UW-Madison’s Enright invited to speak at annual Spielberger EMPathy Symposium

UW-Madison’s Robert Enright has been invited to represent Division 3 (Society for Experimental Psychology and Cognitive Science) of the American Psychological Association (APA) at the annual Spielberger EMPathy Symposium on Aug. 9 in Chicago.

Each year, three distinguished and prominent individuals are invited to talk and exchange ideas on the themes of Empathy, Motivation, and Personality (EMPathy).

Enright, a professor with the School of Education’s Department of Educational Psychology and the founder of the International Forgiveness Institute, has been pioneering work on the science of forgiveness and researching how it affects wellbeing for more than three decades.

At the symposium, which aims to stimulate and facilitate the sharing of knowledge in the area of EMPathy, Enright will present a talk on Aug. 9 called, “Advancing the Science of Forgiveness through Randomized Experimental and Control Group Trials.”

Enright explains that forgiveness is a choice for people who have been deeply hurt by another. He constructed a framework for teaching people how to forgive, developing this work into a 20-step program that he regards as essential for achieving a forgiving life.

The forgiveness program is divided into four phases: uncovering your anger; deciding to forgive; working on forgiveness; and discovery and release from emotional prison.

The idea, Enright explains, is giving people the option of choosing to forgive rather than holding onto anger and resentment, which can be debilitating.

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