Tagged: “The Forgiving Life”

Forgiveness Research Tools Flying Out the Door and Around the World

When The Christian Science Monitor called him “the father of forgiveness research” nearly 20 years ago (Dec. 19, 2002), Dr. Robert Enright, a University of Wisconsin-Madison educational psychology professor, had just completed what the news organization called “the first study ever to show a cause-and-effect finding regarding physical health. . . and forgiveness.”

Today, as Dr. Enright nudges close to 37 years of forgiveness study and interventions, his research tools and techniques have become the preferred instruments of social scientists and researchers around the world. To stimulate even further growth in the burgeoning field, the forgiveness pioneer is giving his research tools away at no cost and with no strings attached.

On April 20 of this year, Dr. Enright announced that the non-profit educational organization he founded–the International Forgiveness Institute (IFI)–would provide his highly regarded scientific research tools absolutely free to any forgiveness researcher who requested them. In just the four months since then, the IFI has received and fulfilled orders for 252 copies of his individual tool documents from researchers in 21 foreign countries and 27 US states.

The free research tools available from the IFI and the number of copies distributed since April include:

  • The Enright Self-Forgiveness Inventory (ESFI) – 76 Requests
    This measure is based on the conceptualization of forgiveness as a moral virtue. The ESFI is a 30-item scale featuring six subscales with five items each. Five additional items at the end of the scale allow for measurement of Pseudo Self-Forgiveness (PSF). Although several competing self-forgiveness measures exist, Dr. Enright’s is the only one that captures the idea that self-forgiveness is a moral virtue that includes behavior toward the self.
  • The Enright Forgiveness Inventory-30 (EFI-30) – 85 Requests
    This tool is a shorter version of the Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Adults that has become the interpersonal forgiveness measure of choice for research professionals in the U.S. and abroad since its development in 1995. The EFI-30 reduces the number of items from 60 to 30 for the purpose of a more practical assessment of this construct. Data from the United States were used in the creation of the new measure and applied to seven nations: Austria, Brazil, Israel, Korea, Norway, Pakistan, and Taiwan to develop its psychometric validation.
  • The Enright Group Forgiveness Inventory (EGFI) – 44 Requests
    The EGFI has 56 items across seven subscales with each subscale having eight items. Those subscales measure a group’s motivation and values regarding forgiveness, peace, and friendliness toward the other group. The instrument is a valuable tool that could enhance peace efforts in the world. The EGFI was validated and published earlier this year by Dr. Enright and a team of 16 international researchers who collected data from 595 study participants in three different geographic and cultural settings of the world—China and Taiwan, Slovenia, and the US.
  • The Enright Forgiveness Inventory for Children (EFI-C) – 47 Requests
    The EFI-C is an objective measure of the degree to which a child forgives another who has hurt him or her deeply and unfairly. It is a 30-item scale similar to the 60-item adult version and is presented orally to very young children and in writing to those who can read well. Thanks to a researcher in Pakistan, the EFI-C is now available in the Urdu language—the native language of an estimated 230 million people, primarily in South Asia.

“Making these tools available to researchers at no cost is one way to grow the repository of forgiveness knowledge,” Dr. Enright explained. “This area of moral development has produced significant advancements in the areas of education, medical treatment, and therapy, so why not encourage others to help expand that information base?”


“There’s no getting around it – forgiveness is good for you and holding a grudge is not.”
-The Christian Science Monitor


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Keeping Anne Gallagher’s Memory and Work Alive

On this date eight years ago, and with a heavy heart, I posted the obituary below on a peace hero of Northern Ireland, Anne Gallagher. 
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In that tribute, I vowed to keep Anne’s life-giving work alive and this post is one small indication of that promise. I am pleased to report that our forgiveness education work in Northern Ireland has continued. We are entering our 20th year of such service to the educators in that land. This all started through Anne’s tireless efforts and passion for peace in her homeland.
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Anne, I hope you are pleased with what we have done on the path which you started to walk so long ago.
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Robert


In Memoriam: Anne Gallagher, Seeds of Hope

It is with deep sadness that we announce the passing of a true patriot for peace, Anne Gallagher of Dublin, Ireland (August 7, 2013).

