In case you missed it, you can now watch Dr. Robert Enright’s presentation during yesterday’s (Feb. 4) Greek Forgiveness Education webinar, on YouTube–for free.Details about the webinar can be found in the article posted immediately below this one.
The unique webinar was broadcast live via Zoom video conferencing from Greece. More than 4,500 individuals participated in the webinar or have watched the YouTube video since it was posted.
Dr. Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) was the featured presenter for the webinar. His topic, “The Healing Value of Forgiveness from the Aristotelian Philosophical Perspective,” has special significance in Greece because Greek philosophers like Aristotle not only helped shape the world some twenty centuries ago, but they are still very much alive in the principles underlying what is being taught in the country today.
“I have been relying on Aristotle for 35 years,” Dr. Enright said in his opening remarks during the webinar–the same length of time he has been studying the “moral virtue” (Aristotle’s term) of forgiveness. “The English translation of what Aristotle described as a moral virtue is ‘magnanimity’ or ‘largeness of heart,’” Dr. Enright added–what he calls the very essence of forgiveness.
Following Dr. Enright’s presentation, Dr. Peli Galiti, Director of the IFI’s Greek Forgiveness Education Program spoke on “The Way to Forgiveness: From Theory to Practice.” For the past eight years, Dr. Galiti has been conducting Forgiveness Education training workshops for Greek teachers. During that time, she has trained more than 600 teachers to use the Forgiveness Education Program developed by Dr. Enright which is now being taught to more than 6,000 Greek students.
FORGIVENESS: PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS OF A TIMELESS VIRTUE
Live Internet Event
Thursday, February 4, 2021
7:00 p.m.EET (Eastern European Time) MEETING TIME CONVERSIONS U.S. – EST – Noon U.S. – CST – 11:00 a.m. U.S. – MST – 10:00 a.m. U.S. – PST – 9:00 a.m. GMT – 5:00 p.m.
REGISTRATION REQUIRED NO LATER THAN TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 2021
The program for this one-of-a-kind free webinar includes presentations by:
Robert Enright, Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) – “The healing value of forgiveness from the Aristotelian philosophical perspective.”
Peli Galiti, Researcher in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Director of the IFI’s Greek Forgiveness Education Program – “The Way to Forgiveness: From Theory to Practice.”
Konstantinos Kornarakis, Professor of Christian Ethics – Bioethics in the Department of Theology of the Theological School of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens – “Functional and dysfunctional aspects of forgiveness in texts of the ascetic Christian literature.”
Konstantinos Bikos,Professor of School Pedagogy and New Technologies in the Department of Philosophy and Pedagogy, the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki – “Socio-emotional and moral development of the Greek student: the contribution of education to forgiveness.”
The webinar has been organized by Dr. Peli Galiti, Ph.D., M.Ed., and her associates at the University of Athens(where she was previously a lecturer in the University’s School of Education) and the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (A.U.Th.). For the past eight years, Dr. Galiti has been conducting Forgiveness Education training workshops for Greek teachers and for the past five years that training has been in collaboration with A.U.Th. During those eight years she has trained more than 600 teachers to use the Forgiveness Education Program which is now being taught to more than 6,000 Greek students.
The author of two books, Dr. Galiti has received funding for her work in Greece from the prestigious Stavros Niarchos Foundation, established by Stavros Spyros Niarchos, an Athens native who assembled and operated the largest shipping fleet in the world before his death in 1996. A descriptive video (4 min. 11 sec.) of the Greek Forgiveness Program is available at this YouTube linkor you can visit the Greek Forgiveness Education website.
The International Forgiveness Institute’s widely-acclaimed Forgiveness Education Program was developed by Dr. Enright along with collaborating curriculum experts and experienced teachers. Using children’s story books (many by Dr. Seuss) and Social Emotional Learning (SEL) techniques, the Program teaches students about the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person–inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity. The Program is now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.
Additional Webinar Information: 1) Dr. Enright’s opening presentation will be delivered in English while the other three presentations will be in Greek with no English translation or subtitles;2) The event will take place online on the ZOOM platform for free; 3) Registration must be completed by Tuesday, Feb. 2; and, 4) The link to the meeting will be sent to registered participants by e-mail on the eve of the event; and, 5) More than 700 people have already registered for the webinar.
