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Spouses go through different challenges, which might degenerate into abuse in some cases. Women form the highest percentage of victims of spousal abuse. According to Reed and Enright (2006), around 35% of women in marriage or romantic relationships report being abused by their husbands or partners. Reed and Enright (2006) carried out an empirical study to determine “the effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse” (p. 920). The researchers hypothesized that the victims of abuse undergoing forgiveness therapy recover and forgive their abusers faster as compared to their counterparts taking alternative treatment. The researchers used the interview methodology by enlisting 20 participants, who were victims of spousal abuse. The design used was a “matched, yoked, and randomized experimental and control group” (Reed & Enright, 2006, p. 922). After gathering the relevant data, the researchers compared the recovery of the participants to their controls to determine the effects of forgiveness therapy. The results indicated that victims of spousal abuse undergoing forgiveness therapy healed faster as compared to their counterparts using alternative therapy. This trend was attributed to the view that forgiveness therapy focuses on the abuser as opposed to other forms of therapies that dwell on giving the victims a room to express their anger and frustrations without tacking the cause of their woes.
Therefore, the conclusion formed is that the female victim of abuse should be taken through forgiveness therapy in a bid to recover from the debilitating effects of such an occurrence. In the long-term, this therapy plays an important role in allowing the victims to forgive their abusers, which is the ultimate healing stage of the process.
Initially, I did not appreciate the contribution of this article to the healing process of spousal abuse. I thought that alternative therapies are better than forgiveness therapy because they focus on the victim. After all, the last thing that a victim of abuse would want to do is to remember her abuser. However, after reading through this article, I appreciate the view that alternative therapies deal with symptoms without addressing the cause of suffering. This article presents a unique approach to dealing with spousal abuse. Forgiveness therapy allows the victim to focus on the abuser. I realize that by not focusing on the abuser, the victim will always have a relapse into bitterness and other psychological sufferings. However, by forgiving the abuser, the victim can embrace the healing process. In most cases, the victims of spousal abuse feel betrayed and this feeling evokes bitterness and the urge to revenge. However, by forgiving the abuser, the victim approaches the issue pragmatically by focusing on the important aspects of life like regaining self-confidence and moving on with life.
I am particularly interested in this topic because the number of spousal abuse cases is on the increase. Unfortunately, the empirical evidence to back up these claims is lacking because social researchers have not focused on the issue conclusively. Therefore, in a bid to understand this topic better, I will read all the available literature on spousal abuse, the coping mechanisms, and the ultimate way out of this social ill. I believe in preventive approaches to social vices, and thus I will focus on ways that spouses can be sensitized in a bid to prevent spousal abuse.
Scenario: Daisy has visited the pastor’s office in our church, and as the pastor in charge, I have to address her issues. She has been separated from her husband for 2 years after their marriage of 10 years failed. She is depressed. In addition, she has lost her self-worth because she feels that her husband used and dumped her. The following dialogue ensues:
- Pastor: Hello Daisy
- Daisy: (She does not say anything, but she keeps on fidgeting on her seat)
- P: You look very uncomfortable, Daisy
- D: I simply feel bad, I feel used, I feel useless, how could he?
- P: I know how it feels; I once separated from my wife of 4 years
- D: What’s more, he has moved on and married another woman
- P: And you have been unable to let go and move on
- D: Yes, I just can’t
- P: Why not
- D: This man just used and dumped me, I feel wasted, I hate him, and I will never forgive him, not in this lifetime
- P: That’s where the problem lies. You do not forgive people because they need it, but because you want it for your healing. The healing process can only start after forging Steve and letting go. According to a recent study conducted on the effects of forgiveness therapy on people in your situation, victims of abuse heal faster, regain their self-worth, and move on with their lives after forgiving their abusers.
- D: That makes sense. Why do I even keep on thinking about him yet he moved on
- P: It’s because you have not forgiven him. All you need to do is forgive him, but you may need professional help. I recommend that you enroll in forgiveness therapy for professional help
- D: I can do that; I just need to move on with my life
- P: Thank you for opening up and the willingness to receive help
- D: Thank you pastor for opening my mind.
Reed, G., & Enright, R. (2006). The effects of forgiveness therapy on depression, anxiety and posttraumatic stress for women after spousal emotional abuse. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 74(5), 920–929.