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Positive Responses to Benefit and Harm: Bringing Forgiveness and Gratitude Into Cognitive Psychotherapy

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Abstract

Forgiveness and gratitude represent positive psychological responses to interpersonal harms and benefits that individuals have experienced. In the present article we first provide a brief review of the research that has shown forgiveness and gratitude to be related to various measures of physical and psychological well-being. We then review the empirical findings regarding the cognitive and affective substrates of forgiveness and gratitude. We also offer a selective review of some of the interventions that appear to be effective in encouraging forgiveness and gratitude. To conclude, we suggest some ways in which the insights from the basic research on promoting forgiveness and gratitude might be meaningfully integrated into cognitive psychotherapy.

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