Strategies for Increasing Cultural Competence with Moral Injury in Combat Veterans
Sunday, March 25
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM
War, at its very base, etymologically means to bring into confusion. For time immemorial, service members have been required to participate in acts deemed unjustifiable outside the remit of battle. Furthermore, veterans experience childhood abuse at higher rates than civilians and often present with attachment difficulties, reenactments, and dissociation. Coupled together, complex PTSD and moral injury can widen chasms between veterans’ pre and post-war selves, shattering fundamental beliefs about human capacity for goodness and evil. Moral injury is a nascent construct, separate but related to PTSD, which describes the repercussions of participation as a perpetrator, bystander, or witness in acts which severely violate individual or shared intrinsic moral codes and systems of beliefs.
We will discuss the significance of moral injury in the practice of psychotherapy, with a focus on the therapeutic relationship. The session will explore strategies for helping patients express potential feelings related to moral injury (e.g., guilt, shame) and grapple with questions about responsibility, loss of meaning, and spirituality. Conversation will foster cultural competency associated with moral injury to bridge the gap between providers and patients. Participants will be invited to share experiential knowledge of working with moral injury, as well as any barriers and countertransference reactions.
- Identify ways to foster cultural competency in working with moral injury to bridge the gap between therapist and veteran.
- Name strategies for working with moral injury to help veterans express feelings and grapple with responsibility, loss of meaning, and spirituality
- Describe barriers to engaging in moral injury work.