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Interventions to promote forgiveness in couple and family context: conceptualization, review, and analysis.

Forgiveness interventions have not been adapted for children, couples, families, and also specifically with Christians. Conceptualization and theorizing have lagged empirical studies. We use a stress-and-coping conceptualization of forgiveness to provide a framework for understanding forgiveness in family context, especially with Christians. Although several evidence-based interventions to promote forgiveness have been developed, few have targeted children, early adolescents, parents, families, and Christians. However, most will likely resonate with Christian beliefs and values and can be adapted to Christian families. More target high school adolescents and couples. Most are adaptations of (a) Enright's process model of forgiveness, (b) Worthington's emotional forgiveness through the REACH Forgiveness program, (c) DiBlasio's Decision-based model, and (d) Worthington's Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy--FREE--model. Such interventions need to be manualized and studied empirically to determine their efficacy in family context.

Forgiveness is perhaps the central value to Christianity (Marty, 1998)--and with love is certainly one of the two most central values. Jesus told his followers to love their enemies (Mt 5:44), and he even made divine forgiveness contingent on forgiving people who sinned against them (Mt 6:14-5). However, forgiving is difficult, and Christians struggle with this central value of their faith (Smedes, 1984). Christians are not the only people who value forgiveness, nor are they the only ones who struggle with it. Each of the five major religions also values forgiveness (Rye et al., 2000), though each understands it differently, and forgiveness was long considered a religious construct.

Christians seek to forgive for many reasons (Worthington, 2009). These include because (a) there is Scriptural mandate for forgiving (Mt 6:12, 14-15), (b) it is a way of loving one's enemies (Worthington, Lerner, Sharp, C., & Sharp, J., 2006), (c) it is consistent with other Christian values on families, (d) it is part of life in the body of Christ (Jones, 1995), and (e) it is instrumentally useful to one's physical, mental, relational, and spiritual health (Smedes, 1984). Yet despite the benefits, little attention has been paid to how to forgive faster, more deeply, and in more situations. This deficit has not been evident with adults in groups or in psychotherapy, but has been evident: within the family.

In this conceptualization and review, we seek to accomplish five tasks. First, we set the stage with a description of a theoretical framework that explains forgiveness, its development, and its practice in the family. The crucial role played by parents is noted. We especially consider families in which one or more of the adults is a Christian. Whereas not all interventions have drawn on the conceptualization we advance, the present conceptualization is one that can help understand even interventions arising from other assumptions. Second, we review interventions to promote forgiveness especially within families. Unfortunately, as we will see, few interventions to promote forgiveness in the family have been explicitly Tailored to deal specifically with Christian children, young adolescents, marriages, parents, or families as a whole. We focus on interventions to promote forgiveness that are available to the secular public because religious people--many of whom are Christians--make a substantial proportion of the general population. Thus, because a high proportion of the public at least endorses a belief in God, say they pray and worship regularly, and might even seek religiously or spiritually oriented interventions to promote forgiveness, we draw upon the secular interventions. Third, we examine all interventions explicitly tailored to Christians. Fourth, we review the empirical studies of the efficacy of the interventions. Fifth, we draw conclusions that advise Christian clinicians and clinical researchers on the future use and study of forgiveness in Christian families.


We use a stress-and-coping model to understand forgiveness (Worthington, 2006a). Stress-and-coping models begin with stressors.

Transgressions and Their Appraisals

Transgressions are understood to be stressors that provide a demand to change for the victim. Transgressions violate people's psychological or physical boundaries. People appraise the transgression along the dimensions of degree of hurtfulness, injury, severity, and duration. However, they also make a primary appraisal--is this potentially harmful? Answering yes to that question provokes the secondary appraisal--can I cope?

Coping Responses

People can cope with transgressions by seeking to re-establish justice or redress the injustice. They may do this by enacting revenge or by appealing to some formal system to reestablish societal justice--such as through judicial, criminal, political, or social avenues. They may seek personal justice in the form of pursuing an apology or restitution. Or they might turn judgment over to a divine power to bring justice about.

People might also respond to transgressions by trying to control their emotions. They might forebear their immediate responses to the transgression. Forbearing is withstanding and perhaps suppressing anger and hatred while controlling negative emotions. People might also simply accept the transgressions and the injustice and move on with their life. Acceptance acknowledges injustice and its ill effects but reduces the future importance of the event in governing one's behavior. It releases one from emotion by giving up one's expectations for the redress of injustice. People might reduce injustice through narrative approaches by excusing (i.e., recounting mitigating circumstances) or justifying (i.e., telling how they were in the wrong and the offender was within his or her rights to offend) transgressions against themselves. Essentially, they tell a different story about the transgression.


Finally, people might deal with injustice by forgiving. There are two distinct types of forgiving. Emotional forgiveness is the emotional replacement of negative unforgiving emotions (like bitterness, resentment, and anger) by positive other-oriented emotions such as empathy, sympathy, compassion, or love (Worthington, 2003, 2006a). When people forgive, their negative emotions subside. They are less motivated to get revenge or avoid the transgressor, and, if forgiving is complete, they might feel love, compassion, sympathy, or empathy for the transgressor (DiBlasio, 1998). Some people grant (silently to themselves) decisional forgiveness, which applies to their behavioral intentions toward the offender. They decide not to seek revenge, not to avoid the transgressor (unless continued interaction is potentially dangerous), and to treat the person as a person of worth even though they might not have completely forgiven the person emotionally. Decisional forgiveness is a sincere intention statement about controlling one's future behavior (Worthington, 2003, 2006a). Forgiveness may be initiated by-reasoning, simply experiencing positive other-oriented emotions toward the transgressor, acting kindly toward the transgressor, or having the transgressor act contritely or in a way that provokes empathy, sympathy, compassion, or love.

Talking about Transgressions

Neither decisional nor emotional forgiveness is necessarily involved if one says aloud that one forgives a person. Talking about forgiveness is clearly different than either the intrapersonal experience of making a decision to forgive or of experiencing emotional forgiveness (Worthington, 2006a). For instance, one might say one forgives because one is trying to disarm the offender so that revenge can he exacted. Or alternatively, one could easily forgive--the decisionally and emotionally--and yet not tell the other person that one forgives because one might know that guilt will elicit from the offender many guilt-motivated benefits to the victim.

