The Sacrament of Reconciliation is primarily a sacrament of healing. Sin gets in the way of our relationship with God and one another. The Sacrament of Reconciliation gives us the opportunity to express our sorrow for the things we have done wrong, to heal broken relationships, to forgive ourselves and others, and to open up the channels of communication between us and God.
Most of us have things that we would rather others didn't know about us--things we have done or thought that we are ashamed or embarrassed to admit to. Sometimes these hidden secrets can take on much more importance than they deserve, simply because we keep them bottled up and are unable to speak about them. Being able to say something out loud in a place of total confidentiality can be very liberating and healing. Confession is, above all, a place of healing; it is not a place of judgement or punishment. The point isn't to discover how awful we really are, but to discover how much we are loved by God, how precious we are, to discover our full dignity as children of God, loved by him to distraction. Confession is a place of mercy, where we can lay down burdens of guilt and shame. Nothing we have ever done is too much for the mercy and love of God. No matter what we think of ourselves or of God, we can still be certain that God forgives us, loves us, and wants only to heal us.
--Faith for the Future: A New Illustrated Catechism