Confession in life can manifest itself in many different forms. Most societies hold the confession of things done that are wrong as the basis of a judicial process, usually the issues are unwillingly teased out. Then of course there are varying ways of addressing these in terms of censure.
Within a Christian context, the Scriptures and the teaching and the practices of the historic Church has emphasised the importance of confession within an individual’s sacramental life. 
Confession at its simplest is the exposing of hidden, intimate, secret thoughts, knowledge and actions that have previously been wilfully withheld: the characteristic of these is that they have caused harm or damage.
Popular culture with satire has led to a general attitude to confession as something sinister, controlling, manipulative and abusive. This is a distortion by a world that has lost an historic understanding of the concept.
Confession is an opportunity offered by the Church to unburden one’s soul of the heaviness of secret sin. The act of exposing that one has sinned is a part of the process of making public the ‘secrets of the heart.’ Sin is embarrassing, hurtful, damaging, difficult to confront with human nature wanting us to lock away such unpleasantness deep within, so that it remains concealed and contained. The difficulty with such concealment is that it festers and infects to the point where damage occurs as a spreading virus; subtle in many instances but slowly eating away at one’s soul. As young children we are open in our actions, but soon develop a hidden side to our character, portraying only what we perceive as good. Society only gets what we want it to see.
Exposing one’s deepest feelings, thoughts and actions is a liberating experience, but initially difficult, as we are fighting to overcome natural, deep routed, some say biological obstacles. Confession need not be public in the sense of exposition to an audience, but rather on an individual basis. The role of the Priest has always been a recipient of such intimate and difficult details, offering spiritual council to ensure no reoccurrence and with the authority to offer absolution.
Confession within the Orthodox tradition is still public i.e. usually takes place in full view within the Church, but privately between Priest and penitent.
The simplest way to approach Confession is to work through the 10 Commandments and ask, for each, ‘Have I offended God by breaking this Commandment …………?’