From Reader’s Digest: 12 Proven Steps to Truly Forgive Anyone for Anything

Juliana LaBianca is a prolific Reader’s Digest writer who conducted an extensive interview with Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, for an article in the current online issue: “12 Proven Steps to Truly Forgive Anyone for Anything.” 

Robert Enright, PhD, is a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness,” LaBianca outlines in the prelude to her article.  “Here, he breaks down his four-phase model that has helped countless patients overcome anxiety, depression, and resentment, by allowing them to truly forgive.”

While forgiving will indeed require some effort, you don’t need a mental health professional to lead you down the path of forgiveness, according to the article. It’s something you can achieve on your own, as long as you know which steps to take.

Here are the 12 forgiveness process steps LaBianca explains in her article:

  1. Know that forgiveness is available to everyone
  2. Decide you want to choose forgiveness
  3. Make a list
  4. Uncover your anger
  5. Commit to forgiveness
  6. Consider the other person’s wounds
  7. Consider other person’s humanity
  8. Feel a softening
  9. Bear the pain
  10. Give the person a gift
  11. Begin the discovery phase
  12. Repeat, repeat, repeat

“When we’ve been treated deeply unfairly by others, we should have the tools to deal with that so the effects of that injustice don’t take hold in an unhealthy way,” says Dr. Enright. Following the forgiveness process steps will provide you with those tools.

Next Forgiveness Conference Venue: Rome, Italy

Following on the heels of a remarkably successful forgiveness conference in Jerusalem, the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI) is now preparing for its next international conference–this one on January 18, 2018 in Rome, Italy.

The magnificent Piazza Navona, one of the most famous of Rome’s many squares. Bernini’s Fontana dei Quattro Fiumi (in foreground of photo) features exquisitely carved figures representing the world’s four great rivers – the Nile, Ganges, Danube and Rio de la Plata.

The Rome Conference on Forgiveness is a one-day forum that starts at 2:30 pm and concludes at 7:00 pm at the University of Santa Croce (Pontificia Università della Santa Croce), adjacent to the famous Piazza Navona.

“This first-of-its-kind conference in Rome will explore what it means to forgive another person who has been unjust to you,” according to Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the IFI, who is organizing this conference just as he did the one in Jerusalem. “Important ideas on how to help children and adolescents learn to forgive will be presented by international experts in the field of forgiveness education.”

Dr. Enright added that the theme of forgiving within the Abrahamic traditions will be another important topic with a focus on helping youth within those traditions learn to forgive. Dr. Enright has developed Forgiveness Education Curriculum Guides for students in pre-school through 12th Grade. Those Guides are now being used in more than 30 countries around the world.

Distinguished speakers at The Rome Conference on Forgiveness and their topics include:

The Colosseum has long been one of Rome’s major tourist attractions, receiving close to seven million visitors annually.

Dr. Robert Enright, the acknowledged pioneer in the social scientific study of forgiveness, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, and Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of  Wisconsin, USA, will discuss the science of forgiveness education.

Annette Shannon of Holy Cross Girls Primary School in Belfast, Northern Ireland will focus on the direct application of forgiveness education in her school.

Dr. Barbara Marchica, Catholic theologian, pastoral counselor, and teacher in Milan, Italy will examine forgiveness and forgiveness education in a Christian context.

Peta Pellach of the Elijah Interfaith Institute in Jerusalem will give a talk on forgiveness and forgiveness education in an Orthodox Jewish context.

Omar Al-Barazanch, the new Iraqi ambassador to the Vatican, will discuss the theme of forgiving from the Islamic perspective.

Alison Sutherland of the Rotary Action Group for Peace will explore worldwide issues of forgiveness particularly for youth in war-torn areas.

Grammenos Mastrojenni of the Italian Foreign Affairs Ministry and the Honorable Paola Binetti of the Italian Parliament will give talks on how forgiveness can be part of dialogue and political discourse.

Mons Mariano Fazio, Vicar General of Opus Dei, will discuss the teachings on charity and forgiveness of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.

For more information, please contact Jacqueline Song
(internationalforgiveness@gmail.com)

Learn to Forgive? Who, Me? Why? How?

You can now access the answers to all those questions from the comfort of your own home.

Dr. Robert Enright, dubbed “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time magazine, has helped thousands of people improve their lives by discovering and learning how to practice forgiveness through his one-day in-person workshops. Now that same remarkable forgiveness process, presented by Dr. Enright himself, is available to you via recorded audio right in your own home.

Forgiveness: A Pathway to Emotional Healing

Based on his 33-years of peer-reviewed, empirical scientific research, Dr. Robert Enright will help you discover and learn a step-by-step pathway to forgiveness.  This 6-hour audiotaped workshop will enable you to develop confidence in your forgiveness skills and learn how you can bring forgiveness to your family, school, work place and community for better emotional health.

“Forgiveness is a process, freely chosen, in which you willingly reduce resentment through some hard work and Joyoffer goodness of some kind toward the one who hurt you,” according to Dr. Enright. “This gives you a chance to live a life of love, compassion and joy.”