Most Childhood "Forgiveness" Is Likely Talking about Forgiveness, Not Actually Forgiving Internally

A child can be induced to say that he or she grants decisional forgiveness at very early ages (Worthington, 2006b). Parents can model apologizing, asking for forgiveness, and saying, "I forgive you." They can instruct children to foreswear avoidance and revenge and to treat the other person as if the other person were a person of great worth (i.e., decisional forgiveness). If the child complies, the child's behavior is consistent with an internal decision to forgive. Yet the internal world of the child might not have been accessed. Mischel (1973) showed that children imitate their parents' behavior. For example, if a parent says, "I forgive you" but acts vengefully, the child will likely do likewise. By controlling his or her negative behavior toward an offender, the child might even experience changed negative emotions and motivations, thus come to emotionally forgive as an internal experience. The child, if cognitively developed enough, might actually make a decision internally--but that requires cognitive development to where internal speech is governing the child's behavior. But importantly, the child also might not experience emotional forgiveness in tandem with decisional forgiveness, and neither is a necessary link to the child's saying that he or she forgives.

Reasoning about Forgiveness

Enright and his colleagues (see Enright & Fitzgibbons, 2000, for a review) have conducted substantial research on the development of reasoning about forgiveness. They identified six stages of development of reasoning capacity in children. Enright's stages, which emphasize mercy, parallel Kohlberg's (1984) six stages of reasoning about justice. The time-tables of development of reasoning about justice and mercy are also parallel.

In Enright's model, very young children think that forgiveness will help them avoid punishment (stage 1) or get rewards (stage 2). As children progress into middle childhood and early adolescence, they become capable of reasoning that considers social disapproval and approval for their responses to transgressions. They thus might say they forgive, depending on the contingencies, when they do not feel forgiving at all. Only in adolescence are children thought to be capable of reasoning abstractly about forgiveness.

In some ways, the consideration of how children develop the capacity to reason about forgiveness is less important than whether children actually experience forgiveness after a transgression. One's capacity to forgive (for instance) at stage 5 (in the Kohlbergian and Enright schemes) does not imply that one will ever actually forgive. We all know brilliant adults with highly developed reasoning capabilities who are spiteful, bitter, unforgiving, and vindictive.

Presumably, most parents and other authority figures (like teachers, religious leaders, and day care personnel) want children to develop into forgiving adults. This is especially true in Christian families due to the Christian mandate to forgive. Presumably, they also will not merely wait until children develop mature reasoning capacity to forgive, but they will intervene early and often to promote forgiving in their children.

We believe that interventions by patents and by mental health professionals and other adult educators can help children develop age-appropriate forgiveness even when the children are very young. Usually they will help the parents; (a) become more forgiving as a couple, (b) learn how to coach their children to make decisions to forgive, experience emotional forgiveness, and (c) communicate forgiveness as congruently as they can.

Clearly, children's or adolescents' capacity to reason in such a way that they conclude they should forgive can be important to whether they emotionally forgive or make an internal decision to forgive. To reason that one should forgive for reasons more socially and spiritually motivated than motivated by rewards and punishments will also affect how children and adolescents think about and try to experience forgiving. So, development of reasoning capacities is not unimportant to actually forgiving.

However, by understanding emotional forgiveness as an emotional replacement of negative with positive emotions, we are led to understand the development of forgiveness as being more complex than mere obedience ("Tell your sister that you forgive her, Johnny. She won't flush any more of your pet goldfish down the toilet") or as being primarily a function of cognitive development (although clearly some minimal level of cognitive development is necessary).

Other developmental considerations besides level of cognitive reasoning that are important to forgiving. Other developmental considerations that are in line with the child's emotional development are important to understanding whether children actually forgive and at which ages (Denham et al., 2005). First, temperament is important. Babies often develop easy, difficult, slow-to-warm-up, or mixed temperaments by-three months (Gottman et al., 1996). Temperament is important to the development of forgiveness, but it is of little importance to intervention. Second, childhood attachment to parental love objects should be expected to influence the degree to which children experience emotional forgiveness. Because childhood attachment styles are difficult to change, assessing attachment difficulties helps clinicians understand why some children might have difficulties forgiving, but they are not usually the target of clinicians who are intervening to promote forgiveness.

Third, from the early months of a child's life, emotion regulation occurs (for an excellent review, see Denham et al., 2005). Even babies at the youngest ages learn to emotionally down-regulate negative emotions by self-soothing, calming, and distracting themselves from their frustrations. As children age, their repertoire of emotion-regulation strategies becomes more varied and sophisticated. Those strategies can be targeted for age-appropriate interventions. Even in preschool years, an early sense of empathy, sympathy, compassion and unselfish love for others can be built.

Fourth, coaching from their parents can help children broaden and deepen their emotion-regulation strategies (Gottman et al., 1996). Through emotion coaching, parents convey their meta-emotional philosophy to children. They directly and indirectly tell and show children what emotions are acceptable to experience and to express. They train children in how to deal with emotion-provoking experiences--notably (for our purposes) transgressions.

Fifth, people encounter stress throughout their lives. Stressors make demands for change. Children appraise the stressors and respond to their appraisals with stress reactions, or they respond to physical stressors, sometimes without appraisal. They try to cope with both situations and their own reactions. Clinicians can apply the stress-and-coping model of forgiveness with children, just as with adults. However, the coping strategies will differ. The development of a repertoire of emotion-focused coping strategies will facilitate or hamper forgiving depending on what types of coping strategies the child practices.

For example, a child who sees God as a hostile authority figure might be less likely to respond with forgiveness to someone who had offended him or her (especially to a parent, caregiver, or other authority figure) than would a child who perceives God to be nurturing and collaborative. Pargament (1997) has identified numerous religious and spiritual coping strategies. These religious and spiritual coping strategies--such as praying, meditating, and making positive attributions to God--can affect the capacity of the child to forgive. Prayer as a coping strategy might be more available to older children than to younger children, which demonstrates development as well.

Sixth, the religions and spiritual environment in the home will likely also affect the child's development of the experience of emotional forgiveness. Forgiveness, (decisional or emotional) in response to a transgression, is valued by every' major religion (Rye et al., 2000). It is the centerpiece of Christianity. Some religions (e.g., Judaism, Islam, and Christianity) firmly advocate decisional forgiveness and emphasize controlling one's negative behavior. Christianity also advocates emotional forgiveness in addition to decisional forgiveness. Buddhism and Hinduism also promote forgiveness (Rye et al., 2000). Religion has been found to be correlated with forgiveness in adults (for a meta-analysis, see Davis, Worthington, &C Hook, 2010). Membership in a religious denomination, which involves a belief system that values forgiveness more or less strongly, will determine what parents teach their children.

