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VCU Psychology Department

Can people have a "relationship" with the natural world?

Human behavior is at the root of the rapid pace of climate change. What leads people to perceive greater interdependence with the environment? How does their commitment to the environment predict pro-environmental behavior? read more...


What increases emergency visits in children with asthma?

How are family/culturally-based beliefs about asthma, caregiver quality of life, and emergency department use associated in pediatric asthma? read more...


Can we train students' brains to work more effectively?

Direct cognitive training in a school setting represents an important innovation for developing the underlying thinking skills needed for educational success. Can we make computers better "trainers"? read more...


Can you strengthen your character in six hours?

Religious and secular self-help experts have long helped people build character strengths. But can people achieve as much—or even more!—benefit by working through six-hour workbooks at home? read more...


Dr. Everett Worthington, Jr.

Professor (tenured)

Director, Counseling Psychology Program (primary)

Social Psychology and Developmental Psychology (secondary)


PhD (1978), University of Missouri-Columbia

Licensed Clinical Psychologist, Virginia

APS Fellow

APA Fellow (Div 17 Counseling Psychology and Div 36 Religion and Spirituality)

Contact Information

Phone: 804-828-1150

Office: 800 W Franklin, rm 101


Web sites: Forgiveness and Marriage Resources, Forgiving Yourself, and A Campaign for Forgiveness

Research and Clinical Interests

I study (1) forgiveness and related constructs (such as justice, humility, and mercy) and the REACH Forgiveness intervention (which has 22 outcome studies from many labs supporting its efficacy), (2) religion and spirituality in counseling and marriage, especially (but not exclusively) Christianity, and (3) the Hope-Focused Couple Approach to marriage/couple enrichment, which has been adjudicated as one of four having enough evidence to merit a designation of empirically supported. Many publications combine two or three of these topics. I suppose these all would fit under a general heading of Positive Psychology today. Thus, our research lab is the Positive Psychology Research Group.

Selected Publications

Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2013). Moving forward: Six steps to forgiving yourself and breaking free from the past. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook/Multnomah.

Worthington, E. L., Jr., Johnson, E. L., Hook, J. N. & Aten, J. D. (Eds.). (2013). Evidence-based practices for Christian counseling and psychotherapy. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press (a CAPS Book).

Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., Hook, J. N., & Hill, P. C. (in press). Research on religion/spirituality and forgiveness: A meta-analytic review. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality.

Wade, N. G., Hoyt, W. T., Kidwell, J. E. M., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (in press). Meta-analysis of psychotherapeutic interventions to promote forgiveness. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology.

Worthington, E. L., Jr., Hook, J. N., Davis, D. E., Gartner, A. L., & Jennings, D. J., II. (in press). Conducting empirical research on religiously accommodated treatments. In K. I. Pargament (Ed.-in-Chief), A. Mahoney, & E. Shafranske (Assoc. Eds.), APA handbooks in psychology: APA handbook of psychology, religion, and spirituality: Vol 2. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.

Recent Courses
Recent Grants

Relational humility. Principal Investigator (Co-Investigators D. E. Davis, J. N. Hook). January 2010-December 2014. John Templeton Foundation, $344,584 TC ($299,638 DC).

Forgiveness in Christian Colleges. Principal Investigator ( Co-Is: N. Wade, C. Witvliet, S. J. Sandage). September 2001-November 2013. Fetzer Institute, $72,000 TC ($65,000 DC).

Forgiveness and relational spirituality. Principal Investigator (Co-Investigators M. McCullough, S. Sandage). September 2006-August 2010. Fetzer Institute, $350,000 DC and TC.