Before Forgiving: Cautionary Views of Forgiveness in Psychotherapy
Publisher: Oxford University Press
ISBN 10: 0195145208
ISBN 13: 978-0195145205
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Lamb and Murphy have collected many previously-unpublished chapters by both philosophers and psychologists that examine what is at stake for those who are injured, those who injure them, and society in general when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.
"[T]his 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
About the Author
Sharon Lamb is a clinical psychologist and Associate Professor of Psychology at St. Michael's College. She has been interested in moral issues as well as abuse and victimization and has tried to combine these interests in her work. Her first book, co-edited with Jerome Kagan, was The Emergence of Morality in Young Children. Her second book, The Trouble with Blame: Victims, Perpetrators, and Responsibility was her first attempt to combine these two interests. Her recent book, New Versions of Victims: Feminists Struggle with the Concept is a cultural critique of the idea of the victim in the historical present, and forthcoming is The Secret Lives of Girls: Sex, Aggression, and Guilt Jeffrie Murphy is Regents Professor of Law and Philosophy at Arizona State University. He is the author of numerous books and articles on legal and moral philosophy, including Kant: the Philosophy of Right, Forgiveness and Mercy (with Jean Hampton), and The Philosophy of Law: an Introduction to Jurisprudence (with Jules Coleman), which was selected by Choice as an "Outstanding Academic Book of 1984". His third collection of essays, Character, Liberty, and Law: Kantian Essays in Theory and Practice appeared in 1998. He has written extensively on the topic of forgiveness.