Because Forgiveness Therapy interventions are becoming standard practice for more and more psychologists and others in the helping professions, the demand for the International Forgiveness Institute’s (IFI) Forgiveness Therapy Continuing Education Course continues to grow. As far as we know, the IFI course is currently the only one available that provides in-depth training for forgiveness therapy so those who have completed the course are a unique group of trailblazing professionals. Our course is based on the clinical manual also called Forgiveness Therapy that is authored by IFI co-founder Dr. Robert Enright (a licensed psychologist) and Dr. Richard Fitzgibbons, an MD and a psychiatrist.
Those who successfully complete the course receive a completion certificate from the IFI that can be displayed in clinics and offices alongside other professional credentials. Those individuals may also, of course, advertise their forgiveness expertise in their clinical promotions and printed materials. That means the best way to find a therapist who has trained with the IFI is to ask the practitioner if he or she has undertaken forgiveness therapy training and, if so, who provided that training. Don’t be afraid to ask for documentation of that training (i.e., an IFI Certificate of Completion).
The best advice we can give on finding a therapist is to follow the step-by-step guidance we provide on our website in the section called “Find a Helping Professional.” There you will be able to access valuable fact sheets like “How to Choose a Psychologist” and “How Do I Find a Therapist Near Me?” If you think online therapy might be a viable option to consider, you will find guidance in our article “Reasons to Choose an Online Therapist.” More importantly, that page of our website includes links to three different reputable agencies, including the American Psychological Association, that provide no-cost services to help you locate a helping professional by geographic area or practice area. You’ll find all that at our “Find a Helping Professional” section.
Anyone who follows the National Basketball Association (NBA) will know that Monty Williams is the head coach of the Phoenix Suns. What they might not know is that when Williams delivered the eulogy for his wife who was killed in a head-on car crash five years ago, he urged forgiveness and prayers for the driver who took his wife’s life and injured three of his children.
Williams and his wife Ingrid, 44, had been married for 20 years before she died on Feb. 10, 2016, from injuries sustained a day earlier in that crash. The car Ingrid was driving was struck head-on by an SUV that was traveling at 88-92 mph in a 40-mph zone and which crossed the center line after losing control. The other driver, Susannah Donaldson, died instantly in the collision.
Instead of blaming Donaldson, Williams used the death of his wife to preach forgiveness. At Ingrid’s memorial service, Williams delivered a powerful seven-minute eulogy in which he advocated forgiveness for Donaldson and prayers for her family.
“The most important thing we need to understand is that everybody is praying for me and my family,” Williams said at Ingrid’s funeral. “But let us not forget that there were two people in this situation and that family needs prayer as well. We have no ill-will toward the Donaldson family.”
The memorial service for Ingrid was attended by more than 900 people. Ingrid and Monty met while both attended Notre Dame where she competed in track and field and where Monty was a 6’8″ tall basketball star. At the time of the deadly crash, their five children ranged in age from 5 to 17.
“In my house, we have a sign that says, ‘As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,’” Williams said. “We cannot serve the Lord if we don’t have a heart of forgiveness. Let’s not lose sight of what’s important and let’s not lose sight of that family that also lost someone they love.”
Just a year after his wife’s tragic death, Williams received the inaugural Sager Strong Award presented by the NBA to an individual who has been “a trailblazer while exemplifying courage, faith, compassion and grace.” Williams’ career in the NBA has spanned more than two decades with nine seasons as a player before serving as a coach or assistant for five different NBA teams. He became head coach of the Phoenix Suns in May 2019. He was also an assistant coach to Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University) for the men’s national basketball team that won the Gold Medal for the United States at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
A just-released video interview with forgiveness guru Dr. Robert Enright called “The Essence and Definition of Forgiveness” is now available to view at no cost on a website called Inner Change which bills itself as “a video journey into our collective humanity.”
The 2 min. 15 sec. video was recorded by a talented group of film producers based in Switzerland that has cinematic staff in the US and more than a dozen other countries around the world. It is one of 13 short video segments that Inner Change has recorded with Dr. Enright and which it will release over a 2-year period. Thus far, four of the Dr. Enright interviews have been made available for viewing including:
- The Essence and Definition of Forgiveness (2 min. 15 sec.) – In this interview, Dr. Enright defines forgiveness from an interdisciplinary, cross-cultural, and interfaith perspective that basically includes what Socrates would call the “essence” or core of forgiveness. He concludes by adding that the highest form of forgiveness is to unconditionally love those who hurt us.
- How I Became Involved in Forgiveness Studies (4 min. 16 sec.) – Dr. Enright explains how after years of studying moral development at the behest of his employer, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he asked himself, “What might make a difference in the world in people’s lives?” The answer he came up with in 1985 was “the virtue of forgiveness” which he saw as a way to heal from the injustices we all face.
- The Two Paradoxes of Forgiveness (1 min. 0 sec.) – In this brief segment, Dr. Enright outlines the two paradoxes (apparent contradictions that are not contradictions) of forgiveness: 1) by forgiving, you are giving unexpected goodness to the person who hurt you; and, 2) in the process, you become stronger and emotionally healed.
- Learning to Forgive in the Small Things (3 min. 19 sec.) – By practicing forgiveness with the smaller hurts in your life, what Dr. Enright calls “exercising your forgiveness muscles,” you can become forgivingly fit and more easily handle the larger injustices in life.
