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Discover a variety of talks that have taken place this year discussing moral injury.

They include:

3-minute video by Brian Powers

Brian provides a brief introduction to the moral injury that our Armed Forces can suffer and explains what theology can offer to veterans navigating this, whether or not they have a faith. 

Rita Nakashima Brock: The Use of Ritual in Moral Injury

Defining "ritual" as any shared, repeated process that occurs in a liminal space and time outside ordinary experience, Dr Brock argues for the power of both sectarian and generic "spiritual but not religious" rituals in supporting people with moral injury. 

In making the case for the potency of ritual, Dr Brock focusses on anthropological, cross-cultural research on ritual and describes how it uses human capacities for empathy, imagination, play, creativity and hope to enable recovery for individuals without requiring them to change themselves.

Through examples drawn from an evidence-based moral injury recovery programme developed for veterans by Volunteers of America, Dr Brock explores how ritual can help military personnel and others who work in high stakes situations recover from morally challenging experiences. 

Brian Powers: Beyond the Binary of "Victims" and "Perpetrators": A Revised Typology for Moral Injury Based on Agency

At the heart of moral injury is a violation or betrayal - of life, of justice, or of that which we either know or come to recognise to be right. The conception of moral injury - suffered by individuals affected by these violations or betrayals - allows us to examine not simply the actions of atomised individuals, but our collective values, laws and political decisions that place individuals in morally injurious situations, often leaving a very few to suffer moral consequences of collective choices.

Yet, as Brian argues here, this aspect of moral injury is always at risk of being undone by premature ascription of blame that reduces the rich description of moral injurious situations to a simple labelling of ‘victims’ and ‘perpetrators’, blinding us to the wider forces that condition violence in our societies and hindering us from envisioning corrective and reparative actions.

In this video, Brian explores the way our understanding of agency in morally injurious situations can aid in reinterpreting typologies of moral injury and that this reinforces the fundamental capacity of moral injury to illuminate moral struggles whose causes extend beyond the individuals suffering from it.

Carrie Doehring: Sharing Lament and Reinvesting in Hope When Loved Ones Die by Suicide

Dr Doehring discusses body-based and other spiritual self-care practices that can aid in supporting people experiencing the moral injury of caring for a loved one with complex psychological struggles and despair, including loved ones who have subsequently died by suicide. She shares some of her own experience through a recorded conversation that models a particularly helpful form of deep listening. Following that Dr Doehring and our Executive Director Brian Powers discuss the moral stress of caregiving in family situations, and some spiritual practices that may be salutary in this environment. 

Brad Kelle and Chris Tidd: The Power of Religious Rituals in Supporting People with Moral Injury

In this video we discuss the power of both ancient and modern religious rituals in facilitating recognition of moral struggles and moving towards moral repair. Dr Kelle explores how ancient rituals can be a resource for thinking about practices for moral trauma, illuminating the way in which rituals (a) acknowledge and contextualise morally injurious experiences (b) communalise morally injurious experiences, and (c) involve the physical body in the healing of trauma. Christopher Tidd, a theologian and military veteran, offers a personal reflection on moral injury and Christian ritual.

Michael Yandell: Moral Injury as Negative Revelation

Speaking as a theologian and military veteran, and using the Global War on Terror led by the United States as a primary context, Michael describes moral injury as a ’negative revelation.’ He argues that the value of goodness, justice, and meaning is disclosed through their absence, and that the value of life can be paradoxically glimpsed through the dehumanisation of wartime violence.


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