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Q: Value of confession ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   0 Comments )
Subject: Value of confession
Category: Miscellaneous
Asked by: qpet-ga
List Price: $30.00
Posted: 12 Jan 2003 06:38 PST
Expires: 11 Feb 2003 06:38 PST
Question ID: 141779
What is the value of confession and disclosure? The catholic church
has promoted confession for centuries, therapists urge clients to
disclose. People
feel relieved after disclosing a secret, why?
Subject: Re: Value of confession
Answered By: bobbie7-ga on 12 Jan 2003 15:22 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
Hello Qpet and thank you for your question.

I organized a list of articles, studies and testimonials with brief
excerpts that illustrate the value of confession and disclosure of


From The Catechism of the Catholic Church:

“The confession (or disclosure) of sins, even from a simply human
point of view, frees us and facilitates our reconciliation with
others. Through such an admission man looks squarely at the sins he is
guilty of, takes responsibility for them, and thereby opens himself
again to God and to the communion of the Church in order to make a new
future possible.”

Source: Gods Time Blogspot


People have benefited from individual confession according to Jim
Forest, author of Confession: Doorway to Forgiveness.

“As one testimonial relates, "Confession seems to uncover the dark
sadnesses in the heart ... and creates a sense of freedom from
carrying the terrible concerns which weigh us down in life."

“A recovering alcoholic, who has been sober since 1976, believes that
the success of Twelve Step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous
points to confession's value. The fifth step instructs recovering
addicts to "admit to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the
exact nature of our wrongs."

Confession offers psychological benefits.

"It was a very intense, very emotional experience," she says.
"Afterward, I literally felt a physical sense of relief. There was
this heaviness in my heart that was lifted."

Source: Dallas News


In the article Family Secrets: To Tell or Not To Tell by Karen
Hood-Caddy the disclosure of family secrets is discussed.

“Once a family secret has been brought into the open, the hold of the
past will be broken and people will be free to move forward, creating
healthier relationships. The old maxim may be right: The truth does
set people free.”

People feel relieved after disclosing a secret as a great deal energy
is used to conceal the truth.

“The most damaging aspects of keeping a family secret is how much
energy is used to conceal the truth. When a family's secret - such as
alcoholism, drug addiction, physical abuse, or mental or physical
illness - is an ongoing situation (..)  The family members must
organize their lives according to the requirements of the secret,
while performing the breathtaking feat of pretending not to notice
that anything is out of the ordinary."

An example:

“Jinty, a woman in her 30s, was sexually molested by her father when
she was a child.
When she was a young adult, she told a friend and the secret came out.
(..)  "I'm grateful that the truth came out now," Jinty says. "If you
keep a secret, it eats away at your insides and becomes the center of
everything. You blame it for everything that goes wrong. To get
healthy, you have to grasp that secret and put it into the daylight."

Source: The Catholic digest


Lori W. Wiener PhD, has researched and written about the impact of
disclosure of children with HIV on family members.

“Wiener finds most parents do feel relief after making disclosure. The
burden of secrecy is lifted, and children who already intuitively know
something is wrong often feel better after they are told of their
diagnosis. Siblings, especially if they are older, are also relieved
when the veil of secrecy is lifted.”

She goes on to say:

"The demands of keeping the family secret are a heavy burden for a
young sibling and may threaten healthy development. As inquisitive
peers begin asking siblings why their brother or sister is sick, it
becomes increasingly difficult not to tell the secret. One 9-year-old
girl describes: 'I want to tell people. Right when I almost say it, I
remember in my head I'm not allowed to.'"

Heidi Haiken, who has worked with more than 400 HIV-infected kids, has
found disclosure to be beneficial to parents and kids alike. "By and
large, the kids do well and are glad they've been told," she said.

Source: What the HIV Experience Teaches Us


In a study about disclosure of extramarital sexual activities when an
addictive disorder is present, honesty and hope for the future is the
positive outcome of disclosure.

 “Honesty, an end to denial & hope for the future were recurrent
themes mentioned by addicts. Partners described the main positive
outcomes to disclosure as clarity & validation & hope for the future.

Among addicts who thought it was important to disclose, the primary
reasons for this belief were that it was essential for one’s own
recovery that the partner deserved & needed to know, that truth was
needed for the couple relationship to be healthy & that it was
important because there were health & safety considerations.”

The majority of individuals in this study were in favor of disclosure.
Even among those who eventually divorced.

“When asked, “Would you recommend disclosure to other couples?” 71% of
the addicts in Group A & 82.7% of the partners said definitely or
probably yes. The responses for Group B were similar despite the
demise of their marriages: 65% of the 20 addicts & 87.5% of the 16
partners said definitely or probably yes.”

