....We need to provide opportunities for healing, which restorative justice offers. It does not guarantee every person who participates in a restorative practice will heal. It only offers the potential and opportunity for healing,
Recently, Ben Furman, a Finnish psychiatrist and I developed www.apologyletter.org, which provides a confidential program for people to prepare an apology based on restorative principals. We have recently revised the program, which now offers victims who do not get an apology, the opportunity to imagine an apology.
I found first hand benefits of the program by imagining an apology to a serious crime I suffered. Despite years of analyzing the crime and how it affected me, I thought I had healed from it completely, but when I imagined an apology I experienced a level of relief and understanding about what happened and how it affected me, which I had not known before. The unexpected benefits were a huge surprise to me.
The imagined apology is a powerful tool and shows again that we can apply restorative principles without engaging the person who hurt us. We can bring healing to ourselves. The opportunity exists.