The crucial importance of parents. Altogether then, we can see that children probably learn to grant forgiveness largely depending on the parents' belief system, their practice of encouraging and rewarding the child's expression of decisional forgiveness after being transgressed against, and their modeling of decisional forgiveness. However, the development of the experiencing of emotional forgiveness (in contrast to granting decisional forgiveness) is substantially less due to external demands from parents. Instead, it is highly related to the emotional climate within the parent-child relationship, which affects the child's temperament, emotion-regulation capability, parental meta-emotional philosophy, the child's cognitive development of the ability to reason about justice and forgiveness, the repertoire of ways of coping with stress that has been built through being intentionally and unintentionally rewarded, and the religious and spiritual environment in the home and church.

We suggest that the couple, co-, and single-parenting relationships are crucial for developing forgiveness. Parents can provide both an environment that nurtures forgiveness and structures that stimulate, encourage, and reward (or punish) a child for forgiving. Through the emotional climate and environmental contingencies and structures, children develop prototypes of forgiving, and those prototypes are honed into personality dispositions as the children move beyond the home and deal with peers and other adults more frequently in their grade school, middle school, and high school years.

It is thus important to examine how psychotherapists, couple therapists, and family therapists have attempted to promote forgiveness in their work with families and individuals. Our theoretical considerations have suggested that five elements are crucial: promoting (1) decisions to forgive; (2) emotional forgiveness; (3) good couple relationships that provide a warm environment that invites restoring after a transgression; (4) facilitative talk about transgressions; and (5) a climate where Christian beliefs and values are apparent and appreciated. We reviewed the literature investigating intervention in family context. This involved school aged, middle school, and high school children, couple counseling, and parent training (see Tables 1 and 2).

Empirical Research on Interventions with Children, Middle School
Adolescents, and High School Adolescents

Study             Source           Participants      Intervention


Hepp-Dax (1996)   Dissertation     23 fifth-grade    An 8-session,
                                   students ages     4-week group based
                                   10-12 years       on the process
                                                     model of
                                                     (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Adolescents (Middle School)

Freedman & Knupp  Journal Article  10 adolescents    8 weekly
(2003)                             in junior high    educational group
                                   school who had    sessions based on
                                   experienced       the process model
                                   parental divorce  of forgiveness
                                   ages 12-14        (Enright &
                                   years             Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Gambaro (2002)    Dissertation     12 middle school  Educational
                                   students ages     program conducted
                                   12-14 years       2x per week for 12
                                                     weeks based on the
                                                     process model of
                                                     (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Hui & Chau        Journal Article  56 Chinese        8 educational
(2009)                             children in       forgiveness
                                   grade six who     sessions were
                                   had judged        conducted over a
                                   themselves to be  2-month period
                                   hurt and chose    based on the
                                   not to forgive    Enright Process
                                   their offenders   model of
                                                     (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Adolescents (High School)

Beck (2005)       Dissertation     76 adolescents    A 6-session
                                   from private and  workshop based on
                                   alternative       the REACH model of
                                   schools ages      forgiveness
                                   14-18 years       (Worthington,
                                                     2003) conducted
                                                     over a six-week

Gassin (1995)     Dissertation     19 juniors and    An 8-session
                                   seniors in high   psychological
                                   school who had    curriculum that
                                   been injured by   did not explicitly
                                   a romantic        discuss
                                   partner           forgiveness, but
                                                     participants to
                                                     ideas to a hurtful

Hui & Ho (2004)   Journal Article  63 male Chinese   8 educational
                                   students in Hong  forgiveness
                                   Kong; mean age    sessions were
                                   16 years          conducted over a
                                                     4-week period based
                                                     on the Enright
                                                     Process model of
                                                     (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Klatt (2008)      Dissertation     12 adolescent     12-week forgiveness
                                   males in a        intervention added
                                   juvenile          to the usual
                                   correctional      treatment plan
                                   facility ages     based on the
                                   12-17 years       Strengthening

Park (2003)       Dissertation     48 Korean         12-week program
                                   adolescent        based on the
                                   females who had   Enright
                                   been victims of   Forgiveness
                                   aggression ages   process model
                                   12-21 years       (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Perez (2007)      Dissertation     7 adolescent      15-week group
                                   males in a        intervention based
                                   residential       on the Enright
                                   treatment         process model of
                                   program ages      forgiveness
                                   14-17 years       (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Sim (2003)        Dissertation     20 adolescents    15 sessions
                                   in a residential  loosely structured
                                   treatment         on the Enright
                                   facility ages     Forgiveness
                                   16-18 years       Process model
                                                     (Enright &
                                                     Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Williams,         Journal Article  106 youth with    9-week modularized
Johnson, & Bott                    prior aggression  program based on
(2008)                             in the school     The Peaceful
                                   setting ages      Alternatives to
                                   5-18 years        Tough Situations

Study             Source           Measurement         General Findings


Hepp-Dax (1996)   Dissertation     Enright             Experimental
                                   Forgiveness         group showed
                                   Inventory for       significant
                                   children, the       increase in
                                   Revised Manifest    total
                                   Anxiety Scale, the  forgiveness
                                   Self-Esteem         score at
                                   inventory, & the    Posttest 1 but
                                   Social Skills       not at Posttest
                                   Inventory (teacher  2.

Adolescents (Middle School)

Freedman & Knupp  Journal Article  Enright             Experimental
(2003)                             Forgiveness         group experienced
                                   Inventory, State    significantly
                                   and Trait Anxiety   greater hope and
                                   Inventory,          decreased trait
                                   Reynolds            anxiety compared
                                   Adolescent          to control group.
                                   Depression Scale,   No significant
                                   Hope Scale, and     difference was
                                   the Coopersmith     found between
                                   Self-Esteem Scale   groups on
                                                       state anxiety,
                                                       depression, or

Gambaro (2002)    Dissertation     the Enright         Experimental
                                   Forgiveness         group showed
                                   Inventory for       significant
                                   Children, the       reductions of
                                   Behavior            Trait anger,
                                   Assessment System   angry
                                   for Children, &     temperament, and
                                   the State-Trait     angry reaction,
                                   Anger Expression    and significant
                                   Inventory           improvement in
                                                       attitudes toward
                                                       teachers and
                                                       schools and
                                                       with parents and
                                                       peers compared
                                                       to control.

