Being Well Podcast: How to Forgive Yourself
October 24, 2022

We all make mistakes in life. When we do it’s important to take appropriate responsibility, feel the “wince,” and make amends as we can. But after we’ve done that…then what? Many people find it easier to forgive others than they do to truly forgive themselves, and it’s not uncommon to be burdened by excessive shame and guilt that has outlived its expiration date.

On this episode, Dr. Rick and Forrest explore forgiveness, including how we can forgive ourselves. This includes common myths and misunderstandings about forgiveness, the difference between healthy and unhealthy forms of shame and remorse, coming to terms with what we’ve done, and a roadmap to achieving (self-)forgiveness.

About Our Guest: Bessel van der Kolk is a professor of Psychiatry at the Boston University School of Medicine and president of the Trauma Research Foundation in Brookline, Massachusetts. He’s also the bestselling author of The Body Keeps the Scorewhich is one of the most influential modern books in the field.


Key Topics:

  • 0:00: Introduction
  • 1:15: Imagination and aspirational thinking in healing trauma
  • 4:55: Creativity and cultural context
  • 6:10: Where a sense of agency begins
  • 8:40: Why people internalize abuse
  • 16:30: The myriad available practices for redefining past traumas  
  • 22:10: The state of psychedelic research and the importance of patient care
  • 29:15: The need for new approaches to diagnosis and treatment
  • 34:00: Issues with the DSM-5 and the need to integrate interpersonal processes
  • 38:50: What counts as trauma? Collective trauma?
  • 42:25: The need for cooperative strategies confronting trauma in pro-social movements
  • 45:15: What helps people resource themselves to create change?
  • 51:45: Recap

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Join Dr. Rick and Forrest Hanson every week on the Being Well Podcast for lively and thought-provoking conversation and practical tips for being happier, building inner strengths, and getting the most out of life.

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