La Coop P.A.- General and Forensic Psychiatry - Boutique-Private Psychiatric and Forensic Practice in Tampa-Clearwater-Florida


August, 2010

It's Back To School!

As you might be able to imagine, the concept of an apology comes up a lot in my practice with patients. This is an important issue because if it's not done right - there are significant interpersonal consequences which include hurt feelings, possible retaliation, severing of the relationship and/or loss of trust.

On the next occasion where you feel an apology is in order, remember that a real apology has a format.

What is a REAL apology?

An apology includes three main components1:

  1. Acknowledgment of the offense or giving a truthful account of the offense so that the victim's experience can be verified.
  2. A willingness to admit wrong doing. To apologize is to say voluntarily that one has no excuse, defense, justification, or explanation for the action. Implicit in this is the agreement to accept the consequences that flow from having committed the wrongful act.
  3. A willingness to state that the act will not be repeated. To make a pledge to abide by the rules from the apology forward. Therefore, it is not acceptable to apologize for bad behavior with the expectation that one will simply apologize again when the act is repeated.

In other words...

If you're gonna do it - do it RIGHT!

Until next month!


Dr. L

1: From: Apology, Justice, and Trauma Recovery by Cheryl Regehr, PhD, and Thomas Gutheil, MD In the J Am Acad Psychiatry Law 30:425-30, 2002

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