Dr. Enright explains during this workshop how you can learn and use that process to help yourself and others. He explains, for example that:

• Forgiveness is NOT reconciliation, forgetting, excusing or condoning.

Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute

• Forgiveness does not get rid of the injustice but the effects of the injustice.

• Forgiveness cuts across many different philosophies and religions.

• The benefits of forgiveness are significant: scientific analyses demonstrates that considerable emotional, relational, and even physical health benefits result from forgiving.

This course is offered by the University of Wisconsin-Madison Continuing Studies which is approved as a provider of Continuing Education credits  social workers, counselors, therapists, psychologists, and more. Registration fee is $95. Start anytime, complete within 1 year.

REGISTER ONLINE or register by phone at 608-262-2451. For additional information, contact Barbara Nehls-Lowe, UW-Madison Continuing Studies Outreach Specialist: 608-890-4653.

Watch the Jerusalem Conference Tapes

The Jerusalem Conference on Forgiveness for the Renewal of Individuals, Families, and Communities–the first forgiveness conference ever held in the Middle East–was organized and produced by the International Forgiveness Institute and held on July 12 and 13, 2017. Now you can view the videotapes of all 22 sessions at no cost to you.

Day 1 of this 2-day conference included speakers from Judaism, Christianity, and Islam discussing what it means to forgive, the importance of forgiveness, and how to better interact with others through forgiveness.

Day 2 focused on how to bring forgiveness to children and adolescents in school and at home. The program included presentations by educators who are implementing forgiveness education, personal testimonies, and opportunities for everyone to contribute their ideas.

Now you can view every presentation of the entire conference whenever you wish. TelePace, an Italy-based telecommunication service, professionally video-recorded all 22 sessions. They are available to you at no charge here.

Conference speakers included:

A Quarter-Century of Forgiveness Research. . .

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Milwaukee, WI – Upon Dr. Robert Enright’s recent return from Israel where he organized and conducted the first-ever, two-day Jerusalem Conference on Forgiveness, he was interviewed by reporter McKenna Oxenden for a lengthy article that appeared in Sunday’s Journal Sentinel. Here’s a snippet from the article:

Researching, analyzing and coaching forgiveness was considered radical; the idea was met with resistance, even anger. But Enright forged ahead, and is now considered a pioneer in the scientific study of forgiveness, which claims thousands of researchers worldwide.

Enright’s work is in the spotlight more than ever because he focuses on issues that seem to have taken center stage in our culture: bullying and gender-based violence; poverty and trauma, particularly among children; entire groups that feel marginalized or mistreated.

He’s trying to turn around the perception that forgiveness is somehow equated with weakness, and get people to see it as a virtue — an active virtue — like compassion or patience. He’s also trying to show that in the long run, it’s a better answer than: I will never forgive; I will fight and overpower.

Read the entire article: Is there a better response to injustice? Pioneering UW professor teaches forgiveness

“The Forgiveness Trailblazer” Kicks off Theology Retreat Series on August 19

Robert Enright, Ph.D. Dubbed “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time Magazine, will lead an inspiring retreat next month titled “Forgiveness and the Journey of Healing.”
Dr. Robert Enright

Seton Hall University, South Orange, NJ; July 19, 2017, by Christine Aromando – How can forgiveness lead us to healing and transformation? Why is it important to forgive, even when we find it impossible? Some would say there is no one more qualified to speak on this topic than Robert Enright, Ph.D. Dubbed “the forgiveness trailblazer” by Time Magazine, Enright will lead an inspiring retreat next month titled “Forgiveness and the Journey of Healing.” The event will take place on Saturday, August 19, from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Paul Inside the Walls Catholic Evangelization Center in Madison, New Jersey. The registration fee is $15, which includes a continental breakfast. Pre-registration is required; to register, please contact Theresa Miller at (973) 761-9575 or theresa.miller@shu.edu.
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Enright’s retreat will explore the psychology of forgiveness and the journey that one is called to take in order to achieve healing and transformation. He teaches that giving the gift of forgiveness allows healing to become possible for everyone involved, emphasizing that it is important to forgive even if we feel the person who has offended us is not worthy of that forgiveness. He also teaches that peace results from forgiving others, and this peace is necessary for our true healing and transformation.
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This retreat is the first of seven that will be held monthly through February as part of a series titled “70×7: Faith, Family and Forgiveness, Part IV,” sponsored by Immaculate Conception Seminary School of Theology. Since the School concluded its last series on forgiveness in December 2016, having offered nearly 30 presentations on the topic over the past few years, the School continues to receive requests for similar presentations. “There is such a hunger for forgiveness, a deep desire for reconciliation and healing,” says Associate Dean Dianne Traflet, J.D., S.T.D. “We thus are highly motivated to continue this work and offer a new series that will help those who are wounded and struggling with forgiveness to journey even deeper into the mystery and power of God’s mercy.”

Robert Enright is the cofounder of the International Forgiveness Institute and an educational psychologist at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. The pioneer of the scientific study of forgiveness, he is the author or editor of seven books and over 100 publications centered on social development and the psychology of forgiveness. His most recent book is 8 Keys to Forgiveness.

