VCU Psychology Department

Does forgiving others affect your meaning in life?

Relationships are a vital source of meaning in life. But conflicts are inevitable in every relationship. Might forgiving an offense by your partner increase or restore how meaningful you feel your life is? read more...


How can we track the psychosocial functioning of patients?

Understanding a patient’s psychological profile over time can aid in diagnosis, assessment, and treatment planning. What method can we use to track the psychosocial functioning of patients? read more...


Dr. Everett Worthington, Jr.

Professor (tenured)

Counseling Psychology (primary)

Social Psychology, Health 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



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. (2013). Research on forgiveness and religion/spirituality: A meta-analytic review. Psychology of Religion and Spirituality, 5, 233-241.

Ripley, J. S., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2014). Couple therapy: A new hope-focused approach. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

Wade, N. G., Hoyt, W. T., Kidwell, J. E. M., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2014). Efficacy of psychotherapeutic interventions to promote forgiveness: A meta-analysis. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 82, 154-170.

Recent Courses
Recent Grants

Forgiveness in Africa. Principal Investigator. September 19, 2014-September 18, 2017 Templeton World Charity Foundation, $938,248 TC ($838,903 DC).

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.