Disclosure of Extramarital Sexual Activities by Persons with 
Addictive or Compulsive Sexual Disorders: Results of a Study and
Implications for Therapists by Jennifer P. Schneider, and M. Deborah


The following testimonials illustrate how the feeling of loneliness
disappears after the disclosing of their sexuality.  There is a sense
of liberation which makes them feel happier.

 “I first told a good friend that I'm bisexual. I pretty much knew how
he would react and was confidant that it would be alright. And
thankfully he reacted positively and even supportive.

After telling him I felt relieved, like a huge weight had been lifted
off my shoulders. There was finally someone I could talk to if I
needed to. I didn't feel so lonely anymore concerning my bisexuality.

The next step for me was telling my brother and his wife. We talked
about it for about 45 minutes and when I got back home I lay awake in
bed thinking about it for at least an hour. I was happy... and it felt
(feels) good.”

In the article Coming Out: A Gay Teen Talks about Telling by Sarina

"I was scared," remembers Tom. "I wasn't sure how they would react and
I felt alone, like I was different from everyone else."
"I just felt like I needed to share something this important with my
mom," he says.
Today, Tom is relieved about telling his mother he is gay. He feels
more confident because of his mom's support, and says that opening up
to her has made their relationship even stronger. "We're closer now
and that really helps," he says. "I don't feel like I have to hide my
“Telling them has liberated Tom and given him the help he needs to be
who he is. And besides, he doesn't feel so alone anymore.”
Source: Sex Etc

To Come Out, is to stop hiding, and to break that vicious circle of
self loathing.

“We live in a culture focused on family and friends, on human
interaction. The basis of most everyday communication is about our
lives and our relationships. The closeted individual must either lie
about their lives, or must fall silent and otherwise avoid basic human
communication. (..) The bottom line of Coming Out is to be alive in
the world.”


This testimonial describes the value of disclosing a secret.
“Deciding WHY to tell someone will help you identify the value in
telling them. There should be value for both of you in revealing your
secret. The value with our closest friends and family was to enhance
our relationship with them, and really share what was going on in our
lives. All of our close friends knew something was up, but didn't know
what. Telling them was actually a relief for both of us, as people
always assume the worst


While it was hard to find the courage to speak with all of them, it
was incredibly rewarding to do so. We’ve enhanced our relationship
with them, and the burden of hiding the big secret is gone.”

Source: Kelly’s Forum


Buddhism recognizes the general principle involved in catharsis:

"What is brought out into the open weighs lightly; what is concealed
weighs heavily. Thus, confession could restore an offender's
psychic life to some degree of harmonious equilibrium and help the
offender at least to live upon a basis of veracity.”

Source: Webcasty Website

 “Confession can psychologically relieve someone who has committed a
grave evil like patricide. The story of King Ajatasattu who killed his
father is an example. He could not sleep until he confessed his sin to
the Buddha. Confession did not his sin away but practically relieved
him from psychological burden.”
Source: UKonline Website


In the article “600 Teens Take Part in Weekend of Prayer” by Priscilla
Greear, Father Bob Lombardo speaks about the value of confession as a
way to free you from sin and the guilt that’s associated with it.

The Value of Confession published by the Palmetto Church of Christ:

“Why do we have to acknowledge to God that we have done wrong and why
do we have to acknowledge it to others?
First, sin produces guilt. (..) Confession of your sin helps to
relieve the conscience of guilt pangs.
Modern medical doctors agree that the stress of guilt is detrimental
to anyone's physical and mental well-being.”

Source: The Palmetto Reminder


So why tell anyone that you're gay? 

“Some people have described an enormous sense of relief after telling
someone. They do not feel so isolated, and so burdened by their

Telling someone else can make you feel affirmed and accepted as
yourself. A friend may react with "Oh, I always assumed you were!" or
"Well it doesn't make any difference to the way I feel about you!"

You can be yourself, and not feel you have to hide your sexuality or
make up stories about what you've been doing.

Relationships can be more honest and open, and can be far more
satisfying because of it. You may feel freer, and a great deal
happier. Some people have described a lifting of depression, and a
resurgence of energy and enthusiasm for life.”

Source: Brochure produced by the AIDS Action Council in the Google

After telling the Family that they're Gay, many people experience a
great sense of relief in knowing that they no longer need to keep
their true identity a secret.

Source: David Kelley Lesbian and Gay Community Counseling Program

Search Terms Used:
Disclosure, confession, value, relief, relieved, secrets

I hope this response has provided you with the information you were

Best Regards,

Clarification of Answer by bobbie7-ga on 12 Jan 2003 17:44 PST
I thank you again for the five star rating and generous tip.
Kindest regards,
qpet-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars and gave an additional tip of: $10.00
Another job well done,
Thank you,

There are no comments at this time.

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