Tagged: “New Ideas”
Think about one time in your childhood when you had what seemed to be a serious disagreement with a friend. At the time, did it seem like this breach would last forever? Did it? How long did it take to either reconcile or to find a new friend? Time has a way of changing our circumstances. This is not to advocate a kind of passive approach to life here—such as, “Oh, I’ll just wait it out and not bother to exert any effort.” That is not the point. The point is to take a long perspective so that you can see beyond the next hill to a place that is more settled and the pain is not so great. You already saw in your childhood that conflicts end. And the consequences of those conflicts (feeling sad or angry) also end. Why should that same process of change not also apply now? Try to see your circumstance, as realistically as you can, one month from now. Try to see your circumstance six months from now. Try to see yourself two years from now. Will you be the same person? Will you respond to injustices in the exact same way as you did three months ago? Probably not. You will likely be able to meet challenges with greater strength and wisdom as you continue on the forgiveness journey.
Enright, Robert. 8 Keys to Forgiveness (8 Keys to Mental Health) . W. W. Norton & Company. Kindle Edition.
No one argues about the need to stop bullying in schools. Bullying’s adverse effects not only impact the child when the bullying occurs but typically impact a victim’s health and emotions throughout the person’s lifetime (see “The Impact of Bullying” box below).
That reality has become a growing topic of concern in the academic community with bullying being cited as a universal problem in countries around the world. Over the past several decades, literally hundreds of school-wide anti-bullying programs have been developed and implemented. That raises the question, of course: Do school antibullying programs work?
The typical answer from those professionals studying that question is: “Not so well. We need to do better.”
And sure enough, that’s the inauspicious conclusion of a just-completed systematic review of scientific publications covering the past 20 years. According to the study, Whole‐school Antibullying Interventions, a full 50% of all the school programs reviewed failed to “show significant effects on bullying prevalence” or found negative results including an actual increase in bullying.
The study, published in April by the peer-reviewed journal Psychology in the Schools, was conducted by university researchers in Brazil. While their study found that anti-bullying interventions resulted in increased reporting of bullying occurrences (with resultant increases in the use of punitive discipline), at the same time many of the programs failed totally–primarily due to inadequate time for training and implementation as well as lack of support.
Those findings come as no surprise to many psychologists. In fact, the report actually documented and reinforced what educational psychologist Dr. Jichan J. Kim first reported more than four years ago in his University of Wisconsin-Madison doctoral thesis: The Effectiveness of a Forgiveness Intervention Program on Reducing Adolescents’ Bullying Behavior.
Dr. Kim’s thesis includes a 29-page literature review in which he documents the unusually large number of research projects demonstrating the ineffectiveness of most school-wide anti-bullying programs including:
- A 2007 review of 45 separate school-based anti-bullying studies involving 34,713 individuals that concluded “the positive changes were too small to be supported as significant;”
- Another 2007 examination of 16 major anti-bullying programs across 11 different countries that showed mixed results with less than half the programs demonstrating desirable effects;
- A 2008 evaluation of 16 studies across 6 nations involving a total of 15,386 K-12 students that showed the interventions tended to influence students’ attitudes and self-perceptions but not their bullying behavior; and,
- Studies completed in 2012, 2014, and 2015 (one involving 560 school psychologists and school counselors) supporting the lack of evidence-based interventions.
Despite all the negative assessments he uncovered, Dr. Kim believes there is one approach that might be effective–helping adolescents exhibiting bullying behavior to forgive those who have offended them in the past. That approach, Dr. Kim says, is still not widely used and is, therefore, still not a compelling component of the scientific literature although he is confident it “can be beneficial.”
That intervention approach, in fact, is the one advocated in The Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program developed more than 8 years ago by Dr. Robert Enright, founder of the International Forgiveness Institute. The program not only incorporates lessons-learned from Dr. Enright’s more than 40-years of forgiveness research, it also integrates the scientifically-quantifiable forgiveness process he developed and , perhaps most importantly, it focuses directly on the one doing the bullying.
“Those who bully usually have pent-up anger and as a result they displace their own wounds onto others,” Dr. Enright explains. “Our program is meant to take the anger out of the heart of those who bully so that they no longer bully others.”
Dr. Enright says his research has taught him to take an approach that may seem counter-intuitive today, but will appear obvious to many in the future: “Yes, help the victim, but also help the one who is bullying to get rid of his or her anger, which is fueling the bullying. Those who bully have been victimized by others. Help them to reduce their resentment toward those who were the victimizers and the bullying behavior will melt away.”
- Learn more about Dr. Enright’s Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program.
- Learn more about Dr. Jichan Kim, an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. (Disclosure: Dr. Enright was Jichan Kim’s graduate school adviser).
- Read a review of Forgiveness Therapy.
- Learn more about the long-term impacts of bullying in the 2014 British Study.
- Learn how bullying statistics compare in your state versus others, with this interactive Bullying-Cyberbullying-Sexting Map of the U.S.
- Learn about bullying and cyberbullying in your country with this interactive International Research on Bullying Map of the World.
