Forgiveness therapy in a maximum-security correctional institution: A randomized clinical trial
Objective: Forgiveness Therapy is proposed as a novel approach to rehabilitation for men in a maximum-security correctional institution to alleviate psychological compromises. Method: In a two-tiered study, volunteer participants within a correctional institution (N = 103) were asked to report past experiences of abuse and unjust treatment prior to their first crime and were measured on anger, anxiety, depression, hope and forgiveness. Twenty four of the most clinically compromised participants were selected from this initial assessment, with pairs first matched on certain characteristics and then randomly assigned to either experimental or control group interventions followed by a cross-over design (N = 9 in each group at the study's end). Experimental participants received 24 weeks of Forgiveness Therapy. Control group participants received 24 weeks of an alternative treatment followed by Forgiveness Therapy. Dependent variables included anger, anxiety, depression, forgiveness, hope, self-esteem and empathy. Results: Ninety percent of 103 participants reported moderate to severe abuse in childhood or adolescence. Data showed an inverse relationship between forgiveness and anger, anxiety and depression. In the Forgiveness Therapy, anger, anxiety, depression, empathy and forgiveness were statistically significant favouring both experimental groups. These results remained at the 6-month follow-up. Conclusions: Forgiveness Therapy is shown to be effective for correctional rehabilitation in healing clinical psychological compromise and in promoting positive psychological well-being in men within a maximum-security facility.
Clinical Psychology and Psychotherapy
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Yu L, Gambaro M, Song JY, et al. Forgiveness therapy in a maximum‐security correctional institution: A randomized clinical trial. Clinical psychology and psychotherapy. 2021;28(6):1457-1471. doi:10.1002/cpp.2583