StorkNet interview with
Edward M. Hallowell, MD
Author of
Dare to Forgive, Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness,
Human Moments: How to Find Meaning and Love in Your Everyday Life, and
Driven To Distraction: Recognizing and Coping
with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood

Edward M. Hallowell, M.D.

Dare to ForgiveIn his newest book, Dare To Forgive, best-selling author, Edward M. Hallowell, M.D., shows that forgiveness is essential to living a healthy and happy life. His groundbreaking ideas include a practical, four part plan to help you face one of life's most difficult personal challenges and find the strength to forgive. Dare To Forgive uses true stories to illustrate the power of forgiveness and to support Dr. Hallowell's research. Whether you're holding a lifelong grudge or being eaten alive by the daily frustration of modern life, this easy-to understand book will show you the way to draw upon a remote and hard-to-reach kind of wisdom within.

"Ned Hallowell possesses the most inspiring and optimistic voice emerging from the American medical community today . . .He brings his scientific knowledge and his generous heart to bear on the problems that afflict our lives and those of our children, and we are the better for his unique vision."
-Michael Thompson, Ph.D.
New York Times bestselling coauthor of Raising Cain and Best Friends, Worst Enemies

Childhood Roots of Adult HappinessChildhood Roots of Adult Happiness
Here, at last, is a book brimming with the good news of raising children-the basic reassuring news about happiness and unconditional love, about enduring family connections and helping kids grow up to become happy, responsible adults.

In this groundbreaking book, best-selling author Edward M. Hallowell, M.D. presents a carefully thought-out, research-based approach for understanding what makes children feel good about themselves and the world they live in.

Ultimately, this book is a celebration of childhood and of the magic that happens between parents and the children they love. This is a wonderful book for all of us who love children.

Human MomentsHuman Moments: How to Find Meaning and Love in Your Everyday Life
In this book Dr. Hallowell tells true stories from his own life as well as the lives of many other people like yourself to demonstrate the power of the human moment, which he defines as "any moment when we feel strongly in the presence of something that matters deeply to us". The book tells of human moments within families, with friends, with romantic partners, and with colleagues at work; it tells of human moments in the world of spirituality, and human moments alone, moments of self-discovery.

Says Dr. Hallowell of this book, "This is my most personal book, and the book in which I focus most closely on what I think is ultimately important in life."

Connect: 12 Vital Ties That Open Your Heart, Lengthen Your Life, and Deepen Your Soul
The promise of wellness and satisfaction has never been as ubiquitous in our culture as it is now. Images of happy people stare out at us from magazine pages and television screens; they are successful and busy, hurrying from office to the opera, eating healthfully and acting responsibly. We are a nation of achievers but, as Dr. Edward Hallowell makes clear in CONNECT, what sustains us -- emotionally, psychologically, physically -- is connectedness, the feeling that we are part of something that matters, something larger than ourselves that gives life its meaning, direction, and purpose.

WorryWorry: Hope and Help for a Common Condition
In this lucid, reassuring book, Dr. Hallowell discusses all types of worry, explores their underlying causes, and considers the best strategies for coping. Case histories and anecdotes illuminate such issues as worry in relationships; the correlation between worry and conditions such as depression, social phobia, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder; worry at work; and the worried child. In an effective section titled "Remedies That Work," Dr. Hallowell shows us how to evaluate, control, and manage worry, both with and without medication.

When You Worry About The Child You Love: Emotional and Learning Problems in Children
Nothing upsets parents more than the worry that their child may have an emotional or learning problem. Why does he or she seem so anxious or depressed or disruptive? Is this a serious problem or simply part of the normal developmental process? Dr. Edward Hallowell explores the various kinds of problems children may contend with that have a biological or genetic basis to them.

Driven To Distraction: Recognizing and Coping with Attention Deficit Disorder from Childhood Through Adulthood
Through vivid stories of the experiences of their patients (both adults and children), Drs.. Hallowell and Ratey show the varied forms ADD takes -- from the hyperactive search for high stimulation to the floating inattention of precise diagnosis and treatment. The authors explain when and how medication can be extraordinarily helpful, and since both doctors have ADD, their advice on effective behavior-modification techniques for overcoming the syndrome is enriched by their own experience.

Answers to DistractionAnswers to Distraction
Drs. Hallowell and Ratey respond to the questions their enormous and expanding audience has most often asked them about ADD. The result is a 'user's guide' to ADD presented in a question-and-answer format ideal for even the most distractible reader. Each chapter covers a specific element of ADD, enabling readers to find quickly the aspect that most concerns them, such as ADD in woman, ADD and aggression, or ADD and work. The authors provide advice for teachers on recognizing ADD and helping students cope with it and, in a special section, give easy-to-understand explanations for children and adolescents who have ADD.


A graduate of Harvard College and Tulane School of Medicine, Dr. Hallowell is a child and adult psychiatrist and the founder of The Hallowell Center for Cognitive and Emotional Health in Sudbury, MA. He has also been on the faculty of the Harvard Medical School since 1983.

Dr. Hallowell is an expert at offering practical ways to approach some of life's most difficult challenges. He is the author of the national bestseller, Driven to Distraction, and Answers to Distraction, both of which address attention deficit disorder in children and adults.

