principles of rpg

6 elements of healing (or “principles”) in the rpg model

Axis-One (summary)

1st. Truth (vs Distorted Truth): acknowledgement (vs denial)

Reconciliation hinges on getting to the truth as understood by those involved. Giving an accounting of the whole truth provides the foundation for a meaningful reconciliation. Leaving omissions, cover-ups, and distortions of the truth in the wound is like trying to bandage a physical injury without cleaning it out first. Wounds must be cleaned from the debris of the trauma–even if it is painful.

2nd. Listening (vs Not Listening): dialogue (vs isolation)

If reconciliation between two people is to happen the actors involved must be able to listen. Listening is the first step in honoring the pain and truth of an injuried party. Listening dignifies the work people are trying to do to get beyond their pain. Listening dignifies both parties and serves to move the healing process along.

Axis-Two (summary)

3rd. Change (vs No Change): active grieving (vs dysfunctional grief)

Reconciliation presupposes that something egregious has happened. Something has happened that should ought never have been. The victim has lost something. Someone’s world has come undone. The wrong-doer has something to live with that will be regretted for a lifetime. People cannot face these kind of facts and remain who they once were. Going through a healing process of this magnitude will change you. The road to this kind of change is grief and grieving.

4th. Integration (vs Incongruence): restructuring (vs dysfunctional coping)

The grieving process is a change process. When life shatters our dreams into a million pieces it may seem that there is no way to put life back together again. Going through the grief process must first take us apart before it can put us back together again. A healthy grief has a purpose. The pieces of the self can be restructured into a resilient, congruent self. States of internal disorganization loss their power to drive dysfunctional coping strategies. A restructured congruent self finds new stability that is grounded in more authentic empathetic behavior.

Axis-Three (summary)

5th. Dignity (vs Resentment/Anger): forgiveness (vs unforgiveness)

Forgiveness is at the heart of almost every reconciliation model I’ve seen. So much so that it is easy to confuse forgiveness with reconciliation as if they are the same thing. They are not. Reconciliation is dependent upon forgiveness but forgiveness is not dependent upon reconciliation. One can forgive without reconciling with the victimizer. The victimizer may never be safe or trustworthy enough to reconcile with. That is unfortunate but it does not trap the victim in the boiling cauldron of unforgiveness. Forgiveness is a power exercised by the one who is forgiving. No permission is required. No action on the part of the victimizer is necessary. When a person has been victimized an assault on that person’s dignity has also happened. When the injured person is ready to forgive, and does forgive, that person is reclaiming dignity was lost or injured by the original injustice.

6th. Unity (vs Division/Hatred/Fear): peace and attachment (vs conflict)

Forgiveness opens the door within the forgiver for healing and the restoration of personal dignity. Achieving unity between actors on both sides of an injustice extends the power and the peace of that same healing into the world. The world changes. When injustice gives way to a transformative restorative justice, wrongs get righted, amends restore dignity, and unity and peace become tangible in the real world. The community heals. Healthy attachments are made. The world becomes a better place.

For more about resolving the tensions (the italicized pairs noted above) associated with each principle read here…