Have you ever thought to yourself, “Hell will freeze over before I forgive that person for what they did to me.”? Read that statement again. Can you feel the anger, rage, resentment, and revenge in those words? Are you willing to consider giving up the emotions that fuel feelings like those? Are you willing to consider forgiveness in order to trade your bitterness for joy?
Consider the Cost
Anything worthwhile comes with a cost. You and I must decide if forgiveness is worth the effort and risk.
I asked several friends what forgiveness cost them and what their life was like before they found forgiveness. This is what they said:
Estelle said,“The cost to me was releasing my need to control. It was also the uncontrollable desire to be angry, bitter, and hateful. I was always ready to remind the person how they hurt me. I never forgot the betrayal. I delighted in those feelings. I had no plan to give them up. Who would I be if I gave in?”
Connie said, “I lost myself, daily accepting negative reminders and perspectives of who I thought I was. Some days I felt my energy drain from me and my broken spirit cried out. Because I felt narratives were true, I gave into their description of who I was. If I gave them up, who would I be?”
Randy shared, “I felt the injustice and unfairness of the pain. I was anchored to the past. Holding on to it gave me a sense of security against the pain. The poison of bitterness and anger ran through my veins. I was on edge every day.”
Pain is the emotional risk with forgiveness. It causes us to question ourselves. Who will you be if you give up bitterness and pain? Will you be accepted, or rejected and abandoned? Will you be welcomed and loved? These are questions that every human yearns to know.
Forgiveness is frightening because you expose the hidden parts of yourself. You move from the known to the unfamiliar aspects of your heart. It is risky and often hard! But it works!
The Forgiveness Journey
Forgiveness is not forgetting the wrong done to you—you don’t seek an apology; you don’t have to reconcile. Forgiveness is not seeking revenge or justice. It is not living in the past.
Forgiveness is a deliberate decision to live without resentment and anger. It offers the one who hurt you what they don’t deserve. Forgiveness brings peace and joy.
It is a continuous journey to maintain peace and joy. It’s hard. You will experience disappointment and discouragement. Processing these feelings, caring for yourself, and growing in wisdom is essential. It doesn’t mean you will always be happy. Instead, happiness is a by-product of the journey.
I’ve learned that you should not go on the forgiveness journey alone. As a Christian, I receive God’s grace through His Son, Jesus Christ. God is close to me when I am in pain. He cries for me when I can’t cry for myself. You might find that going it alone is not the best way for you. You can invite God into your journey, too.
A Higher Power
While I refer to God, you may refer to a Higher Power. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and other Twelve-Step Programs use this term to refer to a supreme being, deity, or a different perception of God. They have found it therapeutic to aid a power higher than yourself. Step Two of the Twelve Step Program is: “Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.”
Most people find they need someone who can come alongside and be there for them. You want someone who will listen to your pain. Someone who will cry with you and for you. Someone who can love and protect you. You want a love that feels safe. Someone you can go to no matter what.
A child in pain goes to their parent, hoping they will comfort them. We also want to know God, our Creator will do the same for us.
Freedom Is Worth It
Forgiving for the first time was difficult for me. It might be for you, too. But forgiveness propels us towards new choices and a hunger for life.
I traded unforgiveness for joy. While it seems risky, it is a risk you can manage. Freedom and peace are the results when you do the work. I don’t know if freedom or peace are vital to you, but I know you won’t encounter them until you forgive. Gather your courage. Start your forgiveness journey today! It is worth the risk to obtain joy!
Editor’s Note: This article was written exclusively for the International Forgiveness Institute by Darlene J. Harris–a sought-after speaker, author, and the developer/leader of workshops and retreats for women, primarily on the topics of sexual abuse and molestation.
An abuse survivor, Darlene was raped twice before she reached the age of 18. Read her amazing story in her own words at My Forgiveness Story.Through her faith, an enlightening counselor, and forgiveness, Darlene turned her world around and reached out to help others. The mantra that drives her is: “I don’t want anyone to hurt like I did.”
To learn more about those emotional topics, visit the website Darlene created and manages:And He Restoreth My Soul Project.Her anthology bookAnd He Restoreth My Soul,is designed to equip professional counselors, religious leaders, and concerned individuals with the tools to help and protect the abused.