He has also written books addressing emotional issues such as worry (Worry and When You Worry About the Child You Love), raising happy children (The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness), the importance of connection in today's world (Connect), and finding meaning in everyday life and love (Human Moments), among others.

From corporate audiences to parent-teacher workshops, people who listen to Dr. Hallowell come away stimulated, inspired, amused and always better informed. He is a charismatic speaker, combining the knowledge of a Harvard instructor with the warm, easy manner of an experienced public speaker.

Dr. Hallowell lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sue, a social worker, and their three children.

Visit Dr. Hallowell at

Learn the art of forgiveness... In Dare To Forgive, Dr. Hallowell addresses one of the most thorny issues of everyday life - how do we, and why should we, forgive? From the small disagreements we have regularly, to the tragedies of divorce, estrangement, even murder, Dr. Hallowell writes with optimism, warmth and compassion about the whys and how-tos of forgiveness. "To understand forgiveness," writes Hallowell, "you must first understand what forgiveness is not. Read more....

Dr. Hallowell is an expert at offering practical ways to approach some of life's most difficult challenges. He is the author of the national bestseller, Driven To Distraction, and Answers to Distraction, both of which address attention deficit disorder in children and adults. See his many other book titles in the column on the left.

Dr. Hallowell comes to StorkNet with answers to many of the questions we may have as parents and adults. Topics include the art of forgiveness, finding the power and meaning in the day to day moments of life, how to become more connected, coping with worry, and understanding and guiding our children through the struggles of AD/HD.

StorkNet: Dr. Hallowell, welcome to StorkNet! Thank you from all of us for visiting our site and talking about forgiveness, the topic of your new book. Hope you won't mind if some of our readers toss in a few questions about some of the other topics you are known for. This is our chance to gather up some of your helpful knowledge and inspiration on a number of very important topics. We're anxious to hear more about Dare to Forgive! Let's begin...

Dr. Hallowell: I'm really happy to join you on this wonderfully informative and friendly website. Being here brings back many memories . . . my kids are now 14, 11, and 8, but it seems just yesterday that my wife, Sue, was pregnant with Tucker, our third child. Being 54, I am an older dad, so it is great to be with all the youth represented on this site!

Keem: Are there certain incidents that you consider unforgivable? That you consider it best to just move on with life? And can you forgive someone of something but choose to no longer include them in your life?

Dr. Hallowell: Before I answer that, I should define what I mean by the word, forgive. When I use that word I use it to mean renouncing the hold that anger and resentment have over you. I do not mean that you let the other person off the hook, or that you condone what the other person did, or that you allow the other person to go free, or that you even ever have contact with the other person again. I simply mean that you set yourself free of the hold that anger and resentment have over you. In this sense, forgiveness is a gift you give to yourself, and to the people who love you. It makes you healthier and more productive, as well as happier.

Keeping that definition in mind, I would say that there is no unforgivable act. And yes, to be sure, you can forgive a person but choose to have nothing to do with that person ever again.

Liz: How is the process different or what recommendations would you make if the "person" you need to forgive is God?

Dr. Hallowell: Hi, Liz. Most of us who believe in God, and as an Episcopalian I count myself as a believer, get angry with God now and then. Forgiving God, i.e., getting past you anger at God, is a unique undertaking, for obvious reasons. Since we all relate to God in different and personal ways, I wouldn't want to prescribe any one method. However, it is fair to say that you should keep the dialog with God open. However you do that is up to you. Just try not to shut God out of your life altogether.

Arianna: My father passed away five years ago. We had a very rocky relationship due to his temper and inability to form a father/daughter relationship. I'd like to forgive him, but I don't know how. How would I go about it, and is it too late? I'm having so much trouble getting there, but I know that not forgiving him is holding me back in many ways. Thank you, Dr. Hallowell.

Dr. Hallowell: That is a beautiful question, Arianna. I call it beautiful, because your desire to forgive him bespeaks a beauty within you. A proper answer to your question would be lengthy, which is why I wrote a book. I hope you will read my book, Dare to Forgive. In it you will find stories and suggestions that speak directly to your dilemma.

The short answer is that it is not too late. It is NEVER to late to forgive, to get past anger and resentment. And you are quite perceptive when you say that your anger is probably holding you back in life. You have taken the first steps on the road to forgiveness already. You have acknowledged your pain and anger, you have expressed a desire to get past that, and you have reached out for help. You are well on your way.

Calvin: Dr. Hallowell, I picked up your book this week and am about 150 pages into it. I have found it very helpful so far. Do you give workshops on forgiveness?

Dr. Hallowell: Calvin, I want to give workshops on forgiveness but I have not yet scheduled any. If I could get a sense from visitors to this web site that there is be sufficient interest, I will set them up. Please contact this site if you are interested, so I can get sense of the potential numbers.

Babydust: Hello. Are there different kinds of forgiveness? Do I have to be friendly with the person I forgive, and does he have to know I've forgiven him?

