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Digital Recording

To Forgive or Not to Forgive? Releasing the Pain of Relational Trauma

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Frank Anderson, MD
2 Hours 03 Minutes
Mar 18, 2023
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Digital Recording
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Forgiveness is often a triggering and complicated issue, particularly as it relates to relational trauma or complex PTSD. Some clients don’t want to forgive their abusers, even after they’ve severed all ties. Others hold onto anger and resentment but stay in unhealthy relationships. And some will forgive and struggle with not getting what they’d hoped for as a response. In this session, we’ll explore different dimensions of forgiveness: when it's premature and when it’s forced, when it's used to avoid feelings of pain and betrayal, whether it's necessary to fully heal from abuse, whether it serves the victim or the perpetrator, and when it leads to true acceptance and freedom. You'll discover how to help clients:

  • Release the wounds that another has caused, so they’re freed to no longer carry the trauma inside
  • Heal and name their internal wounds by learning to speak up for what they know to be true
  • Determine whether forgiveness may be helpful for them to fully heal from relational violations


Planning Committee Disclosure - No relevant relationships

All members of the PESI, Inc. planning committee have provided disclosures of financial relationships with ineligible organizations and any relevant non-financial relationships prior to planning content for this activity. None of the committee members had relevant financial relationships with ineligible companies or other potentially biasing relationships to disclose to learners.  For speaker disclosures, please see the faculty biography.


This online program is worth 2.25 hours CPD.



Frank Anderson, MD's Profile

Frank Anderson, MD Related seminars and products

Frank Anderson, MD, completed his residency and was a clinical instructor in psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. He is both a psychiatrist and psychotherapist. He specializes in the treatment of trauma and dissociation and is passionate about teaching brain-based psychotherapy and integrating current neuroscience knowledge with the IFS model of therapy.

Dr. Anderson is a lead trainer at the IFS Institute with Richard Schwartz and maintains a long affiliation with, and trains for, Bessel van der Kolk’s Trauma Center. He serves as an advisor to the International Association of Trauma Professionals (IATP) and was the former chair and director of the Foundation for Self-Leadership.

Dr. Anderson has lectured extensively on the Neurobiology of PTSD and Dissociation and wrote the chapter “Who’s Taking What” Connecting Neuroscience, Psychopharmacology and Internal Family Systems for Trauma in Internal Family Systems Therapy – New Dimensions. He co-authored a chapter on What IFS Brings to Trauma Treatment in Innovations and Elaborations in Internal Family Systems Therapy, and recently co-authored Internal Family Systems Skills Training Manual.

His most recent book, entitled Transcending Trauma: Healing Complex PTSD with Internal Family Systems was released on May 19, 2021.

His memoir, To Be Loved, is set to be released on May 7, 2024.

Speaker Disclosures:
Financial: Dr. Frank Anderson maintains a private practice. He is the Executive Director of the Foundation for Self Leadership and has employment relationships with The Trauma Center and The Center for Self Leadership. Dr. Anderson receives royalties as a published author. He receives a speaking honorarium, recording, and book royalties from PESI, Inc. He has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.
Non-financial: Dr. Frank Anderson is a member of the New England Society Studying Trauma and Dissociation and the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation.


  1. Propose three steps required for forgiveness to be achieved by someone who has been relationally violated.
  2. Catalogue the core components of healing relational wounds.
  3. Assess the qualities of resilience that are necessary for clients to overcome complex PTSD.


  • Explore the various dimensions of forgiveness as an area of clinical concern
  • Explore when forgiveness is used to avoid feelings of pain or betrayal
  • Determine whether forgiveness is necessary to fully heal from abuse
  • Understand whether forgiveness serves the victim or the perpetrator to improve clinical outcomes

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Addiction Counselors
  • Physicians
  • Physician Assistants
  • Nurses
  • Nurse Practitioners 
  • Other Mental Health Professionals



Overall:      4.6

Total Reviews: 10

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