Markle is a multi-talented and versatile professional who says his two major aspirations in life are helping individuals with developmental disabilities and educating people about the benefits of forgiveness. The podcasts are part of the hospital’s Stoughton Health Talk series hosted by Melanie Cole. The ever-expanding program lineup featuring Markle includes:
Forgiving Yourself( 10 min. 42 sec.) – “You’d be surprised at the number of people who come to my course on forgiveness and realize that the person that they have the most resentment against is themselves.” Markle says. “This is something so many people are struggling with.”
Swimming in Unforgiveness (17 min. 58 sec.) – Markle discusses resentment, anger, and forgiveness, and how the world encourages us to deal with it as opposed to how we should deal with it.
Preparing to Forgive (9 min. 20 sec.) – “One of the core parts of forgiving is that there has been a hurt, somebody has violated our concept of right or wrong. They have hurt us. There is an actual injury that has been done” according to Markle. “One of the steps in forgiving is admitting that and acknowledging it. And then, looking at how has that hurt changed my life?”
Doing the Work of Forgiveness (10 min. 54 sec.) – “How do you actually go about forgiving someone?” Markle asks. “Using Dr. Enright’s forgiveness model, we talk about the path you can take and actions you make to really forgive.”
The Art of Forgiveness(11 min. 15 sec.) Research has shown that by forgiving someone who has deeply hurt you, you gain positive health benefits by letting go of resentment and the urge to seek revenge. In this podcast, Markle describes how forgiveness creates a higher quality of life, a healthier body, and a more positive attitude.
The Stoughton Health Talk Podcast series reflects the growing popularity of podcasts. According to Edison Research and Triton Digital, more than 104 million Americans listen to podcasts on at least a monthly basis. Stoughton Health is one of more than 100 leading hospitals and health systems using the DoctorPodcastingproduction system. The facility is located about 20 miles east of Madison, WI.
For the past 11 years, Markle has been an Outreach Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Waisman Center. His current roles there include: 1) Director of the Southern Regional Center for Children and Youth with Special Health Care Needs; 2) Family Discipline Coordinator for the WIsconsin Maternal and Child Health Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities–the WI LEND Program; and, 3) Senior Outreach Specialist with the Youth Health Transition Initiative and Genetic Systems Integration Hub.
In those various capacities, Markle works to improve the lives of children and adults with developmental disabilities and neurodegenerative diseases, some of life’s most challenging conditions. He also develops curriculum for a variety of audiences, provides training for both children and adults, and is a prolific speaker.
Markle has a Masters in Counseling (MC) from John Carroll University (a Jesuit Catholic University in Cleveland, OH) and a Master of Arts in Christian Studies (MACS) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School north of Chicago. He also studied at Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH), where he earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Philosophy.
As the capstone project for his MACS degree, Markle developed a six-week course that focused on how to forgive and why forgiveness is indispensable for dealing with anger, depression, anxiety and trauma. The course is based on the ground-breaking work of Dr. Robert Enright, co-founder of the IFI. Stoughton Health, along with two local churches, has thus far hosted five sessions of the course. Markle is also the founder of a forgiveness education organization called Forgiveness Factor.
While “perseverance” and “grit” may be apt descriptors for what turned out to be perhaps the most peculiar year in modern history, forgiveness researcher Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, has a different take on 2020:“Without question, it turned out to be our most productive year since I began studying forgiveness three decades ago.”
Scientific Research Studies:
To illustrate his point, the man Time magazine called “the forgiveness trailblazer,” rattled off the 11 scientifically-based manuscripts he and various team members completed and had published or accepted for publication during the year. Covering a wide range of cultural diversity, and encompassing studies in seven countries with both adult and child participants, those studies included (click title to read more):
In addition to his first love (scientific research on forgiveness, as evidenced by the list above), Dr. Enright developed and delivered targeted forgiveness presentations in the U.S. and around the world during 2020. His more noteworthy audiences included:
Staff and imprisoned people at Her Majesty’s Prison – Edinburgh, Scotland.
Doctors and medical specialists attending an online conference on polyclonal immunoglobulins in patients with multiple myeloma – Bratislava, Slovakia.
Pediatricians, oncologists, and cancer treatment specialists attending the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Educational Conference – Madison, Wisconsin.
Faculty and research associates at the Pan-European University – Bratislava, Slovakia.
School administrators and teachers – Belfast, Northern Ireland.
Students and faculty of Liberty University – Lynchburg, Virginia.
Rotary Club members – Richmond, California.
