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Thinking Man on Couch


Some reasons to use the REACH Forgiveness Process include: 

  1. Supported by more than 25 published randomized controlled trials

  2. Easy to remember

  3. Has been used in many venues including: secular and Christian universities, secular and Christian practices, college dormitories, churches, parenting groups, couple counseling, couple enrichment, couple premarital counseling, lay counseling groups, workplace reconciliations, Sunday School curricula, community organization curricula, high schools, and internationally in peacemaking efforts, justice systems, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, and more.

  4. Has been used effectively by people without mental health training 

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Dr. Everett Worthington on Why You Should Forgive and How to Do It

Dr. Everett Worthington

Everett Worthington is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) and co-editor of the Handbook of Forgiveness. He is a licensed clinical psychologist who has published over 38 books and 440 articles and scholarly chapters, mostly on forgiveness. 


His REACH model is a scientifically validated tool that provides a step-by-step process to reach forgiveness.

The REACH model was recently the subject of a global randomized controlled trial conducted across the world — the largest ever forgiveness study of its kind. It found that those who followed the REACH model showed significant reductions in unforgiveness, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms.

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REACH Forgiveness

R = Recall the hurt. 

To heal, you have to face the fact that you’ve been hurt. Make up your mind not to be snarky (i.e., nasty and hurtful), not to treat yourself like a victim, and not to treat the other person as a jerk. Make a decision to forgive. Decide that you are not going to pursue payback but you will treat the person as a valuable person.

E = Empathize with your partner.
Empathy is putting yourself in the other person’s chair. Pretend that the other
person is in an empty chair across from you. Talk to him. Pour your heart out. Then, when you’ve had your say, sit in his chair. Talk back to the imaginary you in a way that helps you see why the other person might have wronged you. This builds empathy, and even if you can’t empathize, you might feel more sympathy, compassion, or love, which helps you heal from hurt. This allows you to give …


A = Altruistic gift.
Give forgiveness as an unselfish, altruistic gift. We all can remember when we wronged someone—maybe a parent, teacher, or friend—and the person forgave us. We felt light and free. And we didn’t want to disappoint that person by doing wrong again. By forgiving unselfishly, you can give that same gift to someone who hurt you.

C = Commit.
Once you’ve forgiven, write a note to yourself—something as simple as, “Today, I forgave [person’s name] for hurting me.” This helps your forgiveness last.


H = Hold onto forgiveness.
We write notes of commitment because we will almost surely be tempted to doubt that we really forgave. We can re-read our notes. We did forgive.

Great Message of Forgiveness

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