The REACH technique can be used to forgive someone who has wronged you. There are two types of forgiveness.

• “Decisional” forgiveness involves deciding to forgive and letting go of angry and resentful thoughts and feelings toward the person who wronged you.
• “Emotional” forgiveness involves replacing negative emotions with positive feelings like compassion, sympathy and empathy.

Research indicates that emotional forgiveness offers positive health benefits because it reduces stressful reactions to and rumination about wrongdoings. The REACH technique stresses emotional forgiveness, and each step is applied to the offense or wrongdoing.

1. Recall the hurt. First, acknowledge you were hurt. Consciously decide to forgive and avoid seeking revenge against the person that hurt you.
2. Empathize. Pretend the person who hurt you is sitting in front of you and talk to them. Fully explain how you feel. Once you have had your say, change roles. Talk back as if you are the other person explaining why they wronged you. This builds empathy – even if you cannot empathize, this process can help you move on.
3. Offer an Altruistic gift. Offer forgiveness as a gift to the person. You can probably recall a time when you wronged someone, and the person forgave you. When you forgive you offer that same gift to the person who hurt you.
4. Commit. Once you have forgiven, write a note to yourself. It can be as simple as, “Today, I forgave X for hurting me.”
5. Hold on to forgiveness. You might doubt that you actually forgave the person or find yourself becoming angry or resentful at some point. Re-visit REACH to remind yourself that you are committed to forgiveness.