Lesson Three: Transforming Suffering Professional Group Learning Study Guide

Transforming Suffering Series

Professional Group Track Learning Guide

Lesson Three: Forgiveness


-The first step is ACT ONE. This interactive form section will give you an opportunity to delve deeply into the concepts behind our lesson and reflect on how they connect to your life and your role as caregiver. A critical element for the success of an ACT Learning Group is to provide some time and space for personal reflection and journaling.

-After completing this step, ACT TWO is a period of group discussion and reflection. All participants must be given a safe space to express themselves during this time. This portion of the interactive form is filled out with insights gained from your community exploration.

-Next, your group will move on to ACT THREE, the Best Practicesreal-world habits, ways of thinking, or behaving that can increase personal well-being. Goals to incorporate best practice suggestions can be made on the group or individual level and support systems can be developed during this time.

ACT Step One: Individual Reflection

Completed forms may be printed out by pressing CTRL button + P (Windows) or CMD button + P (Mac).

By submitting this form you are agreeing to contribute to our national research project. All information will be used anonymously.

ACT Step Two: Group Discussion

1. “For Palidin, the relationship between forgiveness and healing were indisputable . . .he required the support and wisdom of others to help him lean into his pain.  In David’s words, ‘Forgiveness was the eye of the needle’…”  —Soul & Science Lesson

2. “Research subjects who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more, reported few negative physical symptoms and felt better about their lives in general. “ – Emmons-McCollough

3.“Research shows that making even small steps towards forgiveness appear to strengthen the body’s immune system.” - Joan Borysenko, PhD

4.  “Among the wide variety' of protective factors that have been recognized, acceptance, forgiveness, and gratitude appear to be three personal characteristics that have been found to be closely related to psychological well-being” (The Relationship between Forgiveness and Emotional Well-Being, 2011)

Completed forms may be printed out by pressing CTRL button + P (Windows) or CMD button + P (Mac).

By submitting this form you are agreeing to contribute to our national research project. All information will be used anonymously.

ACT Step Three: Best Practices – (Choose at Least One)

1. “…research studies have begun to demonstrate that forgiveness offers more than just a spiritual or religious benefit; researchers are studying the possibility that forgiveness has implications for emotional and mental well-being.” (The Relationship between Forgiveness and Emotional Well-Being, 2011)

Take special note of the “forgiveness” section of the Spiritual Health Assessment Form you are filling out on a daily or weekly basis. Observe your own level of forgiveness and gratitude. Notice what factors and patterns are influencing this important dimension of your own well-being. Record your observations in the margins of your spiritual assessment form or write about them in your journal.

2. According to WWII Navajo Vet, David Chetlehay Palidin, “Forgiveness is the eye of the needle.”– Soul & Science Lesson

Identify any unresolved forgiveness issues in your life. As you do so, notice the intensity of your emotions, the way your body reacts, and the thoughts that are present. Choose at least one of these issues that you can address through self-forgiveness or forgiveness of others. After one week of actively practicing forgiveness and gratitude, observe any changes in emotions, physical reactions, or thoughts as you recall the same issue.

3. “Years of research by Robert Emmons and Michael McCollough have demonstrated a remarkable relationship between various kinds of gratitude journaling and well-being… increasing wellness by as much as 25%” – Soul & Science Lesson

Make a commitment to the following practice and notice whether you experience any benefit.  How might you recommend the same practice to someone you care for?


There are many things in our lives, both large and small, that we might be grateful about. Think back over the past week and write down on the lines below up to five things in your life that you are grateful or thankful for. Examples of gratitude-inducing experiences include: “waking up this morning,” “the generosity of friends,” “for the blessing of courage and determination,” “for wonderful parents,” and “just for another day.”

Closing Thought

“And if there is something I am not yet ready to forgive, I also forgive myself for that . . .”

―Richard Groves

Additional Resources