Committing an offense creates psychological need within a victim and offender that can act as barriers to reconciliation. This paper examines the process of an offender addressing these needs independent of a victim's response in order to facilitate a process of self-forgiveness that promotes reconciliation and self-trust. We present two studies involving interventions following recent real-life interpersonal transgressions. Results suggest that meeting an offender's need for moral identity through the affirmation of the values violated by the offense, but not affirmation of belonging (Study 1), or affirmation of unrelated values (Study 2) increased genuine self-forgiveness, through shame acknowledgment. This process had downstream benefits for reconciliation and self-trust at one week follow-up.
- Moral identity
- Need for belonging