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Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope Hardcover – January 1, 2001


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Forgiveness is a Choice: A Step-by-Step Process for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope + The Forgiving Life: A Pathway to Overcoming Resentment and Creating a Legacy of Love (APA Lifetools) + Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 299 pages
  • Publisher: American Psychological Association (APA); 1 edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1557987572
  • ISBN-13: 978-1557987570
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 5.8 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (49 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

According to the results of the Human Development Study Group at the University of Madison, WI, forgiveness leads to improved physical and mental health as well as better relationships. This practical, nonsectarian, self-directed guide is deeply rooted in that study, of which educational psychologist Enright was a leader. Unlike other books on forgiveness (e.g., the writings of Lewis B. Smedes and Philip Yancey), this work doesn't cater to the casual reader seeking hints for self-improvement; Enright's readers must be committed and immerse themselves in the four stages of self-discovery uncovering anger, deciding to forgive, working on forgiveness, and discovery and release. Stressing that the process of forgiveness is different for each person, Enright advises flexibility, discourages the premature setting of specific goals, and encourages readers to draw on the support of a friend or therapist as they work through the phases. This debut title of the American Psychological Association's new trade imprint, APA LifeTools, is highly recommended. Lucille M. Boone, San Jose P.L., CA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Robert D. Enright, PhD, is a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is the author of more than 80 publications and has been a leader in the scientific study of forgiveness and its effects since 1985. His work on the subject has appeared in Time, McCall’s, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, and the Los Angeles Times. He has appeared on ABC ’s 20/20 NBC ’s Nightly News and many other television and radio shows.

More About the Author

Robert D. Enright is professor in the Educational Psychology Department at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He is president of the International Forgiveness Institute at UWMadison, has lectured across the country, and has appeared on ABC News 20/20.

Customer Reviews

Reading this book changed my life.
Symphony O
Even though I purchased this book for me personally I have recommend it to counselors because it is the only book of the four I read that came across as logical.
Chuckles
The book deals a lot with the overall process of forgiveness and there are very specific journal exercises one must do throughout the book.
Seattle Reader 21

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 82 people found the following review helpful By Sandra D. Peters on December 27, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Sometimes we need to forgive ourselves, at other times we need to forgive others. Easier said that done - yes! However, each of us does posses the inate ability to forgive if we choose to make use of that special blessing. As a counsellor, I have counselled many victims of domestic violence, child abuse and family tragedies. It is important to remember one is not forgiving simply for the benefit of the person who has committed an injustice; one is forgiving as part of the process of healing. Only by coming to terms with the demons of the past can one truly heal and build a future. The reasons and means of forgiving are contained in this wonderful book.
Enright is not a person talking in terms of one who has been there and done that, nor does he speak in a condescending tone which implies, "this worked for me, so this will work for everyone." "Forgiveness is a Choice" is written by a professional who is both a psychologist and professor. An unforgiving person can be a difficult, over-bearing, often impossible person do live with on a day-to-day basis. The biggest challenge may be to get them to read the book in the first place, but if you do, the excellent advice found here is bound to hit home and could well begin the healing process. The book is most deserving of a five-star rating and highly recommended.
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101 of 108 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 2, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I have read at least 30 books on forgiveness and have to say this one is in the top three. The process of forgiving is clearly outlined and you are gently encouraged to walk through it. Enright provides suggestions for journaling, including sending you back to reveiw your progress in the process.
The examples he uses are realistic and constructive, everything from children of divorced parents to parents of murdered children. Most of the examples show how the person felt during the different stages of forgiving.
Although Enright does mention God and even suggests journaling your belief, he doesn't emphasize that God can help us walk through the forgiveness process. That would be my only criticism.
If you really want to get over your anger, this book would help you go a long way toward your goal.
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42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By Seattle Reader 21 on April 4, 2007
Format: Hardcover
After reading online reviews of multiple forgiveness books, I decided on this one when I was going through a traumatic time in my life. Since this is the only one I read, I have nothing to compare it to. But I read this book cover to cover and found it to be effective in my forgiveness journey.

The book deals a lot with the overall process of forgiveness and there are very specific journal exercises one must do throughout the book. I diligently did all the writing exercises, even though I thought some of the questions were repetitive. And in doing so, you really get to the root of what you are feeling and how to deal with all the emotions you have.

Almost two years later, having completely forgiven the person who hurt me the most, I went back and read those writing exercises. I could literally see the progress over time, how my perspective and feelings changed as I came to terms with what happened, and slowly but surely forgave and moved on. Since there are a lot of writing exercises to work through, this book requires time and patience to complete. But then again, forgiving a deep hurt requires a lot of patience. I recommend.
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58 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Robin M on August 31, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was looking for a book to help me through the forgiveness process. I bought this book ("Forgiveness is a Choice" by R.D. Enright) based on the excellent reviews. After reading this book twice and working through each exercise at least one, I find myself extremely disappointed.

Pros: The writing was fairly clear and concise. Enright provides many relevant examples throughout the book. The exercises promote thought and reflection with well-defined guidelines.

Cons: Ultimately, I felt the topic was not addressed adequately. The majority of the text focused on choosing forgiveness (hence the title) as an option to reduce depression and anxiety. Most of the exercises explored feelings of shame and guilt as associated with anger. After estimating the amount of energy devoted to angers and frustrations, readers are asked to consider forgiveness as a means to reduce their angers/frustrations.

Example: One of the exercises asked me to rate the strength of my feelings including anger, shame, etc. It also asked me to rate the strength of my feelings towards acceptance and forgiveness. While we are asked to rate the strength of our feelings, there is no guidance regarding the transformation of negative emotions (e.g. anger, shame) towards positive actions (e.g. acceptance, forgiveness).

Overall: All too much of this book is spent trying to convince the reader that forgiveness is a feasible, agreeable option. Far too little is spent on the actual process of "release" (i.e., forgiveness). I felt it was too general to be truly helpful. For myself, the book "Anger: Wisdom for Cooling the Flames" by Thich Nhat Hanh was much more helpful regarding the transformation of anger.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Finally, a book has been published that actually takes the reader on a step-by-step path toward genuine forgiveness. The author has spent many years researching the most effective path in helping people forgive. All of that work has been gently and carefully distilled into this book and it shows. The gist of forgiving is this: First, you must acknowledge that someone hurt you deeply. Sometimes that hurt can turn to anger and the anger can actually bring down the one who is and remains angry. The reader is asked to examine how angry he or she is at the offending person. Next, comes the courageous act of committing to forgive the other person. This involves a truthful look at what forgiveness is and what it is not. Then comes the work of forgiveness: trying to see the offender in new, more helpful ways (without compromising the truth of what happened). From these exercises, the reader becomes open to feelings of empathy and compassion toward the offender. Such emotions can be greatly beneficial to the one who forgives. The reader is encouraged to accept the pain of the injury so that the pain and bitterness are not spread to others. Other healing steps are included. Throughout the book, the author challenges the reader to keep a journal to reflect on the healing process of forgiveness. What gave me confidence is that the author has actually researched the effectiveness of his approach and has shown it to work. I could not put the book down. Very highly recommended.
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