visited over and over with every cycleNo one leaves a theme in the same way in which they came to itChanges come in small increments“The foolish neither forgive or forget,The naïve forgive and forget,The wise forgive but do not forget.”Thomas Szasz
15 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Forgiveness Does Not Ignore Justice” Dealing With JusticeCriminal and Civil JusticeThe Trespass: Every trespass of a law or boundary incurs a debtThe Debt: The courts of the justice systems describe debts in payable terms (dollars or time served) so that debts can be defined and paidThe Payment of the Debt: When the state is satisfied that the payment of the debt meets the criteria described by the court, the state will then, and only then, cancel the debt which the offender owesThe Debt Cancelled: With the cancellation of the debt the courts acknowledge that justice has been served
16 The Themes of Forgiving Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “No One Can Forgive For Another” The Truth and Reconciliation CommissionThe Themes of ForgivingDealing with JusticeIn Interpersonal OffensesThe Debt: Every trespass of a boundary or broken promise or unfulfilled expectation incurs a debtThe Debt Cannot be Paid: In trespasses like infidelity, the debt cannot be described in payable terms (like time owed or a fine), because there is nothing the offender can do, be or produce that will make it right and the wrong cannot be undone.The Debt Remains Outstanding: The debt cannot be paid by the offender (even when they want to) … it remains outstanding unless the injured one makes some creative choices..
17 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Only the injured has the authority to release the debt” dkThe Themes of ForgivingDealing with JusticeInterpersonal OffensesThe Injured has a decision to make:-- To Release the Debt or Not Release the Debt --In choosing to abandon resentment (to which they are entitled) rather than respond with justifiable retribution (which the offender has rightfully earned) and cancelling the debt, the injured one acknowledges that justice is done.In choosing to remain resentful (to which they are entitled) and in choosing to respond with justifiable retribution (which the offender has rightfully earned) the injured ones refuse to release the debt and therefore cut themselves off from the full rewards that justice has to offer.“The Highest Level of Justice Is Justice Tempered With Mercy”
18 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Justice cannot do her work with debts outstanding.” dk“When we refuse to cancel the debt We burn the bridge Over which we ourselves must cross In order to allow justice To do her work.” dk “He who refuses “We want the outcomes to cancel the debt that justice has to offer, hampers the work but refuse to do what that justice would do.” dk she requires of us.” dk “You want justice done, But if you refuse to do your part, You cut yourself off from her part.”dk
19 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Separate what has been done to you from what you need to do in return.” dkThe Themes of ForgivingDealing with JusticeAnger over injusticeAnger is the proper response to injusticeAnger is the motivator to make the wrong rightName the injuryWhen all names, dates, behaviors are taken away from the injury – what is left? Is it abandonment? or betrayal? Or … ?Blame the injurerThere is a therapeutic way to blameIf there is no one to blame there is no one to forgive“ I will never be held accountableFor what has been done to meBut will always be responsibleFor what I do in return.”Viktor Frankl
20 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness Dealing with JusticeIs Forgiving Fair? Does It Ever Feel Fair?Is not forgiving more fair?Is living with anger and resentment more fair?Does a life dedicated to revenge feel like a better life?These are the options – to forgive or remain unforgiving – Which is more fair?“How much more grievousAre the consequences of angerThan the causes of it.”Marcus AureliusOne of the reasons forgiveness feels so unfair is that the injured do all the work … however, they are the only ones with the authority to do it … no one can cancel the debt and forgive for them. dk
21 “So much has been given to me, that which has been denied.” Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Separate what was lost from what is left.” dkThe Themes of ForgivingGrieve the LossKnowledge: know the loss – know what was taken from youAcknowledge: claim the loss as your own – you will never be the same again – you have lost a part of you … not he whole selfDescribe your new identity: You are now different – describe your new “you” – you are more than what you have lost … your loss is not the title of your story – allow it to be a footnote or appendix .“So much has been given to me,I have no time to ponderthat which has been denied.”Helen Keller
22 The Themes of Forgiving Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Not to forgive is to be imprisoned by the past.” Lance MorrowThe Themes of ForgivingGrieve the LossPaganiniIn the final movement of the final piece in a concert in Paris, he lost three of his four violin strings. Upon realizing what he had lost he chose to complete the piece on the one and only remaining string.He chose to define himself by what he had left, rather than what he had lost.“We may be so angry about what has been lost,That we fail to see what is left.” dk
23 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness Themes of ForgivingCancel the DebtEvery offense incurs a debtThe debt cannot be described in payable termsThe offender cannot pay what is owed … there is no payment that satisfies the weight of the debtCancelling is a choice … we can choose not to cancel“Only the wounded havethe authority to forgive.”The Interpreter
24 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness The Themes of ForgivingCancelling the debt does not mean:You are giving in or giving upThat they are right and you are wrongThat you are losing and they are winning“Revenge makes promisesIt cannot deliver.” dk
25 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Not to forgive is yielding oneself to another’s control.” Lance MorrowThemes of ForgivingCancel the DebtPossible challenges to cancelling the debt“He has not apologized.”“She has shown no contrition.”“She does not deserve it.”“He does not understand how much he has hurt me.”“If I forgive, she will just do it again.”“If I forgive, he will think it was OK.”“If I forgive him, I’m making myself too vulnerable.”“Most of us can forgive …We just don’t want our offender to forgetthat we have forgiven.” Ivern Ball
26 “ … mercy seasons justice.” The Merchant of Venice Act IV Scene I Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness “Forgiveness frees the forgiver.” Lance MorrowThemes of ForgivingCancelling the DebtCancelling the debt means that the injurer has nothing to offer you that would further help to close the file.You do not require an apology, nor do you wish the injurer any harm; and you don’t owe the injurer anything either.“Forgiven” means the scales of justice are balanced and that the highest level of justice has been reached; justice tempered with mercy.“ … mercy seasons justice.”The Merchant of Venice Act IV Scene I
27 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness Conclusion … Reclaiming Our LifeForgiving is for the purpose of repairing relationships which have been put at risk through offenses and injusticesIn most cases, as we forgive, we discover new and more comprehensive life principlesThe new principles are based on new understandings with new boundaries, should harm come our way again“Forgiveness is the fragrancethat the violet shedson the heel that crushed it.”Samuel Clemens
28 Helping Clients Forgive: A Model of Forgiveness Forgiveness CounsellingListen to the StoryIdentify the OffenseSeparate What Happened… From What Needs to be DoneAccept/Support ResistanceIdentify the Themes“I was angry with my friend,I told my wrath,My wrath did end.I was angry with my foe,I told it not,My wrath did grow.”William Blake
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