Here is a Flow Chart of the Steps of the Forgiveness of Others Process
The forgiveness process does not all have to be done in one sitting. You can do it over several sessions, enabling you to do each step in greater depth. This can be especially valuable for steps 2, 6, 7, and 8.
The key actions and phrases are in heavy bold type, and the "stage directions" and explanations are in italics. This is for your convenience. As you get to know the process better, you can skip the comments and instructions and simply go with the flow of the steps till they are second nature.
Forgiveness is an act of loving will - of mental and spiritual will. Forgiveness cannot and does not take place on the emotional level , which is the level on which most problems arise.
A simple forgiveness process for one or two incidents can be dealt with in less than an hour once you have understood and mastered the process. To do it thoroughly if more incidents of greater seriousness are involved, allow 2-3 hours. For difficult relationships, several sessions can be needed, especially when you are learning how to do the steps. Different people need different times for each of the steps, depending upon their circumstances. You can, however, do each of the steps in parts on separate occasions, to complete the whole process. You might gain from having a guide to help you, but this process is being set out here for wider distribution in the hope that more people will be able to make use of it than if it is only available via therapists and workshops.
Speak it aloud or write it. To bring it into your body you must make pathways in your nervous system
Suggestions - If you do have a guide help you, have them sit beside you, not opposite you. If you are a therapist using this process with clients, or just someone helping another person, I suggest that you have the forgiver sit beside you, not opposite you. Problems with transference and countertransference (projection of feelings onto each other about people from your past) are less likely in this position, and the process will go better than if you sit opposite each other (a fact known to the Aboriginal People of Australia centuries ago!). If you are on your own, you can make a tape of the instructions in your own voice, so you can replay this process to yourself, and use the pause button when you need to. Or, you can write out the process in full. Once you have fully understood the principles involved, you may find words that work better for you than the words used here. The process as it stands has been the result of suggestions from many people. Write to me about any new ideas you have.
NOTE: If there is difficulty with or resistance to the word "forgiveness", refer to the section on true and false ideas about forgiveness which you can link to here Demythologising forgiveness - truths and untruths
If you are ready to go on go to Step Two - Weighing up your deep and superficial values to increase motivating force available for the process
Link here to return to Forgiveness Programme - Contents