Moral Injury and Pathways to Recovery

Wednesday, May 29, 2019 – Friday, May 31, 2019

A Conference for everyone, including Clinicians, Chaplains, Community Members, Congregational Leaders, Veterans, Families, and Consumers/Clients who want to learn more about Moral Injury, explore recovery strategies, and connect to others who care and want to help. 

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs defines moral injury as “the violation of what is right in high-stakes situations by a person with legitimate authority” and “a syndrome of shame, self-handicapping, anger and demoralization” resulting from experiences that challenge “deeply-held beliefs and expectations about moral and ethical conduct.”  While moral injury first emerged in research on military veterans, anyone who works in high-stakes situations or who has endured trauma can experience it.  When life offers dilemmas that deliver devastating consequences, moral injury can happen to anyone, anywhere and at any time.  A crisis of conscience is a normal response to an experience of witnessing or inflicting harm that cannot be integrated into an existing moral system.

The effects of moral injury are pervasive in our society and contribute to homelessness, self-harm, suicide, rage, addiction, compulsive overwork and/or depression.  But unlike some causes of distress, moral injury is not a mental illness.  It is an existential crisis in identity and meaning because of devastating life circumstances and it can happen at any age.  But recovery is possible because having it is a sign of a health conscience and a longing to connect to others.  Come learn what we all can do to make recovery happen. (To learn more about Moral Injury, click here.