While forgiveness has become a ubiquitous theme in spirituality, recovery and New Age philosophy, the element of apology has become conspicuously absent. Engel (The Emotionally Abused Woman), a longtime therapist, takes it up as "a cause," claiming that this healing practice can prevent divorces, family estrangements, lawsuits, and even atrocities like school shooting. Giving and receiving apologies for mistakes, oversights or offenses-which many people avoid, sometimes for legal reasons-are "crucial to our mental and physical health and well-being," she asserts. Failing to admit error and express regret "adds insult to injury" and "is one of the most blatant ways of showing disrespect," she says. Engel provides detailed information on how to make "meaningful apologies that will be heard and believed," made up of the "three R's: regret, responsibility, and remedy." She is also unusually conscious of the gray areas, where apologizing or forgiving may be inappropriate or impossible, and where "overapologizing" may reflect low self-esteem. A particularly fresh and useful chapter on the workplace offers excellent practical advice for responding to unhappy clients, customers, co-workers, employers and employees. Unfortunately, Engel devotes little attention to the difficult task of asking for apologies, after declaring that "it is your responsibility" to do so when feeling injured. Her otherwise thoughtful and lucid guide to "this important but neglected aspect of forgiveness" will be welcomed by many who have struggled to ask forgiveness and to forgive. (Aug. 24) (Publishers Weekly
"In The Power of Apology, Beverly Engel looks through the eyes of both giver and receiver. She provides practical, thoughtful advice on how our everyday use of apology can transform our lives for the better."
Ted Wachtel, coauthor of the bestselling Toughlove
"Readers of this wise and lucid guide to the neglected art of authentic apology will acquire a powerful tool to help repair relationships with others, and with themselves."
Jeanne Safer, PhD author of Forgiving and Not Forgiving: Why Sometimes It's Better Not to Forgive