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The Effects of Forgiveness Therapy on Depression, Anxiety, and Posttraumatic Stress for Women After Spousal Emotional Abuse COUN 506 - Integration of Psychology, Theology, & Spirituality in Counseling March 25, 2011

Summary
Enright and Reed (2006) discussed varied studies on spousal psychological abuse, with the various researchers concluding multiple negative psychological outcomes on woman who were in emotionally abusive spousal relationships. In the study however the authors approach the long-term adverse psychological consequences, emotionally abused, women struggle with after being in a relationship with an abusive spouse (Enright & Reed). Focus is on the outcomes forgiveness therapy (FT) has on psychological problems, specifically depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress (Enright & Reed). Enright and Reed (2006) hypothesized that participants of the FT study would benefit from increased self-esteem and effective decision making, while decreasing levels of depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress. FT results compared with results of the alternate therapy (AT) participants; which were inclusive of “anger validation, assertiveness, and interpersonal skill building” (Enright & Reed, 2006, p. 921) with no focus on improving the women’s feelings of resentment towards the abusive spouse. The FT study included 20 women, all of whom a spouse or lover psychologically abused; participants were divorced or separated from the abusive partner for two or more years (Enright & Reed). Results included pretest, posttest, and follow-up measures, using the same variables, for both the FT and AT groups. FT participants, as compared to the AT participants, showed considerable improvements in areas measured during the study i.e., decreased symptoms of anxiety, depression and posttraumatic stress. The conclusion implies that though more research is imperative in the study of the effects of FT, this initial empirical study comparing FT...
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