Hui & Chau        Journal Article  the Enright         Experimental
(2009)                             Forgiveness         group reported
                                   Inventory, the      significant
                                   Chinese Beck        increase in
                                   Depression          forgiveness,
                                   Inventory, the      self-esteem, &
                                   Children's Hope     hope, and
                                   Scale, the          significant
                                   Rosenberg           decrease of
                                   Self-Esteem Scale,  depression than
                                   & the Chinese       control group,
                                   Concepts of         but groups did
                                   Forgiveness scale   not differ in
                                                       behavior, affect
                                                       and cognition as
                                                       measured by the
                                                       EFI. Qualitative
                                                       group had a
                                                       understanding of
                                                       were more aware
                                                       of personal and
                                                       social benefits
                                                       of forgiveness,
                                                       and were more
                                                       inclined to see
                                                       forgiveness as
                                                       an unconditional
                                                       act of love

Adolescents (High School)

Beck (2005)       Dissertation     Enright             Treatment group
                                   Forgiveness         showed
                                   Inventory,          significant
                                   Batson's Empathy    increases in
                                   Adjectives,         forgiveness and
                                   Modified Anger      empathy, and a
                                   Scale, and the      significant
                                   Aggression          decrease of
                                   Questionnaire       anger compared
                                                       to control
                                                       group, but there
                                                       was no
                                                       between groups
                                                       on reported
                                                       levels of

Gassin (1995)     Dissertation     State Anger scale,  Experimental
                                   Enright             group showed
                                   Forgiveness         significant
                                   Inventory, Life     increase in
                                   Change scale, &     overall
                                   the Social          social-cognitive
                                   Description Task    complexity
                                                       compared to
                                                       control, but no
                                                       differences were
                                                       found in
                                                       hope, anger, or
                                                       Participants who
                                                       had moderate to
                                                       high increases
                                                       showed greater
                                                       responses at
                                                       post-test and

Hui & Ho (2004)   Journal Article  Self-Esteem scale,  Experimental
                                   the Children's      group had no
                                   Hope scale, the     significant
                                   Conceptual          differences
                                   Forgiveness         between pre and
                                   Questions, & the    posttest
                                   Enright             measures of
                                   Forgiveness         self-esteem and
                                   Inventory           hope, and they
                                                       did not differ
                                                       from the control
                                                       group on
                                                       measures of
                                                       self-esteem and
                                                       hope either.
                                                       Participants did
                                                       not show
                                                       differences on
                                                       concept of
                                                       between pre and

Klatt (2008)      Dissertation     The Aggression      Experimental
                                   Questionnaire, the  group showed
                                   Enright             greater
                                   Forgiveness         increases in
                                   Inventory, How I    forgiveness and
                                   Think               greater
                                   Questionnaire, &    reductions in
                                   behavioral          self-reported
                                   ratings             anger and
                                                       aggression than
                                                       treatment as
                                                       usual group.

Park (2003)       Dissertation     Enright             Experimental
                                   Forgiveness         group
                                   Inventory for       experienced
                                   Children, State     greater
                                   Anger Scale,        forgiveness and
                                   Bryant's Empathy    empathy, and
                                   Scale, Hostile      less
                                   Attribution         self-reported
                                   Measure, & Child    anger, hostile
                                   Behavior            attribution,
                                   Checklist-Youth's   delinquency and
                                   Report Form &       aggression than
                                   Teacher Report      control at
                                   Form                posttest and
                                                       differences were
                                                       maintained at
                                                       8-week follow-up
                                                       for all
                                                       variables except

Perez (2007)      Dissertation     Enright             Participants
                                   Forgiveness         experienced
                                   Inventory, the      significant
                                   Personality         increases in
                                   Inventory for       forgiveness and
                                   Youth, & the        significant
                                   Devereux Scales of  decreases in
                                   Mental Disorder     disruptive
                                                       between pre and

Sim (2003)        Dissertation     Enright             Treatment group
                                   Forgiveness         showed
                                   Inventory &         significantly
                                   Religious           higher
                                   Commitment          forgiveness
                                   Inventory           posttest than
                                                       control group

Williams,         Journal Article  Conflict Tactics    PATTS
Johnson, & Bott                    Scale-Revised, and  participants
(2008)                             a modified version  indicated
                                   of the Mauger       significant
                                   Forgiveness Scale   positive
                                                       decreases in
                                                       aggression, and
                                                       vengefulness, as
                                                       well as
                                                       reduction of
                                                       referrals, or
                                                       new criminal
                                                       offenses, and
                                                       increase of
                                                       forgiveness of
                                                       others compared
                                                       ton control


Empirical Research on Interventions with Parents, Couples, and Families

Study             Source           Participants     Intervention

Parents (n = 1)

Kiefer et al.     Journal Article  27 parents and   Forgiveness and
(2010)                             caregivers of    Reconciliation
                                   children 0-9     through
                                   years old        Experiencing
                                                    Empathy (FREE)
                                                    delivered through a
                                                    3-week workshop
                                                    totaling 9 hours

Couples (n = 11)

Alvaro (2001)     Dissertation     46 married       4 hours of a
                                   couples who had  psychoeducational,
                                   experienced      interpersonal
                                   hurt in their    forgiveness
                                   relationship     intervention given
                                                    during a one-day
                                                    workshop based
                                                    provided by
                                                    Intimate Life

Burchard,         Journal Article  20 newly         Forgiveness and
Yarhouse,                          married          Reconciliation
Kilian,                            couples          through
Worthington,                                        Experiencing
Berry, & Canter                                     Empathy (FREE),
(2003)                                              which contains

Coyle & Enright   Journal Article  10 men who       Enright's process
(1997)                             identified as    model of
                                   being hurt by    forgiveness
                                   the abortion     (Enright &
                                   decision of a    Fitzgibbons, 2000)

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  44 spouses       Decision-Based
(2002)                                              Forgiveness

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  Study 1:44       Decision-based
(2008)                             married couples  forgiveness
                                   Study 2:26       treatment
                                   married          intervention
                                   volunteers       (DiBlasio, 1999)

Gordon, Baucom,   Journal Article  6 married        Three-stage
& Snyder (2004)                    heterosexual     forgiveness model
                                   recovering from
                                   an extramarital

Greenberg,        Journal Article  46 participants  12-hour
Warwar, &                          who had          psychoeducational
Malcolm (2008)                     unresolved       group administered
                                   interpersonal,   over 12weeks that
                                   emotiona injury  included content
                                   with a           covering aspects of
                                   significant      forgiveness such as
                                   other (i.e.,     what it is and is
                                   parents,         not, why one would
                                   ex-partner,      be motivated to
                                   sibling or       forgive (sources of
                                   child)           content
                                                    acknowledge, among

Knutson (2003)    Dissertation     10 married       A 20-session
                                   couples          educational program
                                   reporting low    based on Enright's
                                   marital          process model of
                                   satisfaction     forgiveness
                                                    (Enright &
                                                    Fitzgibbons, 2000)

