An approximate method for the direct or near-field calculation of radiation reaction is introduced. The usual technique for the direct calculation requires determining the effect of the field produced by an extended source at a retarded time acting on the same extended source at the current time. The approximation consists of replacing the retarded source by a point source whose properties are determined by the radiation field. This approximation is applied to three examples: the average power radiated by a circular current loop, the radiation reaction torque acting on a rotating magnetic dipole, and the radiation reaction force exerted on a charged particle.

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