Forgiveness -- the Greatest Healer with Gerald Jampolsky, M.D.

WebMD Live Events Transcript

Best-selling author and psychiatrist Gerald Jampolsky, MD, will discuss forgiveness, a healing process that holds the key to health and well-being.

The opinions expressed herein are the guests' alone and have not been reviewed by a WebMD physician. If you have questions about your health, you should consult your personal physician. This event is meant for informational purposes only.

Event_Moderator Welcome to WebMD Live. Today we will be discussing Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer, with Gerald Jampolsky, M.D.

Gerald Jampolsky, M.D., author of "Forgiveness: The Greatest Healer of All," is an internationally recognized authority in the fields of psychiatry, health, business, and education. Dr. Jampolsky is a child and adult psychiatrist, a graduate of Stanford Medical School, an author, and an inspirational speaker. He learned about forgiveness by helping thousands of people over the past 30 years deal with the psychological, social, and spiritual aspects of facing both chronic and life-threatening illnesses. He is the founder of The Center for Attitudinal Healing. There are now over 130 satellite centers around the world. Dr. Jampolsky's pioneering work at the Center eventually led him to consult in Bosnia, Russia, and Ghana on the importance of attitudinal healing and forgiveness. Dr. Jampolsky is the author of numerous best-selling books including "Love is Letting Go of Fear" (with over 3.5 million copies in print). Dr. Jampolsky, welcome to WebMD Live. What prompted you to explore the issues of forgiveness?

Jampolsky_Speaker I've had a lot of problems with forgiveness in my own life. I was a pretty judgmental person, being I was right and a lot of other people wrong. After a painful divorce of 20 years, I had a lot of judgments and blame, as well as my ex-wife. I thought we had a relationship that would never be healed after our divorce. 1975 I had a spiritual awakening and began to live a different kind of life. I was an alcoholic at the time. I came across a book called "Inquiries in Miracles" that changed my life; it suggested we could live a life where the peace of mind and peace of God could be our goals. We could learn to listen to an inner voice that could teach us to what to think, say and do. I began a forgiveness process in my life that allowed me to feel peace in a way I had never felt before. I began working with people that were dying and found that many of their difficulties around pain and medication had to do with their problems around forgiving themselves. Forgiveness has been very important to me.

What prompted me to write the book. Two years ago my wife, Dr. Diane Cirincione, and I were invited to Bosnia at the invitation of the spiritual leaders there in a conference on reconciliation and forgiveness. These people have seen atrocities on the other side, and they've seen awful things done by the Croatians. There was a lot of tension coming there, because they had forgotten what forgiveness had looked like, but the process of forgiveness became very important to them. It's more of a handbook a person can have at their bedside. As we enter the new millennium, the bridge of forgiveness is going to be one of the most important things we can do. We can stop recycling anger and fear.

Gracia_WebMD I feel conflicted about being forgiving, accepting my partner's right to be as he is and my right to a certain level of nurturance. I mean, how much fulfillment of my needs should I expect?

Jampolsky_Speaker I believe that it's very important for each of us to take responsibility for our own happiness and that our happiness is not to be determined on what another person does, otherwise we give the power to our partners as the people to decide whether we will be peaceful or happy. Forgiveness means letting go of the painful past. It doesn't mean agreeing with an act or condoning something terrible. It doesn't mean another person is responsible for what that person has done, but it does mean a willingness to no longer hold on to the painful past and the anger that's still inside about not getting what you want from another person. Justified anger does not bring peace of mind and that's why its so important to have peace of mind to forgive our partners. I don't see how a relationship can continue unless forgiveness is at the core of that relationship. On the other hand, there are relationships that are very destructive. A man might be beating his partner and it's important for the partner not to remain in that relationship. A lot of people think that when you forgive someone you don't create a boundary. It's not true; it's important for us to learn where to create boundaries so we don't get involved in an unhealthy environment. It's important for a wife not to stay with an alcoholic husband that beats her. It's important to create a boundary to not stay in that type of relationship.

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