Would implementing IFI’s forgiveness therapy in Police Departments help with racism, police brutality, domestic violence and suicide in the police community? If so, how would IFI recommend police get forgiveness therapy into their departments?
All organizations are made up of imperfect people. Therefore, any organization will have its share of unjust treatment by others outside the organization and toward people both outside that organization and within it. Those organizations that have much more stress than others, such as the police and the military, probably could benefit from forgiveness workshops. Why? If people in these organizations are abused by others, learning to forgive can quell the anger so that the anger is not displaced onto others. If people in the organizations abuse others, then the first step is to exercise the moral virtue of justice and make right that which was wrong. Asking for forgiveness is delicate because those hurt by the injustice may need a time of anger or sadness and therefore are not necessarily ready to forgive. Another step, once justice is restored, is learning to engage in self-forgiveness, which is important to avoid self-hatred. We have given workshops to military organizations and to those in the criminal justice system, but not yet to any police organizations, only because we have not been asked yet.
World-renowned psychologist Dr. Robert Enright has teamed up with acclaimed songwriter-performer Sam Ness to produce a “therapeutic music-discussion video” for adults who are struggling with the anguish created by the COVID-19 lockdown.
Called “Forgiveness,” the hour-long video incorporates original compositions written and performed by Ness with related summary discussion bites on the virtue of forgiveness to create what Dr. Enright calls “forgiveness therapy through music” or simply “music of the heart.” The video production is available at no cost on YouTube.
“Every person in the world is dealing with some form of pain or toxic anger from being hurt in the past,” Dr. Enright said in explaining why he and Ness produced the video. “The COVID-19 lockdown has a tendency to amplify those internal feelings and cause additional stress so this is the ideal time to practice forgiveness by being good to yourself (self-forgiveness) and good to others.”
The Forgiveness video includes a rolling discussion between Ness and Dr. Enright, a University of Wisconsin-Madison psychology professor and co-founder of the International Forgiveness Institute. The exchanges summarize the four phases of the patented Enright Forgiveness Process Model that has become the standard for forgiveness and forgiveness therapy around the world.
“Sam has added high artistry to the language of forgiveness with his voice and his guitar,” Dr. Enright says. “Instead of reading a book to learn how to forgive, Sam’s songs provide forgiveness therapy through music.”
With the coronavirus pandemic shutting down most television and movie productions for now, would-be viewers of those non-existent productions are looking for something new to watch as they shelter in place, according to Dr. Enright. “This video is just what they need—emotional self-improvement.”
In addition to the song “Forgiveness,” Ness performs two other original compositions on the video: “Storm Inside of Me” (a ballad about self-forgiveness) and “I’ve Come for Grace” (a song he wrote about life’s trials while he was undertaking a 96-mile winter hike through the Highlands of Scotland).
The 22-year-old Ness, a native of Sauk City, WI, began his song-writing career at age 15 and performed in show choir musicals throughout his high school years earning him scores of awards including two Wisconsin Tommy Awards for Outstanding Lead Performer and more than a handful of Outstanding Male Soloist Awards.
After high school, Ness passed up scholarship offers to study theater from half-a-dozen prestigious universities and music conservatories. Instead, he hitch-hiked and hopped busses for nearly a year across Scotland, England, France, Spain, Portugal, and Switzerland while learning the fine art of “busking” (street performing).
The following year, Ness busked across much of New Zealand before signing on for a 23-show tour across Thailand and Cambodia. Since returning to Wisconsin, he finished writing and recording an album, “Lullabies & Faerie Tales.” He was nominated for several Madison-area music awards and won the Male Vocalist of the Year Award in 2019. Most of his music is available on his website: www.samness.us.
Ness will be traveling throughout Wisconsin and Minnesota this summer (COVID-19 permitting) as part of a solo musical tour featuring performances in 19 separate venues including resorts, lounges, wineries and brewpubs. View the Schedule.
That tour has been arranged and scheduled by Jonathan Little Productions, a talent agency owned by Jonathan Little—a life-long radio broadcaster and promoter of local artists. Little also helped arrange and produce the “Forgiveness” video. He received the Madison Area Music Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and was inducted into the Wisconsin Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2008.
“As this new video demonstrates, forgiveness is a paradox in which people are kind to those who were unkind to them,” according to Dr. Enright. “That’s something we can all benefit from in this time of coronavirus lockdown. Forgiveness has the power you can use to free yourself from past hurts so you can live a better life.”
For Additional Information:
- Watch the “Forgiveness” music-discussion video on YouTube
- Read the “Forgiveness” lyrics
- Visit the Sam Ness Website
- Read “How to Survive the Coronavirus Lockdown”
I am a religious person and it seems to me that the cosmic perspective would work best with this kind of transcendent approach to life. Do you agree or not?
Yes, those who have a religious perspective often can and are willing to take an eternal perspective on the one who harmed you. In other words, the cosmic perspective asks you to go beyond the physical world and ask such questions as these: Is it possible that you might meet the other person in the afterlife? Did God make this person and you? If so, what does this mean about who this person is……and about who you are as a person?
For additional information, see The Personal, Global, and Cosmic Perspectives.