This is an On-Demand course that includes a video recording and a handout of slides that accompany the talk.

Forgiveness in Psychotherapy

Forgiveness is a concept that has generated a long history of cultural, spiritual, and religious reflection. However, scientific research on forgiveness has intensified over the past twenty years with nearly two thousand empirical studies including more than fifty treatment studies. This research shows that, in general, forgiveness is positively associated with mental and physical well-being. Surveys also show that (a) most clients view forgiveness as relevant to their struggles, and (b) most therapists see forgiveness as potentially constructive in certain clinical cases. Yet forgiveness is also a sensitive topic that can be used in coercive ways that do not foster healing and wholeness. This presentation discusses recent advances in theory, research, and intervention strategies related to forgiveness.

Learning Objectives

After completing this course participants will be able to:

  • Discuss key dimensions of a psychological definition of interpersonal forgiveness.
  • Describe research findings on psychological barriers and pathways to forgiveness.
  • Identify diversity factors that might influence dynamics of forgiveness.
  • Understand intervention strategies that can facilitate forgiveness in psychotherapy.


Steven J. Sandage, Ph.D., LP, is the Albert and Jessie Danielsen Professor of Psychology of Religion and Theology at Boston University and Research Director and Senior Staff Psychologist at the Danielsen Institute.  He is co-author of three books, To Forgive is Human, The Faces of Forgiveness, and Transforming Spirituality, and has forthcoming co-authored books with American Psychological Association Books (Forgiveness and Relational Spirituality) and Rowman & Littlefield (The Skillful Soul of the Psychotherapist: The Link between Spirituality and Clinical Excellence).  He is a Licensed Psychologist and specializes in couples therapy, multicultural therapy, spiritually-integrative therapy, and diversity training.

Beverly J. Long, PhD is an Assistant Professor/Associate Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry, University of Minnesota Medical School. Along with Drs. Sandage and Moen, she has co-authored several presentations of the results of a study using the REACH model of Forgiveness with clients with Borderline Personality Disorder who were in comprehensive DBT. She has 20 years of experience in using Dialectical Behavior Therapy in the treatment of individuals with Borderline Personality Disorder and/or Dissociative Identity Disorder.

Richelle N. Moen, Ph.D., LP, LMFT is an Assistant Professor/ Assistant Residency Training Director in the Department of Psychiatry, University of MN Medical School where she teaches psychiatry residents how to do individual, group, and family therapy.  She has over 15 years of experience working with individuals with Emotional Dysregulation, chronic suicidality and self-harm and their families. Her interest in Forgiveness Research has developed through the years in order to explorethe clinical impact offacilitating the forgiveness process in individuals and within families.

Licensing and Continuing Education Requirements

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The Evidence-Based Practice Institute is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. The Evidence-Based Practice Institute maintains responsibility for the program and its content.  The Evidence-Based Practice Institute allocates 1.5 CE credits for this course following APA guidelines. After you successfully complete the course, fill out an evaluation form, and pass an exam, your CE certificate will be emailed to you.

Licensing and continuing education requirements vary by state. Please contact your state's regulatory authority to verify that this course meets your licensing and/or continuing education requirements.


Past Reviews

This is an excellent way to introduce the topic of forgiveness with clients. - San Mueller

The Forgiveness module added to a DBT skills group or taught in individual therapy can help clients build an additional skill set that improves interpersonal functioning overall well-being. - Elizabeth Waterman

Helpful to clinicians, including theory, practice and empirical findings. - Lynne Henderson