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The Anti-Bullying Forgiveness Program: Reducing the Fury Within Those Who Bully

Dr. Robert Enright
Non-Region Specific
When a person is treated unjustly, resentment can be like a constant drip of water onto the heart. Forgiving shuts off the drip, restoring psychological health.
Dr. Robert Enright
Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science, University of Wisconsin

Access the Curriculum

The purpose of this guide is to help young people forgive those who have deeply hurt them and to stop the cycle of bullying. The curricula encompass 12 to 17 lessons that teach students about respect, inherent worth, and empathy, all in the context of forgiveness.

Hear from the Creator

Dr. Robert D. Enright, the American Psychological Association’s Gold Medal for Impact in Psychology award winner, introduces the concept of forgiveness, its potential impact, and the nuances of his research-based forgiveness curriculum.

About the Tool

Everyone has an experience of being treated unfairly. Those resentments can build up over time, leading to low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and broken relationships—impacts that can begin at an early age when children experience bullying.

So how do we break the cycle of trauma and help people heal?

The research team at the University of Wisconsin-Madison has dedicated nearly four decades to exploring this question. Their forgiveness therapy research, particularly focused on deep injustices, shows that forgiving can reduce and even eliminate the trauma that develops within the unjustly treated person.

According to his research and a growing body of evidence, forgiveness is a cure for resentment and the resulting trauma. If children are introduced, early in their lives, to what forgiveness truly is and give them a chance to explore forgiveness through stories, then when the storms of life hit them through unjust treatment, they will be ready to confront the effects of such mistreatment by being able to forgive accurately and well.

Forgiveness in Action

Forgiveness in Action

Forgiveness in Action

Faith leaders, mental health professionals, and educators provide direct support, education, and counsel to people in their communities on why and how to forgive. Learn more about how this tool can be accessed and deployed by the practitioners bringing forgiveness to the world.

Flip through the panels on the right to learn more.

For Mental Health Professionals

For Mental Health Professionals

Mental Health Professionals

This resource is particularly useful for mental health professionals in their work with children and adolescents who have anger related to injustices they have experienced from others—either from adults or others their own age. This process will allow them to understand their anger and see forgiveness as a way out of that anger, working towards more positive relationships instead.

For Educators

For Educators


This tool is designed for use in educational contexts. Forgiveness education programs at the International Forgiveness Institute have been in operation in different parts of the world since 2002 with positive results.

For Faith Leaders

For Faith Leaders

Faith Leaders

Forgiveness is considered an important moral virtue in many faith denominations. This forgiveness curriculum guide can be applied in many religious settings. The goal for using it in a house of worship is to begin introducing young people to the importance of forgiveness, including what it is and what it is not. A Christian-specific guide that includes Biblical content is available; other faith denominations are encouraged to use the secular guide.

I-IV: All are worthy

All people are of deep worth, and should be treated as such. In lessons one through four, you learn that inherent worth cannot be earned nor lost. This idea is an important foundation for learning forgiveness, and informs how love is shown and goodness is offered to ourselves and to others.

V-VI: To be, or not to be

In lessons five and six, you will learn about what forgiveness is and what it is not. Forgiveness is not excusing or condoning bad behavior, it is not forgetting the hurt, and it is not reconciliation or justice. Anger must be released in order to prevent deep resentments that block the path to forgiveness.

VII: A gift of goodness

Goodness means behaving in the right way to all people, even if they have been unfair. In lesson seven, the participant is guided through the entire forgiveness process, so it is recommended that only licensed mental health professionals conduct the activity therein.

VIII - XI: Learning to fly

In lessons eight through eleven, you will develop an awareness of feelings and motions and a deeper understanding of the consequences—both positive and negative—that come from reacting to those feelings. Once simmering anger is uncovered, the process towards decisional and ultimately emotional forgiveness can begin.

XII - XIII: It’s a journey

Forgiveness is a process and it happens at our own pace in our own time. Time can help us become ready to offer goodness and give forgiveness. In lessons twelve and thirteen, we better understand the processes of both giving forgiveness as well as seeking and receiving it.

XIV: Moving forward

Forgiveness is a choice. This final lesson offers an opportunity to continue thinking about the short- and long-term benefits of being more forgiving individuals, partners, or families.

Download the guide

About the Author

Professor Robert D. Enright, a licensed psychologist, has pioneered the scientific study of forgiveness, which now claims over 1,000 researchers worldwide. 

He holds the Aristotelian Professorship in Forgiveness Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as part of the WARF Named Professorship awards, has been honored with a Vilas Associateship Award, the Dean’s Club Faculty Achievement Award, and the campus-wide Hilldale Award in the Social Studies Division for his research on forgiveness. His National Conference on Forgiveness was the first of its kind on any university campus. 

Dr. Enright is a recipient of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Award and five other teaching-related awards at UW. He teaches courses in moral development with an emphasis on the psychology of forgiveness. He is a former member of the editorial board of Child Development, and the author of “The Forgiving Life” column for Psychology Today. He has published several books, including “Exploring Forgiveness,” and “Helping Clients Forgive: An Empirical Guide for Resolving Anger and Restoring Hope.”

Because of his discovery of the association between forgiveness therapy and the healing from trauma, Dr. Enright received in 2022 what the American Psychological Association calls “psychology’s highest awards,” the APF Gold Medal Award for Impact in Psychology.