Media Interviews, Podcasts, Video Productions:
As a highly-sought-after media personality, Dr. Enright’s 2020 media interviews included:
A multi-segment forgiveness video produced for Revolution Ventures, Bangalore, India.
A “therapeutic music-discussion video” with song-writer/performer Sam Ness that was produced for those struggling with anguish caused by COVID-19. The therapeutic video, called “How to Beat the Coronavirus Lockdown Blues,” was distributed worldwide through venues including YouTube.
A video interview at the International School of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel.
Interview for DER SPIEGEL/Spiegel online, a German weekly news magazine that has the largest circulation of any such publication in Europe.
Interview with author Aaron Hutchins for Maclean’s—a current affairs magazine with 2.4 million readers based in Toronto, Canada.
Together with Jacqueline Song, IFI researcher and creator of the IFI’s Driver Safety Campaign, distributed more than 5,000 “Drive for Others’ Lives” bumper stickers requested by website visitors and funded by a grant from the Green Bay Packers Foundation.
During his 30 years of studying the moral virtue of forgiveness, Dr. Robert Enright has become convinced that forgiveness is the missing piece to the peace puzzle. While recording major milestones in pursuit of that peace premise throughout his career, Dr. Enright is now complementing those extensive efforts by pursuing “peace education” initiatives designed to inform, inspire, and engage educators who are working to enhance peace efforts around the world.
Peace education hopes to create in the human consciousness a commitment to the ways of peace. Just as a doctor learns in medical school how to minister to the sick, students in peace education classes learn how to solve problems caused by violence. Peace educators use teaching skills to stop violence by developing a peace consciousness that can provide the basis for a just and sustainable future.
As “the forgiveness trailblazer” (TIME magazine), Dr. Enright’s most recent peace education efforts include these three just-published studies:
“Peace education may be more complete if both justice and mercy are part of the disciplinary process of schools. Justice by itself, as a traditional method of discipline in schools, will not necessarily address the resentments that can build up in both those offended and those offending. Mercy offers a second chance and the recognition and acknowledgment that many carry emotional pain which must be addressed for thriving in the school setting.”
Authors: Lai Y. Wong, Linghua Jiang, Jichan J. Kim, Baoyu Zhang, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.
“The idea of ‘justice first’ between communities in conflict may be insufficient and therefore is depriving people within communities of emotional healing through the exercise of forgiving. The concern here is with the build-up of resentment or unhealthy anger as justice is not realized, especially over a long period of time. Yet, this resentment, and the psychologically-negative effects of this resentment, can be substantially reduced through the practice of forgiving, which has empirically-verified evidence for reducing such anger and significantly improving mental health. Learning to forgive and to put forgiveness into practice can start, not across communities, but instead within one’s own family and community for emotional healing.”
Published in the August 24, 2020 issue of Journal of Educational Psychology, this study (along with other similar studies) demonstrates that forgiveness education can be an important means of reducing anger and ethnic prejudice in Eastern and Western cultures.
“This research investigated the effectiveness of a forgiveness education program on reducing anger and ethnic prejudice and improving forgiveness in Iranian adolescents. Participants included 224 male and female students (Persian, Azeri, and Kurdish) in 8th grade who were selected from 3 provinces: Tehran, Eastern Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan. The results indicated that the experimental group was higher in forgiveness and lower in ethnic prejudice, state anger, trait anger, and anger expression compared with the control group. This difference was statistically significant in the follow-up phase.”
Authors: Bagher Ghobari Bonab, Mohamad Khodayarifard, Ramin Hashemi Geshnigani, Behnaz Khoei, Fatimah Nosrati, Mary Jacqueline Song, Robert D. Enright.
NOTE: Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology® is a publication of the American Psychological Association (APA) Division 48–Society for the Study of Peace, Conflict, and Violence: Peace Psychology Division.
Fred McFeely Rogers, also known as Mister Rogers, was an American icon to generations of children–television host, producer, children’s television presenter, actor, puppeteer, singer, composer, author, educator, environmentalist, and Presbyterian minister. Most famously, he was the creator and host of the preschool television series Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, which aired nationally for more than 30 years (1968 – 2001) on public television.
The series was aimed primarily at preschool children ages 2 to 5 but was loved by television viewers of all ages because of the messages of love and wisdom liberally administered by its host. Fred Rogersbelieved and conveyed his conviction that every child has importance, every child has potential, and every child is deserving of love.
