Effects of the Forgiveness Therapy: Journal Article Review

Reed, G. L., & Enright, R. D. (2006). Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology

This article presents a study that focuses on the adverse psychological effects which emotional abuse has on women who have been in an offensive relationship long after it has been called off. The study seeks to compare the forgiveness therapy to the alternative of assertiveness, validation of anger, and the improvement of interpersonal skills. To achieve its evaluation of the mercy belief as a reliable curing approach for emotionally insulted women, the study works guided by the hypothesis that emotionally abused women who undergo the pardon caring have reduced levels of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. In addition, the increased levels of esteem, unlike those who stand other common forms of therapy, are not related to the reduction of feelings of resentment towards the abusive spouse.

Have any questions about the topic? Our Experts can answer any question you have. They are avaliable to you 24/7.
Ask now

The article describes the method used in conducting the research, including the participants’ sample size and specific qualifications concerning previously being in an offensive relationship. The cramming design is properly discovered as having a control and experiential group derived from the sample, with the partakers appropriately classified in pairs to create the two groups. Dependent variables are identified, and the instruments of testing are presented to them, including surveys, various psychology-testing ways, and a post-traumatic stress symptoms checklist (Reed & Enright, 2006).

To attain the findings, an analysis is done by comparing the outcomes of the indulgence therapy and the alternative treatment. The article reveals that the therapy is best suited to treat emotionally insulted women, unlike the optional curing.


The study’s reliance on a hypothesis guides it in conducting a step-by-step analysis of the pardon beliefs and alternative treatment therapy for emotionally abused women who have been in an offensive marriage or romantic relationship in the past. The study design used is efficient in getting reliable results, as it presents the experimental control group from the chosen sample. Through this design, it is easily possible to identify the success of the forgiveness therapy compared to the alternative treatment method of anger validation.

From the article by Reed and Enright (2006), I have understood that the mercy therapy is effective in treating women who have been away from an emotionally abusive relationship for a while. The study presented by this article makes it clear that even after leaving such a relationship, an individual may still suffer from psychological effects of emotional abuse, including anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. From this article, it is also clear that emotional offense has far more lasting psychological impacts than physical insult and can appropriately be managed by forgiving the abuser and learning to accept that they are still human, even though they committed many harmful acts towards the affected woman during the relationship.

This article is interesting and captured my attention in that it brought to light empirical evidence of the working of the forgiveness therapy in assisting emotionally abused women in regaining self-esteem and having a significant reduction in anxiety, stress, and depression levels. It is applicable as the indicator that the forgiveness therapy can indeed be applied in a counseling session with women who have been in emotionally abusive relationships.

Based on this reading, I seek to do further investigations on whether or not the clemency therapy can drive a previously insulted spouse into reconciling with the man with whom she was in an emotionally abusive relationship. Such an article would increase my understanding of the best ways of following up on therapy patients and guiding them away from ‘false mercy’ (Reed & Enright, 2006).


As a pastor, a parishioner presented me with an issue in which she had been separated from her husband for three years now, but he would contact her on a weekly basis to visit their two children on weekends. The reason for the married couple’s separation had been due to the spouse having constantly ridiculed her for the low level of education that she had received and often called her stupid and uneducated, leaving her out in crucial family decisions and claiming that he regretted marrying her. The husband had never been physically abusive but often threatened to send her back to her parents, as he was tired of her. This parishioner sought counseling from me since she felt that she resented her former spouse more with each passing day and felt that maybe he was right and she was uneducated and stupid. She had sleepless nights in the recent past due to the increased thoughts of hatred towards her husband.

Through the forgiveness therapy, I would take the parishioner to guide the patient through her state as caused by the previous emotional abuse and continuous contact with her emotionally offensive husband. The therapy sessions would involve leading the patient to grieve for the insult, which was directed to her, and accepting that her spouse is still human even though he committed injustices that are not expected from him. As Reed and Enright (2006) described, this kind of acceptance will enable the affected woman to cope with the resentment, she has for her former husband and recover from possible depression or post-traumatic stress.



Reed, G. L., & Enright, R. D. (2006). The effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse. Journal of Consulting & Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 920-929. https://doi.org/10.1037/0022-006X.74.5.920