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Dr. Toussaint's Research

The main objective of my research is to broadly understand religious and spiritual factors, especially forgiveness, and how they are related to mental and physical health and well-being. I have published a number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles and scientific book chapters, and authored dozens of conference presentations and invited talks in Australia, Austria, Great Britain, Greece, and the United States. I have been involved in forgiveness research in Australia, Chile, Germany, India, Korea, Lithuania, Spain, Sierra Leone, South Africa, and Switzerland. I have worked with colleagues at Mayo Clinic and the University of Michigan Medical Center to understand the role of forgiveness in fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, spinal cord injury, and substance use. I continue to seek new avenues in which to better understand and incorporate forgiveness in medicine.

Another central piece of my work has been ongoing since 2007 when I began a Peace Through Forgiveness initiative in collaboration with colleagues at Stanford University and the Dele-Peddle International school in Sierra Leone. This has now become known as the Sierra Leone Forgiveness Project. A week-long forgiveness institute was held at Stanford University in the summer of 2011 that stimulated on-going forgiveness workshops and research in Sierra Leone at present.

I direct the Laboratory for the Investigation of Mind, Body, and Spirit at Luther College, and have mentored dozens of students. Several of these students have been co-authors on peer-reviewed research papers and presentations. Recently the lab was awarded funding from the Associated Colleges of the Midwest for a project titled, A Collaborative Scholarship Model for Liberal Arts Colleges: Applications for the Psychology of Forgiveness. This work involves the collaboration of laboratories at Luther and Grinnell Colleges to investigate psycho-spiritual approaches to promoting forgiveness.

My research has been highlighted in a number of print, online, and radio media outlets such as: New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Des Moines Register, Greater Good, Miller-McCune, Ladies Home Journal, Scotland on Sunday, Men’s Health, Psychology Today, and the Associated Press.