Much of my work involves helping individuals and couples with relationship challenges. Every relationship eventually has its challenges. However, when the hurt from past trauma interferes with current relationships, the path forward may be a bit different. Reconciliation between past hurts and present experiences can help. This article, reprinted here with permission, speaks to my own therapeutic approach as well as my general view of what’s needed to help my clients heal and reconcile past and present.

“Reconciliation is the most significant level of life’s maturity.”

~ Paul Gitwaza

True reconciliation happens only when the parties involved take responsibility for changing themselves instead of each other. Even if it took two to tango, making up is an inside job. Our capacity to forgive those who have wronged us mirrors our ability to reconcile different aspects of our identity and history. Reconciling past trauma with present healing transforms us so deeply that acceptance and non-reactivity become possible.

Reconciliation requires us to reach beyond judging the other. If we can see every difficulty as touching some aspect of our soul, we will realize that our problem with someone else’s behavior may reveal a self-doubt we have yet to resolve. Another advantage of choosing to see all that happens as if from God–however we understand God–is that this lets us stop playing God. Whenever we fixate on our judgment of anyone, we’re playing God. Of course, separating from people who hurt us is healthy, but we can learn to open our hearts to them even when we no longer open the door to them.

Our very nature designs us for reconciliation. We integrate constantly fluctuating dualities of happy/unhappy, sure/unsure, healthy/ill. Our genes blend two ancestral lineages, maternal and paternal, into a chain of inherited traits and lived histories that unconsciously inform our lives from before our birth, regardless of the make-up of the family that raises us. Everywhere, we can see the damage done when entire peoples stay in endless conflict. Looking at all these calls to inward and outward reconciliation teaches us the lessons of humility and compromise. Splitting from others based on a false theory of self-preservation rarely results in peace of mind, for we’re still at war with our thoughts and nature.


• Make peace in your heart with those you’ve cut out of your life. Right now, send loving energy and forgiveness to all phantoms of your past, and allow yourself to be forgiven in this act.

• List the positive traits of those you’re estranged from: ex-lovers, former friends, difficult relatives. Today, show appreciation of these very people in thought and word–without inviting them back in your life.

• Is it time to reconcile with someone? Talk it over with three trusted friends whose conciliatory actions you admire. Provided there’s no harm to anyone–especially yourself–make the call to repair what’s broken in your relationship. 

Reprinted with permission from “Mirror of Intimacy: Daily Reflections on Emotional and Erotic Intelligence” by Alexandra Katehakis and Tom Bliss. Copyright 2014 Alexandra Katehakis, Inc. All rights reserved. For more information: (