- With posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), psychotherapy’s goal is to reduce or remove symptoms needed to qualify one for the diagnosis. This is what “healing” means in this series.
- The core of this healing work is permanently reducing or eliminating the noxious feelings associated with memories of trauma. Without “triggered” intrusive memories, the other symptoms of PTSD do not appear.
- Both psychology and religion can make naturalistic proposals about PTSD; it is appropriate and necessary to evaluate such proposals by empirical research, which is how science creates reliable knowledge.
- Forgiveness has been proposed by both psychologists and religious figures as a potentially important intervention in psychotherapy, and in the therapy of PTSD in particular. It’s reasonable to take this proposal seriously.
- “Unforgiveness” – the mental state for which forgiveness is proposed as the remedy, has two fundamental feelings associated with it: fear and anger.
- Fear is primary, and anger is an adaptive response to fear. Remove fear and anger goes with it.
Let’s now look at forgiveness as a deliberate intervention to promote physical health and recovery from psychological trauma.