For psychologists and psychotherapists, the notion of forgiveness has been enjoying a substantial vogue. For their patients, it holds the promise of "moving on" and healing emotional wounds. The forgiveness of others - and of one's self - would seem to offer the kind of peace that psychotherapy alone has never been able to provide. In this volume, psychologist Sharon Lamb and philosopher Jeffrie Murphy argue that forgiveness has been accepted as a therapeutic strategy without serious, critical examination. They intend this volume to be a closer, critical look at some of these questions: why is forgiveness so popular now? What exactly does it entail? When might it be appropriate for a therapist not to advise forgiveness? When is forgiveness in fact harmful? Lamb and Murphy have collected many previously-unpublished chapters by both philosophers and psychologists that examine what is at stake for those who are injured, those who injure them, and society in general when such a practice becomes commonplace. Some chapters offer cautionary tales about forgiveness therapy, while others paint complex portraits of the social, cultural, and philosophical factors that come into play with forgiveness. The value of this volume lies not only in its presentation of a nuanced view of this therapeutic trend, but also as a general critique of psychotherapy, and as a valuable testimony of the theoretical and practical possibilities in an interdisciplinary collaboration between philosophy and clinical psychology.
This book is a novel addition to the growing field of the study of forgiveness. It satisfies the editors' stated goals of setting forgiveness in a broader context than have past individual volumes, and calls attention to feminist and multicultural concerns through interdisciplinary and accessible readings....the anthology on the whole is useful to anyone with an interest in the metaethical and ethical questions surrounding forgiveness....I can only hope this inspires more philosophers to approach forgiveness from critical, feminist and multicultural perspectives. * Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews, 2002.10.02 *