Without question, Fred Rogers (almost always clad in the signature zip-front red cardigan sweater knitted for him by his mother) was a champion of forgiveness.Here is some of what he said and believed:
“Forgive while you can. Forgiveness is so powerful but do it while you can because life is extremely short to just stay angry at someone.” —– “Like all of life’s important coping skills, the ability to forgive and the capacity to let go of resentments most likely take root very early in our lives.” —– “The only thing evil can’t stand is forgiveness.” —– “Forgiveness is mandatory; reconciliation is optional.”
Fred Rogers (March 20, 1928 – February 27, 2003) pioneered the use of television to nurture and educate young children. His 30-year-long collaboration with child psychologist Margaret McFarland reinforced the strong universal values he delivered to untold millions of children who now make up much of the American public. His programs were critically acclaimed for focusing on children’s emotional and physical concerns, such as death, sibling rivalry, school enrollment, divorce, and compassion.
The values he integrated into all his activities included all of the five moral qualities most important to forgiving another person– inherent worth, moral love, kindness, respect and generosity.
“Love seems to be something that keeps filling up within us. The more we give away, the more we have to give.” —– “There’s no person in the whole world just like you, and I like you just the way you are.” —– “You are special. It’s you I like.” —– “Everyone longs to be loved. And the greatest thing we can do is to let people know that they are loved and capable of loving.”
A shy, somewhat awkward, overweight, and sometimes bullied child growing up in the 1930s, Fred Rogers wasn’t comfortable at all with anger. Although he shied away from conflict, he also knew anger’s enormous power for good. Because of that, he wanted to help children to feel anger, to be willing to name it, to do something with it. Anger, he knew, when used well, can build entire neighborhoods of care. Interestingly, that’s the same sentiment that Dr. Robert Enright, forgiveness researcher and founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, incorporates into his Forgiveness Therapy interventions.
Fred Rogers graduated magna cum laude from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 1962 with a Bachelor of Divinity and was ordained a minister of the United Presbyterian Church in 1963. He often commented that his mission as an ordained minister, instead of being the pastor of a church, was to minister to children and their families through television. In carrying out that ministry, he left a legacy of love that reached millions of children and adults alike.
“As human beings, our job in life is to help people realize how rare and valuable each one of us really is, that each of us has something that no one else has—or ever will have—something inside that is unique to all time.” Fred Rogers
Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood emphasized young children’s social and emotional needs, and unlike another very popular public television program, Sesame Street,did not focus on cognitive learning. Writer Kathy Merlock Jackson, author of two books about Fred Rogers, wrote, “While both shows target the same preschool audience and prepare children for kindergarten, Sesame Street concentrates on school-readiness skills while Mister Rogers Neighborhood focuses on the child’s developing psyche and feelings and sense of moral and ethical reasoning.”
Mister Rogers died of stomach cancer in 2003 at age 74 leaving behind his wife of 50-years, Joanne, and two sons, James and John. For his body of work, he received virtually every major award in television and education including a Lifetime Achievement Emmy in 1997 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom—the nation’s highest civilian award in 2002. He was inducted into the Television Hall of Famein 1999. The Smithsonian Institute has a permanent Fred Rogers exhibit that includes one of the red cardigan sweaters he wore on his TV show.
An amazingly productive educator and entertainer, Fred Rogers also:
Fred Rogers was known for his creativity, kindness, spirituality, and commitment to the well-being of children. He used his many diverse talents to inspire, nurture, and educate. As TIME magazine lamented, “It’s sad that we no longer have Rogers, who died in 2003—but how lucky we were to have him at all.”
Visit the The Neighborhood Archive,the most comprehensive website on everything Mr. Rogers including more than 18,000 memorabilia items like trading cards, hats, buttons and pins, mugs, posters, shirts, socks, stickers, toys and games, and more.
A team of researchers led by Dr. Robert Enright has taken forgiveness from its traditional focus on individuals to a higher magnitude by concentrating on group forgiveness—an area of intervention that has dramatic implications for its ability to enhance peace efforts in the world.
Dr. Enright’s team, composed of 16 experienced researchers who collected data from 595 study participants in three different geographic and cultural settings of the world, developed and confirmed the veracity of a totally new measure of intergroup forgiveness—The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory (EGFI). Additionally, the team created and piloted a unique group administration process that operationalized the EGFI in a structured way.
