“Forgiveness therapy should be part of palliative care and it can work more powerfully than a pill,” Dr. Robert Enright told attendees at the Fifth Annual Healthy Aging Conference held in Madison on Sept. 9.
Dr. Enright, who pioneered the social scientific study of forgiveness beginning more than 30 years ago, has found that forgiveness increases happiness and a sense of well-being and may produce physical benefits by diminishing tensions, anger, resentment, and hurt.
“Forgiveness is surgery for a broken heart. You have the opportunity to do surgery and rehabilitation of the heart,” according to Dr. Enright. “Forgiveness offers understanding, patience, kindness, and even love to another person.”
Dr. Enright emphasized to Conference attendees that forgiveness is especially important for people to practice as they age. He said that is not only important for the health of an aging person but that older
persons also help establish their family as a “forgiving community” and teach their children and grandchildren about forgiveness.
The Forgiveness Program developed and espoused by Dr. Enright is outlined on the website of the organization he co-founded, the International Forgiveness Institute. It is detailed in several of the books he has written including:
Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – This is a self-help book for people who have been deeply hurt by another and are caught in a vortex of anger, depression, and resentment.
The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love – This book describes a process, followed with success by people around the world, to confront the pain; rise above it to forgive; and in so doing, loosen the grip of the depression, anger, and resentment.
8 Keys to Forgiveness – Dr. Enright’s newest book, just released this month, is a hands-on guide that walks readers through the forgiveness process in just 8 key steps.
Forgiveness Therapy: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope – Recently published by the American Psychological Association (APA), this manual is for Licensed Psychiatrists and Psychologists as well as other professional counselors.
The 5th Annual Healthy Aging Conference was hosted by Catholic Charities of Madison, WI – a private 501(c)(3) non-profit agency affiliated with Catholic Charities USA, the nation’s largest private network of people helping people.
Read more in the official newspaper of the Diocese of Madison, The Catholic Herald: “Catholic Charities conference focuses on healthy aging.”