|Donna Liu, Tony Goldsmith, Dr. Suzanne Freedman, Rosemary Herrick, Connie Pelesh, and Patricia Kosinski|
There are many “F” words out there but this “F” word is a big deal in the world of psychology. The “F” word of treatment is “Forgiveness.” I had the opportunity to attend an all day seminar at Widener University’s main campus in Chester, “The Power of Forgiveness: Challenges for Both Therapist and Client,” the 10th Annual Child Sexual Abuse Treatment Conference: Opening Pandora’s Box. The seminar held on Thursday, June 13th was sponsored by the Institute for Graduate Clinical Psychology and the Center for Social Work Education at Widener University, along with Family Support Line.
The seminar which focused on the psychology of interpersonal forgiveness taught the 4 phases of Dr. Richard Enright’s model that explored the role of anger, the difference between forgiving and excusing, the implications for mental health professionals, and the relationship between forgiveness and reconciliation. The purpose of the seminar was to help clinicians and educators who want to know more about using the process of forgiveness with their clients or students or anyone who simply wanted to learn more about the powerful healing process of forgiveness from a psychological perspective.
The seminar featured Dr. Suzanne Freedman, an associate professor of human development at the University of Northern Iowa. She has been studying the topic of forgiveness for over 20 years and her publications focus on the psychology of forgiveness with both adults and adolescents. Freedman, who received the American Psychological Association Dissertation Award in 1993 for her ground breaking research on forgiveness and incest survivors, has given numerous workshops on the psychology of forgiveness.
What did I learn from this seminar? “Forgiveness is a choice.” You have to be willing or ready to forgive someone. Genuine forgiveness comes over time. Why do we need to forgive in the first place? If we get hurt, it may lead to anger. Anger is not bad. It is what we do with anger that can be good or bad. Dr. Freedman believes that “what we see now are kids who are angry and getting angrier and reacting to the anger leads to violence. We need to find a way to help children deal with anger.” Dr. Freedman spoke about some of the school violence that comes out of these kinds of anger. Education is important to forgiveness. “We have to meet the child cognitively… teachers should start to teach forgiveness to children from first grade.”
The seminar ended with an expert panel discussing abuse and dealing with forgiveness. A total of 6 continuing education (CE) credits can be earned from each seminar in the series. A certificate can be earned after attending 6 seminars. Interesting seminar, if you want to learn more about the series please call 610-499-1083.