VCU Psychology Department

Do physicians’ racial biases affect clinical decision making?

Research has demonstrated that automatic, and sometimes unconscious, racial bias can affect how we make decisions about others. But can it influence something as important as a medical decision? read more...


What affects parenting in high-risk communities?

We know that living in high-risk communities is stressful for parents and youth. How does stress, including exposure to violence, affect parents’ management of their adolescents? read more...


How can we predict future rates of tobacco use?

Longitudinal population-based surveys of tobacco use can depict current prevalence levels as well as transitions over time, but how can they be used to forecast those in the future? read more...


Can coping skills help the bereaved bend but not break?

How do college students cope when a loved one dies? Bereavement is difficult at any time in life, but is coping with bereavement different for college undergraduates? read more...

school lunch

Why are VCU researchers dumpster diving?

If school cafeterias force children to take fruits and vegetables on their lunch trays, will students eat them? Will they like them more over time when fruits and vegetables are served regularly? 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.