Dr. Hallowell: In my book I describe 9 types of forgiveness. You certainly do not have to be friendly with the person you forgive. And no, he does not have to know that you forgive him. Sometimes it is best not to have any contact with a person who has deeply hurt you. You just go through the process of forgiving him on your own, then move on.

Brenda: My question pertains to my job. I have been in my current position for two years. I have grown to really love my position and my job duties. It is not where I originally headed in my career but I feel as though I've found something that really fits my gifts. Unfortunately my boss makes my work situation very difficult. She is not only abrasive and rude to people, but unethical in some of her business practices. She is the only thing I don't enjoy about my job and has caused lots of distress in the last several months. I've tried to consider myself the "bigger" person by trying to forgive and forget. I've tried to be the peacekeeper around the office with the hope that I could continue to rise above it all. Unfortunately, I'm growing rather weary with this process. I've tried discussing the situation with her and confronting her with some of her behavior, but it doesn't seem to help. The bottom line is that she's not going to change and she's not going anywhere. Am I giving up too quickly? Should I remove myself from the situation by trying to find another job? Or is there something I can try to change about my own attitude to make things more bearable? I guess what I'm trying to ask is if there is a line when we should be done trying to forgive and forget? Thank you for your time.

Dr. Hallowell: Brenda, I don't think your question is about forgiveness as much as it is about job selection. You are asking, How much bad can I put up with in a good job? It is almost as if you had a dream job, but a skunk lived under your desk and sprayed once a day, and you couldn't get rid of the skunk. Would the stink make you leave your dream job? Tough question. It isn't about forgiveness as much as a cost/benefit analysis. Personally, I would try VERY hard to neutralize the skunk somehow before I left the dream job. I'd call pest control; I'd get odor eaters; I'd try and move my desk. I'd try everything I could think of first.

Roberta: Dr. Hallowell, thank-you for coming to StorkNet to answer our questions!

I have just started to wonder if I might have ADD. I reviewed the Suggested Diagnostic Criteria for AD/HD in Adults. I answered 15 of the items as a defiant yes and one maybe. During the last eight years I have been in and out of treatment with a psychiatrist. The first three years were weekly intensive talk therapy combined with appropriate drugs. Since then it has been on an "as needed" basis.

I was an abused child. My mother was my primary abuser. When my psychiatrist met my mother, he said he believed she was bi-polar. However he wanted her to have additional evaluations to verify this. She refused.

My doctor diagnosed me as clinically depressed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. He also said that I was highly disassociative. For the most part, the three years of therapy helped me control my disassociativeness and my depression. However, I still have a great deal of trouble with concentration, procrastination, finishing tasks, etc. And I still have severe issues with anxiety and self-confidence / self-esteem.

I have tried many, many medications (several SSRIs, Buspar, Klonapin, Ativan, Wellbutrin, low dose Rispadil. the list goes on) and none of these medications have fully addressed my anxiety and my concentration issues.

My question(s): 1) The diagnostic Criteria for ADD seem similar to GAD and depression. What are the primary factors to help someone distinguish between the disorders? 2) Also, given my background, would it be possible to have both ADD and GAD? 3) With my background, I have had difficulty with doctors looking at alternatives to GAD, Post Traumatic Shock Syndrome, and depression. If you agree that I should pursue this diagnosis, how do you recommend I approach the doctor? Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell: Roberta, there is a great deal of overlap between the diagnoses you mention. Without knowing you, I can't tell you what is going on. However, it is good to get a second opinion. And it is good to see a doctor you really trust, a doctor who has a lot of experience in diagnosing all the conditions you mention. If you do have ADD, a trial of a stimulant medication, such as Adderal might help, or a trial of the new medication, Strattera, might help. In addition, physical exercise is a superb treatment for ADD and GAD. By all means, try that for sure.

Tanya: How can you help a young child control his impulses to be violent? My son is 4 and I believe he has ADHD he exhibits all of the signs I have read about. At his next Dr's appointment we will be asking to have him evaluated for it but until than I am having a very hard time getting him to control his violence. A lot of the time when he hits someone he does it for no reason. He realizes its wrong and usually goes and puts himself in a time-out for it but he still continues to do it. He will be attending school this fall and I would like it if I were able to help him control his impulses.

Dr. Hallowell: Hi, Tanya. You need to get a really solid evaluation done on your son. Violent behavior has many different causes. I can offer some basic suggestions, but you really should consult with a child psychiatrist to get a correct diagnosis.

My suggestions would include:

  1. Make sure he gets LOTS of physical exercise every day;
  2. Make sure he gets enough sleep;
  3. Limit the amount of television he watches to no more than 30 minutes a day;
  4. Watch his diet and try to eliminate refined sugar, additives, junk food, and cola;
  5. Read aloud to him at least once a day;
  6. Play games with him in which he has to put feelings into words;
  7. Spend at least 30 minutes a day of "special time" with him in which you do whatever he wants to do, as long as it is safe and it is legal.

Ben'sMom: Dr. Hallowell, does your book help us learn how to teach our children to forgive? Thank you.

Dr. Hallowell: Yes, my the suggestions in my book apply to children as well as to adults. I think it important to teach children HOW to forgive, not just tell them to do it.

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