ANNE GALLAGHER (1953-2013)

Anne started the peace organization, Seeds of Hope, in Ireland as a way to counter the after-effects of The Troubles. Even though the peace accord was signed in 1998, hearts were still embittered by the struggles that began to erupt in early 1972 with Bloody Sunday. Some of Anne’s friends and relations took up combat and were part of paramilitary organizations in Ireland and Northern Ireland. Anne, in contrast, sought dialogue as a way to peace.

Anne was instrumental in the International Forgiveness Institute’s transition to forgiveness education in Belfast. She tirelessly set up meetings with us at various schools such as Ligoniel, St. Vincent de Paul, and Mercy Primary School. Because of Anne’s endorsement of us, doors flew open and within about one month of trying, we were accepted into schools within the inter-face areas of the city (where contentious groups live segregated lives but in close proximity to one another)..

I recall vividly in 2003 sitting with three ex-combatants who wanted to know more about forgiveness education. They were unsure if it was a good idea. Anne set up the meeting. You see, we needed their permission to go into a particular school because some of the ex-combatants informally controlled their neighborhoods. One of them, battle-tested, said to me, “My son is in that school. Forgiveness will make him weak.” I swallowed hard and asked, “Do you want your son to grow up and live as you have?” He bowed his head and with love in his heart for his son said, “No.” It was then that he gave us permission to enter the school.

Anne was always close to danger like this. She did not care, even though some of her brothers were scared for her. Yet, she had a spark in her eyes and a conviction deep within that peace must be sought even if it meant putting oneself on the line at times.

Anne Gallagher represents peace in Ireland. We at the IFI will do our best to keep alive her vision for Seeds of Hope in each human heart. Peace be with you now, Anne.

Robert

Author’s Note: Read about the Northern Ireland Troubles, about Bloody Sunday, and about learning to forgive in the “Seeds of Hope Ex-Prisoners Think Tank Report” co-authored by Anne Gallagher (whose four brothers became involved in the Northern Ireland conflict and served long prison sentences, one being shot dead upon his release.)
— Anne Gallagher photo by Brian Moody


 

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I am a mental health professional.  Some people want a quicker fix than what your Process Model offers.  Can you recommend a brief therapy instead?

Because forgiveness is a moral virtue, it is not possible to artificially push it into a traditional psychological set of techniques that might lead to quick forgiveness.  If the injustice is serious against your client and the hurt deep within that client, then time and practice definitely are recommended. It will be worth the effort because we find that traditional psychological techniques are not a substitute for a true struggle to grow in this heroic moral virtue.  A meta-analysis by Aktar and Barlow show statistically that longer periods of time in forgiving (12 and even more sessions) are more effective than short-term therapy of 4-6 sessions.  Here is a reference to that meta-analysis:

Akhtar, S., & Barlow, J. (2018). Forgiveness therapy for the promotion of mental well-being: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Trauma, Violence, & Abuse, 19(1), 107-122.

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I am trying to forgive a family relative.  My immediate family members keep saying negative things about the person.  When I explain to my immediate family members that I am trying to forgive the person, then they intensify their negative judgements against this person.  How can I forgive under this circumstance?

Your forgiving is being made more challenging because of the constant negative statements from people whom you love.  Yet, please keep in mind that their choice not to forgive is not your choice.  Their views need not stay as your view.  Yes, you will have to struggle against those negative statements, but here is my suggestion: Every time you hear a negative statement about your relative, say to yourself—-to yourself silently—something positive about the person.  Say privately to yourself, “I choose to forgive the person.”  These exercises, repeated over time, should help you to forgive even if your family members continue with the negative statements.

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What if positive feelings toward the one who offended me do not emerge?  What then?  Do I give it more time?

Please remember that forgiveness is a process and we do not necessarily reach the highest levels of this process.  If you do not develop positive feelings toward the person, but the strongly negative emotions shrink to manageable levels, then you definitely are on the pathway of forgiving.  Yes, you can continue the process of forgiving with this person, but please know that you are doing well in your forgiving by reducing resentment.

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