beginning May 12, 2019
with Dara McKinley


This online course guides participants on a practical path that ends the emotional confusion of betrayal.

Whether created by you, another person, or life circumstances, betrayal is when someone or something you trusted fails, often without notice.

Betrayal’s intensity is fierce.

But forgiveness is fiercer.

Forgiveness heals betrayal.

About Dara

I’m Dara McKinley, the creator of and guide for How to Forgive.

I completed an MA in Contemplative Psychology from Naropa University and have spent my entire adult life in the field of human services and wellness. From counseling delinquent adolescents, to a private psychotherapy practice, to leading retreats and workshops — helping others restore their emotional health is my passion.

Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that heals betrayal. I have one foot firmly planted in the mystical world and the other firmly planted in the rational world. Synchronizing the rational and the mystical is where forgiveness is found.

My Story

Nine years ago I experienced a betrayal that radically changed my life and left me awash in confusion and disbelief. Despite all of my efforts to let it go, take the high road and focus on gratitude, the pain of the betrayal endured. After three years I hit rock bottom. I suspected I could benefit from forgiveness but I had no clue how to do it. Thus began my quest.

In October 2012, armed with my previous knowledge of eastern spirituality and western psychology, I dove deep into the vast world of forgiveness. In less than a month the betrayal was healed and my entire world view was transformed.

Initially it didn’t occur to me to share what I’d discovered, but after many meaningful conversations with friends and colleagues, I saw that many people were in the exact boat I had been in: they needed to forgive but they had no idea how to go about it, and they were stuck.

I realized that a straight-up, practical, heart-centered, dogma-free, forgiveness course that honors the individual and their unique journey, would not only be useful, but for many , necessary… and How to Forgive was born.

What is betrayal?

Betrayal is when someone or something you trusted fails you. Or said in another way, something happened that you believe shouldn’t have happened.

Betrayals happen all the time and many are easy to recover from, but some involve huge losses and some are chronic. When a betrayal involves a big loss and/or is chronic, forgiveness is very useful.

The effects of a betrayal can ultimately look many different ways but most result in chronic feelings of anger, resentment, guilt and/or shame.

Though forgiveness is often described as something that can resolve past hurts, I have come to see that a clearer definition is that forgiveness heals betrayal. Anger, resentment, guilt, and shame, all stem from betrayal. Something you had faith-in failed. Something happened that you believe shouldn’t have happened.

If you struggle with feelings of anger, resentment, guilt, or shame you could benefit from forgiveness.

Therapy vs. Forgiveness

I am a trained psychotherapist and huge fan of therapy, however forgiveness does not replace therapy and therapy does not replace forgiveness. They are both important.

Therapy is a relationship with a counseling professional who can help you move forward in a variety of ways depending on your history and circumstance. There are many effective psychotherapeutic modalities and the healing that can come from working with a good therapist is invaluable. Some of the many benefits include: resolving past trauma, understanding family of origin dynamics, changing habitual patterns, learning to create boundaries, being seen emotionally, and ongoing support.

Forgiveness is a spiritual experience that is typically achieved and practiced on your own, and is specifically designed to heal the pain of betrayal by applying universal love to your unique circumstance. It requires your personal truth and the power of your heart which is available to you at any time.

One can do all of the powerful work of therapy and still remain stuck in the emotional confusion of betrayal. And one can do the work of forgiveness and still repeat dysfunctional patterns. Therapy and forgiveness each play a unique and valuable role in restoring emotional health and moving forward.

“After seven years of a difficult marriage that ended in divorce, I was stuck in a resentful place. This course is phenomenal. So well done and insightful.”
– Binah R., Colorado Springs, CO

“How to Forgive” was an excellent experience with huge and lasting shifts.” – Jen K., Seattle, WA

“Dara makes the forgiveness process doable, meaningful, and effective.” -Carissa M., Seattle, WA

“Thank you. This course had a huge impact on how I am able to move forward.” -anonymous, Boulder, CO

How to Forgive is a four-week course that includes:

  • Weekly instructional videos that deliver a relatable view and clear path
  • Weekly assignments designed to realize each piece of the forgiveness puzzle
  • Weekly made-fresh-for-each-course video tutorials that will encourage, inspire, and elaborate session themes.
  • Support from me, via email, for the duration of the course

Support and guidance: Forgiveness is ultimately an adventure with many potential twists, turns, stumbles, and leaps. For the full four weeks of the course + two weeks post course, I am available via email to help guide you through any confusing spots*.

Time commitment: Though everyone’s forgiveness journey is unique, on average the course requires 1-3 hours/week. Ultimately the more time and space you allow yourself during the four weeks, the more effective the course will be.