“Our concept of intergroup forgiveness for this study was rooted in what groups, as opposed to the individuals who compose them, have the capacity to do,” says Dr. Enright, a professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute.“The study supported the conclusion that this new measure had strong internal consistency, as well as convergent and discriminant validity.”
To realistically test the measure, the team selected groups of people within countries that have historical conflicts that remain salient today. One group of participants was recruited from Asia with subsamples from Mainland China and from Taiwan. Another group of participants was recruited from Slovenia that contained subsamples from two different political parties with a history of violence toward each other. A third group of participants was recruited from the United States with subsamples that included a group of White Caucasian participants and a group of African American participants.
The new Inventory has 56 items across seven subscales and each subscale has eight items. Those subscales measure a group’s motivation and values regarding forgiveness, peace, and friendliness toward the other group. Similar to the Enright Forgiveness Inventory (EFI)—developed in 1995 and now the worldwide measurement tool of choice for assessing one person’s forgiveness of another—the EGFI has five questions at the end of the scale that are intended to assess pseudo-group-forgiveness or false forgiveness.
For this study, the inventory was translated into Mandarin Chinese and Slovene by native speakers of each language. The Inventory was then administered and assessed with individual participants as well as with the designated groups of participants. That strategy allowed the project team to compare a group-based assessment of forgiveness with traditional self-report assessment of forgiveness.
That assessment was a crucial element of this latest study because the bulk of past research has simply extended measures of forgiveness between individuals to groups. In fact, Dr. Enright et al. produced a study in January 2015 (Journal of Peace Psychology) entitled “Examining Group Forgiveness: Conceptual and Empirical Issues” that was one of the first to propose: 1) a benchmark definition of group forgiveness; and, 2) specific concepts for developing a group forgiveness measuring tool.
Incorporating that earlier work, the newly-developed EGFI scale of intergroup forgiveness is based on a definition of forgiveness between groups and is operationalized using group behaviors rather than individual cognition and emotion.
“Our findings suggest the EGFI is a reliable and valid measure of intergroup forgiveness,” the study group concludes in its final report. “This new measure can facilitate the work of peace advocates and researchers.” The study also indicates the Inventory could be used to:
Assess where and when to intervene with conflicting groups;
Evaluate the effectiveness of conflict resolution efforts;
Assess where groups have been unjust to one another and, therefore, where they could benefit from conflict reduction efforts;
Assess group forgiveness interventions;
Evaluate progress when groups go through interventions such as peace and reconciliation commissions;
Assess change in forgiveness from pre to post intervention; and,
Advance our understanding of effective interventions.
Meet the Group Forgiveness Study Team:
Robert D. Enright, University of Wisconsin-Madison and International Forgiveness Institute
Julie Johnson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Matthew Hirshberg, University of Wisconsin-Madison
John Klatt, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Benjamin Boateng, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Preston Boggs, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Chelsea Olson, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Peiying Wu, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Baoyu Zhang, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Fu Na, Beijing Normal University – Beijing, China
Mei Ling Shu, Beijing Normal University – Beijing China
Tomaz Erzar, University of Ljubljana – Ljubljana, Slovenia
Tina Huang, National Chung-Cheng University – Taiwan (officially the Republic of China)
Tung-En Hsiao, National Chung-Cheng University – Taiwan
Chansoon (Danielle) Lee, National Council of State Boards of Nursing – Chicago, IL
Jacqueline Song, International Forgiveness Institute, Madison, WI (native of the Philippines)
A recently-published compilation of forgiveness research being called “the authoritative resource on the field of forgiveness” includes an appraisal of Dr. Robert Enright’s Process Model of Forgiveness—the four-phase procedure now being used and recommended worldwide as “the pathway to forgiveness.”
The Handbook of Forgiveness, Second Edition, consolidates research from a wide range of disciplines and offers an in-depth review of the science of forgiveness. The 394-page book includes 28 pages of references to forgiveness research evaluations and a 16-page index listing virtually every imaginable topic on the subject. It is edited by well-known forgiveness researchers Everett L. Worthington, Jr. (Virginia Commonwealth University), and Nathaniel G. Wade (Iowa State University).