Ripley &          Journal Article  43 married       REACH, empathy
Worthington                        couples          centered
(2002)                                              forgiveness-based
                                                    marital enrichment
                                                    and an early
                                                    version of FREE

Sells, Giordano,  Journal Article  5 married        8-week marital
& King (2002)                      couples          group curriculum
                                   experiencing     using contextual
                                   long-standing    family therapy and
                                   frustration      a forgiveness model
                                   over recovery    based on Hargrave's
                                   from a           four-station model
                                   relational       of forgiveness

Vaughan (2001)    Dissertation     20 newly         Forgiveness and
                                   married couples  Reconciliation
                                   **               through
                                                    Empathy (FREE),
                                                    which contains

Study             Source           Measurement

Parents (n = 1)

Kiefer et al.     Journal Article  Transgression-related Interpersonal
(2010)                             Motivations Inventory, Single-Item
                                   Forgiveness, and Batson's Empathy

Couples (n = 11)

Alvaro (2001)     Dissertation     Enright Forgiveness Inventory, the
                                   Personal Assessment of Intimacy in
                                   Relationships (PAIR), and the
                                   Evaluating & Nurturing Relationship
                                   Issues, Communication, Happiness
                                   (ENRICH) inventory

Burchard,         Journal Article  The Quality of Life Inventory
Berry, & Canter

Coyle & Enright   Journal Article  Enright Forgiveness Inventory,
(1997)                             State Anger Scale, State Anxiety
                                   Scale, and the Grief Scale

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  Enright Forgiveness Inventory,
(2002)                             Index of Marital Satisfaction, and
                                   the Generalized Contentment Scale

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  Enright Forgiveness Inventory,
(2008)                             Index of Marital Satisfaction, and
                                   the Generalized Contentment Scale

Gordon, Baucom,   Journal Article  Beck Depression Inventory,
& Snyder (2004)                    Post-Traumatic Stress
                                   DisorderSymptom Scale-Self Report,
                                   The Marital Satisfaction
                                   Inventory-Revised, and the
                                   Forgiveness Inventory

Greenberg,        Journal Article  Enright Forgiveness Inventory,
Warwar, &                          Forgiveness Measure, Unfinished
Malcolm (2008)                     Business Empathy and Acceptance
                                   Scale, Unfinished Business Feelings
                                   and Needs Scale, the Letting Go
                                   Measure. Target Complaints
                                   Discomfort and Change Scale, Global
                                   Symptom Index, and the Beck
                                   Depression Inventory

Knutson (2003)    Dissertation     The Family Strengths Scale, Enrght
                                   Forgiveness Inventory, State-Trait
                                   Anxiety Inventory, Beck Depression
                                   Inventory-II, Coopersmith
                                   Self-Esteem Inventory, and the Hope

Ripley &          Journal Article  Dyadic Adjustment Scale, Couples
Worthington                        Assessment of Relationship
(2002)                             Elements, The Global Rapid Couples
                                   Interaction Scoring System, the
                                   Relationship Dynamics Scale, and
                                   the Transgression-Related
                                   Interpersonal Motivations

Sells, Giordano,  Journal Article  Interpersonal Relationship
& King (2002)                      Resolution Scale, the Dyadic
                                   adjustment Scale, the State-Trait
                                   Anger Inventory, and the Symptom
                                   Checklist-Revised 90

Vaughan (2001)    Dissertation     Kansas Marital Satisfaction Scale

Study             Source           General Findings

Parents (n = 1)

Kiefer et al.     Journal Article  Forgiveness of a target offense and
(2010)                             a measure of general
                                   relationship-aggregated forgiveness
                                   increased and was maintained at a
                                   3-week follow-up.

Couples (n = 11)

Alvaro (2001)     Dissertation     The experimental group experienced
                                   significant increases in
                                   forgiveness and intimacy measures
                                   compared to the control group.

Burchard,         Journal Article  The experimental group did not
Yarhouse,                          statistically increase in quality
Kilian,                            of life compared to the control
Worthington,                       group, but the experimental group
Berry, & Canter                    did increase in quality of life
(2003)                             from pretest to posttest (p = .07),
                                   while the control group
                                   significantly decreased (p < .05).

Coyle & Enright   Journal Article  The experimental group experienced
(1997)                             significant reductions in anxiety,
                                   anger, and grief and significant
                                   increase in forgiveness compared to
                                   control group. Similar significant
                                   findings were found for the control
                                   group after receiving the same

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  Initial data suggests the
(2002)                             experimental group receiving the
                                   forgiveness intervention
                                   significantly improved in
                                   self-esteem over the control group
                                   (no treatment).

DiBlasio & Benda  Journal Article  Study 1: The experimental group
(2008)                             showed a significant increase in
                                   forgiveness from pretest to
                                   posttest, but did not differ
                                   significantly from the control or
                                   the problem-solving group. The
                                   experimental group showed
                                   significant increase in marital
                                   satisfaction and contentment
                                   compared to control group. Study 2:
                                   Experimental group showed
                                   significant increase in
                                   forgiveness, marital satisfaction,
                                   and contentment from pretest to
                                   posttest. No between-group
                                   comparisons were made.

Gordon, Baucom,   Journal Article  Injured partners experienced
& Snyder (2004)                    positive gains on dependent
                                   variables as measured by z-scores.
                                   The majority of couples were less
                                   emotionally or martially
                                   distressed, and the injured partner
                                   reported greater forgiveness

Greenberg,        Journal Article  The experimental group receiving
Warwar, &                          emotion-focused therapy showed
Malcolm (2008)                     significantly more improvement than
                                   the psychoeducational group on
                                   measures of forgiveness, letting
                                   go, global symptoms, and key target

Knutson (2003)    Dissertation     No statistical differences were
                                   found between the experimental
                                   group and a CBT-based control group
                                   intervention at posttest; however,
                                   the two groups pooled showed
                                   significant improvements from
                                   pretest to six-week follow-up on
                                   measures of marital satisfaction,
                                   family strengths, forgiveness,
                                   self-esteem, anger, anxiety, and

Ripley &          Journal Article  The experimental group
Worthington                        significantly improved in
(2002)                             observational measures of
                                   communication compared to control
                                   group, but no significant changes
                                   were produced in self- reported
                                   marital quality, communication, or

Sells, Giordano,  Journal Article  Couples experienced significant
& King (2002)                      improvement in forgiveness skills
                                   at posttest and follow-up. The
                                   exhibition of forgiveness skills
                                   was positively correlated with
                                   higher levels of marital
                                   satisfaction, reduced presence of
                                   psychological symptoms, and reduced

Vaughan (2001)    Dissertation     Marital satisfaction declined
                                   slightly in the forgiveness
                                   treatment group.