Founded in 1861, Immaculate Conception Seminary is a House of Formation for the Roman Catholic priesthood and the School of Theology of Seton Hall University. As a House of Formation, the Seminary offers men preparing for the priesthood the personal, academic, ministerial and spiritual formation essential for their conversion to Jesus Christ and for their commitment to a life of service to the Church.

As a School of Theology, the Seminary provides a theological and philosophical foundation for men and women pursuing undergraduate studies, a theological foundation and a pastoral and spiritual formation for men and women preparing for ministries among the people of God, a theological foundation for men and women desiring to pursue doctoral studies, and varied opportunities for continuing theological education.

Read More: “The Forgiveness Trailblazer” Kicks off Theology Retreat Series in August

The Therapeutic Power of Forgiveness

This article first appeared on July 6, 2017, in The Delta Discovery, a Native-owned and operated weekly publication of the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta in Alaska . It was written by Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel, Alaska.


Question: I was sexually abused as a child. I don’t think I can ever forgive the man who abused me. My husband berates me because he says I don’t give him enough affection. He says I am angry. I think he’s angry. My world is falling apart. Is there any hope for me?

There is hope, and the hope is in something called forgiveness. That may sound more theological than psychological, but it is a topic of research in psychology that has been studied for more than thirty-five years by Dr. Robert Enright and the Human Development Study Group at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Results from many peer-reviewed studies indicate that Forgiveness Therapy is more efficacious than alternative therapies in addressing issues related to sexual, physical, and emotional abuse. Also, injuries and injustices that have occurred in marital relationships can be addressed through the same process, using the same model.

Before you stop reading this article and write forgiveness off as quackery, let me explain; Forgiveness Therapy is significantly more than simply saying, “I forgive you.” Forgiveness Therapy entails four phases: UncoveringDecisionWork, and Deepening. I will attempt to provide an overview of each phase, but I must caution, it is not a matter of step 1, 2, 3, 4, and then you are well. Therapy takes time, it is hard work and often painful, but worthwhile.

Instead of using the word “Abuse” as the precipitating event, I am choosing to use words like “Injury,” or “Injustice,” which may broaden the usefulness of the model. Also, for ease in reading, I am using the term client as the one in therapy who experienced an injury or injustice.

During the Uncovering Phase, the client gains insight into whether and how the injustice experienced has compromised his or her life. As a result of the trauma, the injured person may have begun to rely on unhealthy defense mechanisms to cope. During the Uncovering Phase, it is necessary to discover and examine those psychological defenses and the issues involved in the client’s current cognitive and emotional state. The goal will be to confront and release the anger, rather than harboring it.

When appropriate, the client may need to admit shame that was experienced as a result of the injustice. At some point, the client will likely become aware of his or her depleted state of emotional energy and the time spent mentally rehearsing the injustice. It is possible that because of the trauma, the client may feel the world is unsafe, and therefore, be unable to trust anyone. During this phase the client may discover that even though he or she was hurt, it doesn’t mean that everyone is untrustworthy.

Moving on to the Decision phase, the client recognizes that old strategies have not worked. During this phase, the client considers forgiveness as an option, and makes a decision to commit to forgiving on the basis of this newly acquired understanding. Again, I emphasize that this is not a matter of casually saying, “I forgive you,” and sweeping the injustice under the rug. Forgiveness becomes a conscious choice from a position of empowerment.

During the Work phase the client gains a mental understanding of the offender. In other words, the wrongdoer is viewed in context. For example, maybe the perpetrator was also a victim. This can result in a positive change in affect toward the offender, toward self, and about the relationship. Because of being able to view the event in context, it may be possible to experience empathy and compassion toward the offender. The client eventually reaches a point of accepting and bearing the pain of the offense. At that point the moral gift of forgiveness can be given to the offender. That does not mean that contact has to be made with the offender. In some instances, the offender may no longer be living, or it may not be in the best interest of anyone to make the contact. But forgiveness can be offered as a gift.

Finally, during the Deepening phase, the client discovers meaning in the suffering, feels more connected with others, experiences decreased negative affect, and may experience a renewed purpose in life. During this phase, the client comes to accept that he or she also has needed forgiveness from others in the past. The person gains insight that he or she is not the only one who has experienced similar pain or suffering. Also, there may come a realization that a new purpose in life may develop as a result of the injury. During this phase, a reduction in negative affect and an increase in positive affect toward the offender may occur. If this happens the client is likely to experience an awareness of an internal emotional release.

Unfortunately, there is not an organized Forgiveness Therapy group in Bethel. But, I would encourage anyone who has an interest in this topic to purchase one of Dr. Enright’s books on the topic. I would suggest beginning with Forgiveness Is a Choice: A Step-By-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope, published by the American Psychological Association, and can be purchased at most bookstores or at Amazon.com.

Lorin L. Bradbury, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Bethel, Alaska. If you have questions that you would like Dr. Bradbury to answer in the Delta Discovery, please send them to The Delta Discovery, P.O. Box 1028, Bethel, AK 99559, or e-mail them to realnews@deltadiscovery.com. You can also access the Ask Dr. Forgiveness feature on this website with your forgiveness-related questions.