Recovering From Moral Injury

Spiritual Scars

Steve Rose PhD

Upon returning from war, many veterans experience a sense of guilt or shame resulting from incidents that occurred during their deployment. As discussed in my previous post on why moral injury is so dangerous, the sense of isolation and shame can result in suicide. Here, I consider a few novel ways moral injury can be combated, beyond individual psychological treatment.

In the book, Soul Repair: Recovering From Moral Injury After WarRita Nakashima Brock and Gabriella Lettini provide insight into the power of community in healing from moral injuries. It is this sense of community we may be sorely lacking in the modern world. They state:

In many traditional societies, all returning soldiers were required to undergo a period of ritual purification and rehabilitation before re-entering their ordinary lives after war.

Religion developed as an institutionalized means of ensuring social solidarity in traditional contexts where widely shared moral precepts…

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