Families (n = 0)
* The same sample used by Burchard et al. (2003)


Many models have been advanced to promote forgiveness (see Tables 1 and 2). Two models have been tested multiple times and meet the criteria for designation as empirically supported. Both Enright's process model and Worthington's REACH model seek to promote both decisions to forgive and emotional forgiveness--two of the five foci discerned to be important in family context based on our theoretical deliberations.

Enright's Process Model

Enright has proposed a process model of forgiving (Enright &c Fitzgibbons, 2000). The model has 20 units, which are arrayed into four phases. Enright is a developmental psychologist at the University of Wisconsin, and he has developed a model that is useful throughout the developmental spectrum. This has been a popular model for adaptation with children and adolescents. Enright also has developed a substantial number of applications to mental health disorders such as incest survivors, substance abuse and dependence, and men whose partners had experienced an abortion as well as physical health disorders such as cancer survivors and cardiovascular disorders. Freedman, Enright, and Knutson (2005) summarized research in a qualitative review and Baskin and Enright (2004) conducted a meta-analysis of research on the process model.

The first eight units comprise the uncovering phase. During uncovering, the person gets in touch with his or her pain. Units 9 to 11 involve the decision phase. Forgiveness is defined, and people consider what is involved before committing to forgive. Units 12 to 15 comprise the work phase. In the work phase, people try to understand the offender and the context of the transgression, then accept and absorb the pain. In the outcome phase, units 16-20, the person gives a gift of forgiving to the offender and develops a sense of healing. The process model encourages people to make decisions and emotional forgiveness explicit.

Worthington's REACH Forgiveness Model

Worthington (2006a) has developed a psychoeducational model to lead people in small groups to make a decision to forgive and then experience five steps to REACH emotional forgiveness. Leaders cue group members' memory of the five steps by the acrostic REACH. R is Recall of the Hurt. The offender recalls the event in a way different from the usual ruminative recall. Namely the person recalls without blaming the offender or self-pitying. After a conscious attempt to decide to forgive, an attempt at E (Empathize to Emotionally Replace) is made during the longest portion of the method. Emotional replacement can substitute empathy, sympathy, compassion, or love for the unforgiving emotions of resentment, bitterness, hostility, hatred, anger and fear. A is an Altruistic Gift of Forgiving in which, through humility and empathy, the person decides and emotionally experiences forgiveness. C stands for Commit to the Forgiveness Experienced. The person makes a public commitment (which could be to others or just a letter or note to oneself) to solidify the experience of deciding to forgive and emotionally forgiving. The commitment is intended to help the person H, Hold onto Forgiveness.

Whereas Enright's model is exceptionally strong with children and adolescents and also with mental health problems, Worthington's model has been applied and tested most frequently in the following settings: Christians in church settings (Worthington et al., 2010), Christian colleges (Lampton et al., 2005; Stratton et al., 2008), couples (eg., Ripley & Worthington, 2002; for a review, see Worthington, 2006a), parents (e.g., Kiefer et al., 2010), and secular college students (for a review, see Worthington, 2006a). Manuals are publicly available at Research has been subjected to reviews (Wade & Worthington, 2005) and meta-analysis (Wade, Worthington, & Meyer, 2005) and shown to be efficacious with Christians, college students (Christian and secular), and couples and parents.

Two Models That Seek to Change Talk about Transgressions

DiBlasio's decision-based model with couples and families. Whereas both the process model and REACH forgiveness model aim at producing emotional and decisional forgiveness as internal experiences, some intervention models are more focused on promoting both the experience of forgiveness and healthy talk about transgressions and forgiveness, which can lead to better relationships. DiBlasio has described (DiBlasio, 1998) and tested a decision-based model with couples (DiBlasio & Benda, 2002, 2008). Originating from his clinical practice (as first reported in Worthington & DiBlasio, 1990), DiBlasio focused on decisional forgiveness as an internal experience and communicating that decision to forgive between partners, which then leads to emotional and behavioral forgiveness. DiBlasio and Benda (2008) reported two studies of the model showing efficacy with Christian couples and also with secular couples. Couples achieved improvements in cognitive, emotional and behavioral forgiveness (for clinical application of this work for Christian couples, see Cheong &c DiBlasio, 2007; DiBlasio, in press).

Worthington's Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy (FREE) model. Worthington has developed methods of working with couples that promote both internal experiences of forgiving (i.e., emotional and decisional forgiveness) and discussions about transgressions leading to reconciliation (Burchard et al., 2003; Ripley & Worthington, 2002). A manual for marriage enrichment may be found at

Religiously or Spiritually Tailored Interventions

Our theorizing suggested five elements needed for family application of forgiveness--decisions, emotional change, a warm climate, instruction in talk about transgressions, and a religious environment. Thus far, we have discussed the first four. We now assess the status of the research on religiously or spiritually tailored psychotherapies. Most of the studies on interventions to promote forgiveness are with secular clients. The present article is most immediately concerned with religiously tailored treatments or treatments that are likely to be effective and evidence-based for use with religiously and spiritually oriented clients. We must ask, then, whether research using secular treatments (i.e., those aimed at general populations containing both religious/spiritual clients and those who do not claim a religious/spiritual orientation) with secular (i.e., mixtures of religious/spiritual and those who are not) clients are effective with religiously and spiritually oriented clients.

Worthington, Hook, Davis, and McDaniel (in press) reviewed religious and spiritual treatments. (Spiritual treatments were relatively fewer, so we will talk only of religious treatments). They meta-analyzed 51 samples from 46 studies. They found that religious treatments had clear positive gains from pre-test to post-test, and the gains were maintained at follow-up. However, when the studies involving a control group were analyzed, religious treatments were more effective than those with any control group for improving psychological symptoms. Religious treatments were not better than controls when compared to an active alternative treatment on psychological symptoms, but they were better at instigating changes in spiritual measures (however, at follow-up those spiritual changes were not maintained). At the most restrictive level of comparison of a secular treatment and a religious treatment that is the same in all ways except for being tailored religiously or spiritually, the secular and religious treatments--though both efficacious--were not different. This might suggest that (1) it does not matter whether treatments are tailored to religious clients or (2) that religious clients might look for the religious even within secular treatments and benefit from secular treatments.

