UW–Madison faculty member Robert Enright’s decades of research on forgiveness was highlighted in a recurring Wisconsin State Journal feature, “Know Your Madisonian,” last month.
Enright holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science in the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology.
The article highlights how Enright’s studies have shown improvements in emotional and psychological health for a wide variety of people, from incest survivors to terminally ill cancer patients, prison inmates, and students in Northern Ireland. “People say, why should I be good to those who are not good to me?” Enright told the State Journal. “One reason is because, paradoxically, it heals those who do it.”
He continues to explain how he teaches forgiveness to both adults and children. As a licensed psychologist, he helps his patients using four steps, starting with uncovering trauma.
“Once people see a broader, richer story of the other, compassion starts to grow in the heart,” he said.
Enright said forgiveness is taught to kids through stories, like Dr. Suess’ “Horton Hears a Who.”
Enright has also spent time conducting studies and giving talks in Israel, he told the State Journal.
“I’ve been in Israel for well over a decade,” he said. “We are not talking about the Israeli-Jewish and the West Bank-Palestinian people getting together politically. We’re talking about one person in a family forgiving another person in the family, or in their own community.”
Read the full Q&A with Enright.