Each week you will receive a video/audio session to guide you through the following themes:

Session 1/Week 1 – You will prepare for a successful course experience and learn the foundation of forgiveness.

Session 2/Week 2 – You learn how to use the part of your brain that is designed for forgiveness, and how to overcome the part of your brain that impedes forgiveness.

Session 3/Week 3 – You learn how to transform your circumstance and your suffering into personal power.

Session 4/Week 4 – You identify the core of your betrayal and learn how to align with the mystery of your becoming.

Session 5/Week 5 – Your sacred forgiveness journey is reviewed, celebrated, and integrated into everyday life.

Integration – Complete course access remains available for 2 additional weeks.

*Please note that this is not a do-at-your-own-pace online course. Registering for this course means that you are purchasing access to the How to Forgive online portal with email guidance and support from me during the dates listed above. If you cannot make these dates, this course is offered multiple times a year. Please enter your email at the bottom of this page to be notified of the next course.

“I chose to forgive what I thought was unforgivable and I was astounded by the eye-opening perspective of this program.” – Miriam B., Boulder, CO

“It worked magic. Thank you for creating this life-changing course” – Kim L., Boulder, CO

“A masterful teacher.” – Lillian S., Seattle, WA

“At first I wasn’t sure if the course had worked, and then I saw [my ex] and it was totally cool.” – F.C. Auckland, New Zealand

The next course begins May 12, 2019

Enter your email address to be notified when registration opens.

Is this course for me?

To decide if this course is for you, please answer the following questions:

  1. Do you struggle with chronic anger, resentment, shame, and/or guilt?
  2. Does your body wince/cringe when you recall certain memories/thoughts?
  3. Did something or someone you trusted fail you?
  4. Using a scale of 0 – 10, with 10 signifying a burning desire, and 0 signifying no desire, how badly do you want to feel differently about ____________________ (fill in the blank with who/what you are considering forgiving)?

If you answered “yes” to question 1, 2, and/or 3, and scored an 8, 9, or 10, on question 4, then you could benefit from this course.

Have another Q?

I am happy to answer it. Click here to contact me.

Forgiveness and Social Justice

Although many cultural and political changes must occur to end the serious social injustices that permeate our society, there is one central piece of the social justice solution that must be addressed: the unhealed trauma and betrayal that created, creates, sustains, and is perpetuated by, systems of oppression.

Unhealed trauma and betrayal are intergenerational. They live in our bodies, and negatively affect people of all colors, ages, genders, sexual orientation, and economic status. Like many diseases, when the pain of trauma and betrayal goes unacknowledged, unexamined, and untreated, it is passed on to others.

A just societal paradigm must place the views and practices of emotional healing as the highest priority. Anything else is an eventual breeding ground for further perpetration despite the best intentions. Universalizing body awareness and the practical application of unconditional love, are means to this end.

Forgiveness and Self-Love

Core to the path of self-love is self-care, good boundaries, self-compassion, and…forgiveness. Whether you are forgiving yourself or forgiving another person, unresolved betrayals and traumas take up residence in your body, skewing perspectives, blocking intuition, and fueling criticism of self and others. Learning to liberate your body from the pain and emotional confusion of betrayal is one of self-love’s greatest acts.


Do you offer discounts?

Yes, every course I offer an early-bird course rate of $200. Please enter you email below to be notified when the next early-bird rate begins. 

I would like to do your course but I am traveling during the course dates. Could I still do it while traveling?

It depends. If your travel plans are to relax and you will have a good amount of time to yourself, then yes. If you will be working, doing a lot of site-seeing and visiting with other people, then it’s probably a good idea to wait for the next course. If you will only be traveling for a few days and you just need some extra time to catch up with course videos/assignments, then that is doable. There are two extra weeks allotted at the end of the course for anyone who needs some extra time to finish.

How do I know if I have something to forgive?

The best way to assess if you have something to forgive is to pay attention to your body. When you think of a difficult issue, does your body contract/flush/wince/become tense? If so, then you probably could benefit from this course.

When I think of a difficult situation from the past, it feels too painful. Should I take this course?

Feeling emotionally overwhelmed and/or flooded when you recall the past are typically signs of trauma. Trauma is a normal and common phenomena. I recommend first working with a good therapist who specializes in trauma and then doing the work of forgiveness.

Is there a facebook group or community aspect for this course?

No. I believe that forgiveness work is personal and thus private.

Do you offer scholarships?

No, not at this time.

What is your religion/spiritual views?

I describe myself as spiritual but not religious. My connection to spirit feels constant but is particularly vivid in the quiet am hours and in nature.

The next course begins May 12, 2019

Enter your email address to be notified when registration opens.