Chapter 25 of the 32-chapter anthology is entitled “A Review of the Empirical Research Using Enright’s Process Model of Interpersonal Forgiveness.”It is authored by Dr. Suzanne Freedman (University of Northern Iowa) and Dr. Enright who have a long history of collaborative forgiveness exploration. The review chapter describes the Process Model, provides a summary of the empirical (verifiable) findings, and details the latest application of the model: forgiveness education with children and adolescents.
The Process Model of Forgiveness was first outlined by Dr. Enright and the Human Development Study Group in 1991. It was first empirically tested in 1993 by Dr. Enright and fellow-researcher Msgr. John Hebl. Through randomized experimental and control group clinical trials, the Process Model has shown to improve emotional well-being in multiple settings across diverse cultures around the globe.
“For information ranging from the biological roots to the psychological fruits of forgiveness,this is, hands down, the single-stop, go-to source.” David Myers, Hope College (Holland, Michigan) Co-author, Psychology (12th Edition) and Social Psychology (13th Edition)
The Handbook of Forgiveness also includes a chapter written by John Klatt (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and two researchers from the Federal University of Paraíba (in the city of João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brazil)–Eloá Losano de Abreu and Julio Rique. That chapter is an 11-page review of forgiveness philosophies, concepts and practices in South America and Latin America. Dr. Enright has co-authored numerous multi-national forgiveness research projects with both Klatt and Rique.
2020 brought plenty to be angry about. There’s been a global pandemic, a national reckoning with racial injustice, an economic crisis and a presidential election – all of it debated each day on social media. But University of Northern Iowa (UNI) education professor Suzanne Freedman, who has specialized in forgiveness research over nearly three decades, says now may be a good time to remember the benefits of forgiveness, empathy and understanding.
EDITOR’S NOTE:Offsetting his dreary assessment of this unusual year with a final note of optimism, writer Steve Schmadeke used the paragraph above to set the stage for an informative article about the benefits of forgiveness that was printed last week in the online periodical INSIDE UNI. The article featured the forgiveness philosophy of Dr. Suzanne Freedman, a UNI professor of human development who is also a former graduate student and long-time research associate of Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute. Here are some of Dr. Freedman’s pronouncements as quoted in the UNI article:
What are the benefits of forgiveness?
I am often asked, “Why should I forgive?” and my response is always the same: “What’s the alternative?” Although forgiveness cannot undo the injury or damage, it allows us to move forward in our lives free from the negative effects of anger, hatred and resentment. It offers us a way to heal while still acknowledging that what happened to us was wrong, unfair and extremely hurtful.
Research has found that benefits of forgiveness for children, adolescents and adults include greater psychological and physical well-being, including decreases in anger, anxiety and depression. It also shows increases in hope, self-esteem, feelings of peace, improved relationships and academic achievement for students in school, as well as decreases in blood pressure, headaches and stress.
How does forgiveness deal with anger?
We have a right to feel resentment and anger. Many people criticize forgiveness because they mistakenly believe that anger is not part of the process. In fact, the opposite is true. We need to express our anger before we can forgive. Forgiveness involves admitting that one has been hurt, working through the feelings related to that hurt and then moving beyond them. The other important point is that the offender does not deserve our compassion because of their hurtful actions. However, we give it nevertheless.
Is self-forgiveness a real thing?
Self-forgiveness is a real thing. We have a model of self-forgiveness that is similar to our model of forgiving another. Self-forgiveness occurs when we have to forgive oneself for committing a deep, personal and unfair hurt. However, like in forgiving others, it occurs in the context of deep, personal and unfair hurt.
This can be hurt you have suffered due to your own actions. People who find self-forgiveness may be less likely to engage in self-destructive behavior or even hurt others.
Our society needs to do a better job of helping people realize that they can move on from their worst pains or actions. When individuals view themselves from the lens of only their hurtful behavior, they are not recognizing the fact that all human beings have inherent worth. Forgiving yourself will make it easier for individuals to become more forgiving of others, too.
ABOUT DR. SUZANNE FREEDMAN: A professor of human development at the University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Freedman earned both her Masters Degree and Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where she studied under and conducted research with Dr. Robert Enright. Her dissertation was a landmark study that was published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology:Forgiveness as an Intervention Goal with Incest Survivors.
At the University of Northern Iowa, Dr. Freedman teaches a variety of development courses including Studies in Forgiveness–an online, continuing education course designed primarily for upper-class psychology, counseling, and clinical students preparing to work with clients as helping professionals.