It is widely believed and accepted that in order to move on in our lives we need to forgive those that have wronged us. In fact, there is even a type of therapy called forgiveness therapy. Many therapy schools teach us therapists different ways to get our clients to forgive their tormentors/abusers/bullies in order to release the trauma caused by them.
The question I ask is this: "Do they deserve to be forgiven for what they have done?"
The trauma that people have lived through should be honoured and respected. Is forgiving the violent mother for 20 years of physical abuse respecting and honouring what happened to that child? In most cases, no. It's belittling it. What does that mother deserve? Forgiveness or punishment?
The priest who sexually abused young boys, does he deserve forgiveness?
The recent press cases about famous celebrities committing sexual crimes against the young, do they deserve forgiveness?
If you have whiplash from an accident on an icy road then you can forgive that, if you wanted to release the anger from your neck.
Prolonged, premeditated, criminal and life destroying abuse, should you really be asking your clients to forgive that?
I do not encourage forgiveness in any arena of therapy. I encourage my clients to find their own way of releasing stored emotion, I certainly do not push them into any direction. I ask them what they would like to do. Would they like to take the abuser to a metaphorical court for sentencing? Would they like to meet the abuser in an imaginary boxing match with the strength they were missing as a small child?
Sometimes, and quite frequently, my clients will have a rant to release the stored emotion then I'll ask "What does Mr Abuser say to that?". The abuser may then apologise and that will be the release the client is looking for.
Other times the client needs the abuser to go through the same, and sometimes worse, physical, emotional and psychological torture that they suffered. After all, preying on the vulnerable isn't fair and the playing fields sometimes need to be levelled.
So I guess what I'm saying is, to be a true client centred therapist we need to be asking our clients what they want to do. It's their trauma, not ours, if they want to forgive then we apply suitable methods to allow them to forgive. If they want to punish, then we give them what they need to punish.
As long as that client gets the release they need to move forward in their lives then the work of the therapist has been successful.
So if you're trapped by the past, give me a call for a chat to find out what you need to do to be able to move forward.
Paul believes hypnosis is empowering and life-changing. Look around the website and get in touch should you have any queries