We hypothesize, then, that for forgiveness interventions, research on secular treatments will be equally efficacious as will religiously tailored interventions. We suggest this might be the case for several reasons. First, all religions seem to value forgiveness (Rye et al., 2000) and will thus be likely to "read into" the secular interventions a valuing of forgiveness, to which they will likely respond positively. Second, therefore, it is likely that religious people will find the secular interventions that have been tested on secular samples to be value-congruent with their religious beliefs. Third, it is likely that religious people exposed to secular interventions could interpret them as religious. For example, a Christian who holds a cognitive causal worldview (e.g., "As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he"; Prov 23:7; KJV), would find a cognitive approach to promoting forgiveness to be "Christian." For an alternative view that emphasizes that a Christian forgiveness intervention for Christian clients is more effective than secular intervention, see DiBlasio (in press) and DiBlasio and Benda (2008).

As a consequence, in the review below, we have reviewed the literature on all studies investigating the efficacy of interventions to promote forgiveness in children, adolescents, and families. Furthermore, finding few explicitly Christian articles directly with children, adolescents, and families (and because we wanted to address the fifth concern--the explicitly religious tailoring of interventions), we reviewed all available explicitly Christian interventions (most of which were with college students).


Method of the Review

We accessed PsychINFO on March 12, 2010, using the words forgiv * and interven *, crossed with child *, adolescent *, parent *, couple *, and family. After excluding theoretical papers and case studies, we located 1 intervention study with children, three with middle school students, and eight with high school students, which we summarized in Table 1. We also located one with parents specifically, and 11 with couples, but none with families as a whole. We summarized those in Table 2. Finally, we found nine explicitly with Christians.

Interventions with Children

Having reviewed the most common general models of intervening to promote forgiveness (and discussions about transgressions), we now examine the research studies that have been applied with school-aged children (see Table 1). In the present section, and in subsequent sections, due to space limitations for the present article, we do not include case studies or descriptions of interventions. Rather, we focus on controlled outcome efficacy research. Our strategy is to include the details of studies in two tables, and in the present narrative summaries merely to note some general points.

Only one intervention study was conducted with fifth grade students (Hepp-Dax, 1996). Results were not strong. Gains by the end of treatment were not maintained. Enright's process model was used. The project was an unpublished dissertation.

Interventions with Adolescents

In Table 1 we also describe the studies done to help middle school students (n = 3; one dissertation and two articles) and high school students (n = 8; two articles and six dissertations). All three projects with middle school students used the Enright process model. The article (Hui 8c Chau, 2009) found few quantitative changes, but quite a few qualitative changes were noted for the middle school students after the intervention. The dissertation regarding middle school students (i.e., Gambato, 2002) reported modest changes as well--mostly in self-reported traits and attitudes. Freedman and Knupp (2003) in a journal article used an educational version of the process model with five early adolescents (12 to 14 years old) who had experienced divorce of their parents. They experienced greater hope and decreased trait anxiety compared to control group.

A substantial number of studies investigated high school students. In a dissertation, Beck (2005) studied 76 students using the REACH model. Beck found predicted differences in anger, empathy, and forgiveness, but not in aggression.

Hui and Ho (2004) used the process model with 63 male Hong Kong students. They found virtually no differences in comparison to a control condition. Several dissertations were less effective than were the reports in published papers. In a dissertation, Park (2003) studied the process model with 48 Korean students. Park found that the experimental condition experienced greater forgiveness and empathy, and less self-reported anger, hostile attribution, delinquency and aggression than control at posttest and significant differences were maintained at 8-week follow-up for all variables except self-reported aggression. Perez (2007), in a dissertation, studied seven adolescent males in a residential treatment setting. Participants experienced increases in forgiveness and decreases in disruptive and externalizing behaviors between pre and posttest. Likewise, Sim (2003) studied 20 adolescents in a similar setting using the process model. The treatment condition showed higher forgiveness posttest than control group.

Several other programs indicated some promise. Williams, Johnson, and Bott (2008) found that a program called Peaceful Alternatives to Tough Situations (PATTS), when applied to 106 youth with a history of aggression in the schools, resulted in decreases in physical assault, psychological aggression, vengefulness, school suspensions, principal referrals, and new criminal offenses, and increase of forgiveness of others compared to a control condition. Gassin (1995) and Klatt (2008) in dissertations of N = 19 and N = 12, respectively, found some evidence for effective programs.

Overall, it appears that forgiveness gains with adolescents were modest. They seemed to affect attitudes and ratings of forgiving, and sometimes behavior.

Interventions with Parents

In Table 2, we describe the single journal article study that has been done to help teach parents how to forgive and how to promote forgiveness in children (Kiefer et al., 2010). Parents were trained to forgive their children for disappointments and also to forgive their co-parenting partners for misunderstandings over parenting. "Worthington's Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy (FREE) model was taught. That model contained as one step of four instructions on internal forgiveness using the REACH model. Forgiveness of a target offense, and forgiveness in general were both increased during 9 hours of treatment and were maintained at a three-week follow-up.

Interventions with Couples

In Table 2, we describe the studies done to help couples forgive. In contrast to research on adolescents, which has mostly been non-referred dissertations, with only three published studies, the literature on couples boasts 8 of 11 projects from referred journal articles, and only three dissertations. FREE (and REACH) has been investigated three times (two articles and one dissertation). DiBlasio's decision-based forgiveness model was investigated twice (both articles). Enright's process model has been investigated twice (one article and one dissertation). Other established programs have also been investigated, such as one for couples dealing with affairs (Gordon, Baucom, & Snyder, 2004). Although this was the only empirical investigation of the model, the authors have written extensively about the clinical aspects of it. In addition, one article used the empty chair method (Greenberg, Warwar, &c Malcolm, 2008) from Gestalt therapy. That approach acknowledged the REACH model, which uses the empty chair model as one method (acknowledging Malcolm and Greenberg, 2000, as source). The interventions to help couples have been found to be consistently effective.

Interventions with Families

In Table 2, we sought studies done to help families promote forgiveness in their children. No studies involving family therapy for forgiveness were found.

Interventions with Christians

Because this article is aimed at what forgiveness interventions might be efficacious with religious or spiritual clients and because none of the interventions thus far except DiBlasio and Benda (2002, 2008) were used explicitly with religious people (i.e., Christians), we examined other forgiveness interventions that targeted forgiveness with religious or spiritual clients among adults. Few religiously or spiritually oriented interventions to promote forgiveness have been investigated among the multitude of interventions with adults. Rye and Pargament (2002) studied women who sought to forgive an ex-partner in a broken romantic relationship, and Rye, Pargament, Pan, Yingling, Shogren, and Ito (2005) studied women who sought to forgive a divorced partner. In both, the intervention was similar to the REACH model, though it was not an exact version of it. Lampton et al. (2005; with Christian college students), Stratton et al. (2008; with Christian college students), and "Worthington et al. (2010; with Filipino church members) used religiously adapted versions of REACH. Jackson (1999), in a dissertation using an empathy-based treatment, like the REACH model but not precisely adapted from it, found effective forgiveness in Christians. Hart and Shapiro (2002) studied Enright's process model and found it equivalent to or not quite as effective as a 12-step approach for people with drug and alcohol addiction.