The Inner Change website includes interviews with psychologists, spiritual teachers, activists, and neurologists. Those interviews are part of the website’s “Peace Video Library” where visitors can “discover what it means to be fully human, what resources we all share, how we can tap into our full potential as humans.” Other website features include musical meditation segments following each video and a collection of more than 30 music videos all with original songs recorded at Chernobyl (the site of the 1986 nuclear power plant disaster) and the nearby ghost town of Prypiat in Northern Ukraine.
Other notable forgiveness-related personalities featured on the site include:
1) Marina Cantacuzino, founder of the Forgiveness Project, a nonprofit that collects and shares stories from both victims/survivors and perpetrators of crime and conflict who have rebuilt their lives following hurt and trauma;
2) Bill Pelke who forgave the young woman who murdered his grandmother by stabbing her 33 times with a butcher knife and who went on to found an organization called Journey of Hope–from violence to healing that provides support to families of murder victims; and,
3) Dr. Andrew Newberg, a physician and neuroscientist who studies the relationship between brain function and various mental states who is also a pioneer in the neurological study of religious and spiritual experiences (a field known as “neurotheology”) as demonstrated in his recent book The Rabbi’s Brain.
Exercise, get adequate sleep, eat right, reduce stress — you’ve probably been told to do all of these things to manage your health. All those actions contribute to a healthy lifestyle, and failing to follow them could lead you down a path of health issues and serious medical conditions. The risk of health problems due to poor lifestyle choices is even greater when you’re older.
The International Forgiveness Institute wants you to thrive throughout your life. If you’re a senior who hasn’t begun prioritizing your physical and mental health, here are some ways to get it under control.
Eating healthy is not only important to keep your systems working smoothly, but according to Verywell Fit, it’s also important for weight management. Younger people might struggle to lose weight and stay thin, but older adults have different concerns.
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics explains that being underweight is unhealthy for seniors, and many seniors fall into this category. Conversely, obesity is not a good place to be either. To keep your health under control, stick to a diet that hits all of your caloric and nutritional needs. A healthy, well-fed body is at a lower risk for heart disease, cancer, diabetes, stroke, and kidney disease.
Most adults under-sleep, but it’s also possible to over-sleep. Family Doctor notes it’s important to get the right amount of sleep, specifically between seven and eight hours per night. If you find yourself having trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or staying awake, then it’s time to adjust your sleep patterns to get on a regular schedule. Ample sleep will bring you energy, mental clarity, better moods, and relaxation from the chaos of daily life.
Healthline suggests you should turn off your electronics at least an hour before bedtime, take a relaxing bath, read a book, and meditate for a few minutes. Make sure to avoid caffeine after lunch or chocolate close to bedtime. If you suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome or sleep apnea, be sure to get the problem treated by a doctor so you can finally rest at night.
Why You Should Start a Business Instead of Retiring
Retirement often seems like the last step after years of working but it usually leads to an unfulfilling and boring period of our lives. According to the AARP, many seniors are looking to entrepreneurship as a way to stay busy and motivate themselves in an exciting way.
There are plenty of reasons why seniors are starting new businesses too. Aside from the work being much more enjoyable than the typical 9 to 5 grind, it also lets us turn our hobbies into a career and create our own dream jobs.
And once you’ve decided to start your own business, the next step is just to get it off the ground and get going. After a basic plan is established and you learn how to start a business, all that’s left to do is start working your dream job and, who knows, maybe one day you’ll even be hiring employees!
Stress doesn’t show obvious signs like some medical conditions, but it can lead to serious complications if you let it get out of control. Besides leading to depression and anxiety, which the APA explains can result in poor quality of life, stress can actually cause death through cardiovascular disease. Reign in your stress by practicing meditation, developing hobbies that promote well-being, exercising, building relationships and community, and seeking help from a mental health professional when the stress feels like too much.
As we rely more and more on technology, we ultimately spend more time indoors. However, Psychology Today explains this isn’t healthy for us, either mentally or physically. So, whenever possible, spend some time in nature, whether that’s grabbing some new gear and hitting the trails or simply biking through a local park, hanging out in the sunshine and breathing plenty of fresh air can work wonders on your overall well-being.
Speaking of stress, when we hold on to resentment and anger, it builds up and eats away at us emotionally, contributing to our stress. Retirement is a time to enjoy the fruits of your labor and the life you’ve built. This is an especially good time to consider forgiveness. Whether it’s among family, friends or even forgiving yourself. Forgiveness allows you to let go of those pent up feelings holding you back from living your best life. And while forgiveness can feel like a challenge, when we learn to forgive, we are reinvesting in our loved ones and ourselves. For additional information on forgiveness for senior citizens, check out more of this International Forgiveness Institute website.
Your senior years are the time to reclaim your body and your mind, to preserve them as long as possible, and to reverse the damage done over the years. You can’t age backward, but you can control your quality of life so that aging forward is a positive experience. Put your health and happiness first to make the most of your golden years.
This article was written for the International Forgiveness Institute by Jason Lewis, a certified personal trainer who became the primary caretaker for his mother following her surgery in 2002. As he helped her with her recovery, he realized there is a growing need for trainers who can assist seniors in their own homes and communities. With a degree in Health Science and Human Performance, Jason works with medical professionals and other personal trainers to create programs that are customized to the special health needs of those over the age of 65. Visit his website, packed with health information for seniors and their caregivers, at strongwell.org.
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.