We have provided a conceptualization of forgiveness and its development that can be used to develop and analyze interventions to promote forgiveness with youth, couples, and families, especially those who are Christians. We examined the four major interventions, and we summarized empirical research on the efficacy of all of the interventions that might he appropriate for Christian couples and parents and direct treatment of children and adolescents. Enright's process model has the widest support across the range of treatments, but it has not been adapted to religious populations. It is the primary intervention for working with adolescents. It is an empirically supported approach, having been used in a variety of labs and found to have some efficacy, but its adaptation for children is based on a single study with non-definitive outcomes.

For couples, a variety of models have been tried. The REACH model has been tested in several labs with couples and twice in studies directly with parents; it meets the criteria for empirically supported treatment. DiBlasio's decision-based model (which has been used with secular and explicitly Christian couples), Enright's process model, and Rye's model (i.e., loosely similar to REACH, but tailored to relationship dissolution) have less empirical support for Christian couples at this point; all three have two studies supporting them, but in each case, the studies come from the same lab, thus not meeting one of the criteria for empirically supported status. Only DiBlasio's (DiBlasio & Benda, 2002, 2008), and Jackson's (1999) studies were directly with Christians.

We conclude that the evidence is stronger that forgiveness can be taught more effectively to adults than to adolescents. Basic research on development of forgiveness is needed. Longitudinal research is preferred. That would allow a firmer base on which to tailor interventions to treatment with children, parents, and families. More research is also needed on Christians. That would inform adaption of existing interventions that have been investigated mostly in secular context and would permit modification of the few interventions that have been specifically tailored to Christians. Clinicians and clinical researchers are encouraged to adapt interventions--preferably evidence-based interventions--for Christian families, aimed at children, middle and high school adolescents, and Christian couples, parents, and whole families. Then, clinicians and clinical researchers must test the interventions in order to establish more empirically supported interventions with these populations.


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** Burchard, G.A., Yarhouse, M.A., Worthington, E.L., Jr., Berry, J.W., Killian, M., & Canter, D.E. (2003). A study of two marital enrichment programs and couples' quality of life. Journal of Psychology and Theology, 31, 240 252.

Cheong, R., & DiBlasio, F.A. (2007). Christ-like love and forgiveness: A biblical foundation for counseling practice. Journal of Psychology and Christianity 26, 14-25.

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Davis, D. E., Worthington, E. L., Jr., & Hook, J. N. (2010). Meta-analytic review of research on forgiveness and religion/spirituality. Unpublished manuscript, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond.

Denham, S. A., Meal, K., Wilson, B. J., Pickering, S., & Boyatzis, C.J. (2005). Emotional development in children: Emerging evidence. In E. L. Worthington, Jr. (Ed.), Handbook of forgiveness (pp. 127-142). New York: Brunner-Routledge.

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* Park, J. (2003). Validating the effectiveness of a forgiveness intervention program for adolescent female aggressive victims in Korea (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (UMI No. 3089613).

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** Ripley, J. S., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2002). Hope-focused and forgiveness group interventions to promote marital enrichment. Journal of Counseling and Development, 80, 452-463.

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** Sells, J. N., Giordano, F. G., & King, L. (2002). A pilot study in marital group therapy: Process and outcome, family journal, 10, 156-166.

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*** Stratton, S. P., Dean, j. B., Nooneman, A. J., Bode, R. A., & Worthington, E. L., Jr. (2008). Forgiveness interventions as spiritual development strategies: Workshop training, expressive writing about forgiveness, and retested controls, journal of Psychology and Christianity, 27, 347-357.

** Vaughan, L. (2001). The relationship between marital satisfaction levels associated with participation in the FREE (Forgiveness and Reconciliation through Experiencing Empathy) and hope-focused marital enrichment program (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from ProQuest Dissertations and Thesis database. (UMI No. 3004950).

Wade, N. G., & Worthington, E, L, Jr. (2005). In search of a common core: A content analysis of interventions to promote forgiveness. Psychotherapy: theory, Research, Practice, Training, 42, 160-177.

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* Worthington, E. L., Jr. Hunter, J. L., Sharp, C. B., Hook, J. N., Van Tongeren, D. R., Davis, D. E., Miller, A. J., Gingrich, F. C., Sandage, S. J., Lao, E., Bubod, L., & Monforte-Milton, M. M. (2010). A psychoeducational intervention to promote forgiveness in Christians in the Philippines. Journal of Mental Health Counseling, 32(1), 75-93.

* Empirical article summarized in Table 1

** Empirical article summarized in Table 2

*** Empirical article summarized in the text


WORTHINGTON, EVERETT L., JR. Address: Dept. of Psychology Virgina Commonwealth University, (VCU), Richmond, VA. Title: Professor of Psychology. Degrees. Ph.D., Counseling Psychology, University of Missouri-Columbia. Specializations: Forgiveness and marital and family interventions, basic research and religion, spirituality.

JENNINGS, DAVID J. II. Address: Virginia Communwealth University, Richmond, VA. Title: Doctoral student at VCU. Degrees: M.S., M.S., Richmont Institute (Clinical Psychology, Atlanta) and VCU (Counseling Psychology). Specializations: Inspiration, forgiveness and interpersonal processees around transgressions, especially in couple and family relationships, religion and spirituality.

DIBLASIO, FREDERICK A. Address: University of Maryland at Baltimore. Title: Professor of Social Work. Degrees: Ph.D.(Social Work) from VCU. Specializations: Interventions to promote forgiveness in families and couples, clinical social work, psychotherapy.


Virginia Commonwealth University


University of Maryland

This research was partially supported by gram 2266 (Forgiveness and Relational Spirituality) from the Fetzer Institute to Everett Worthington (Principal Investigator) and Steven Sandage and Michael McCullough (Co-Investigators) and by grant 2512.04 (Forgiveness in Christian Colleges) also from the Fetzer Institute. Please address correspondence to Everett L. Worthington, Jr., PhD., Department of Psychology. Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA.
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Author:Worthington, Everett L., Jr.; Jennings, David J., II; DiBlasio, Frederick A.
Publication:Journal of Psychology and Theology
Article Type:Report
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Dec 22, 2010
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