Moral Injury and Beyond : Understanding Human Anguish and Healing Traumatic Wounds book cover
1st Edition

Moral Injury and Beyond
Understanding Human Anguish and Healing Traumatic Wounds

ISBN 9781138714564
Published April 2, 2020 by Routledge
180 Pages

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Book Description

Moral Injury and Beyond: Understanding Human Anguish and Healing Traumatic Wounds uniquely brings together a prominent collection of international contributors from the fields of psychiatry, psychology, philosophy, theology, military chaplaincy and acute crisis care to address the phenomenon of moral injury. Introduced in the 1990s to refer to a type of psychological trauma, experienced especially by soldiers who felt that their actions transgressed the expected moral norms, this innovative volume provides a timely update that progresses and redefines the field of moral injury.

The ten ground-breaking essays expand our understanding of moral injury beyond its original military context, arguing that it can fruitfully be applied to and address predicaments most persons face in their daily lives. Approaching moral injury from different perspectives, the contributors focus on the experiences of combat veterans and other survivors of violent forms of adversity. The chapters address thought-provoking questions and topics, such as how survivors can regain their hope and faith, and how they can, in time, explore ways that will lead them to grow through their suffering. Exploring moral injury with a particular emphasis on spirituality, the early Church Fathers form the framework within which several chapters examine moral injury, articulating a new perspective on this important subject. The insights advanced are not limited to theoretical innovations but also include practical methods of dealing with the effects of moral injury.

This pioneering collection will be essential resource for mental health practitioners and trainees working with people suffering from severe trauma. Due to its interdisciplinary nature, it will be useful not only to those academics and professionals engaged with moral injury but will be a source of inspiration for any perceptive student of the complexities and dilemmas of modern life, especially as it interfaces with issues of mental health and spirituality. It will also be invaluable to academics and students of Jungian psychology, theology, philosophy and history interested in war, migration and the impact of extreme forms of adversity.

Table of Contents

Preface: Renos K Papadopoulos;  Introduction: Renos K Papadopoulos;  About the Contributors;  Chapter 1: The Traumatising Discourse of Trauma and Moral Injury: Distress and Renewal by Renos K. Papadopoulos;  Chapter 2: Moral Injury and Self-Empathy: Lessons from Sophocles’s Ajax by Nancy Sherman;  Chapter 3: Moral Conscience, Moral Injury and Rituals of Recovery by Rita Nakashima Brock;  Chapter 4: The Role of Religious Faith in Severe Trauma by Harold G. Koenig;  Chapter 5: Killing the Human Being Within: Irenaeus and Moral Injury by Fr John Behr;  Chapter 6: Just War and Moral Injury: Un-telling a Lie and Envisioning a Path to Healing by Robert Emmet Meagher;  Chapter 7: What is Moral about Moral Injury? A Virtue Approach by Aristotle Papanikolaou;  Chapter 8: The Psychic Counterpoise to Violence Towards the Human Other by Romano Màdera;  Chapter 9: Moral Injury and Forgiveness: A Theological and Psychoanalytic Approach by Vasileios Thermos;  Chapter 10: From Therapy to Impact: Expanding the Role of Non-Psychiatric Moral Injury Theorists in Direct Veteran Care by D. William Alexander

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Renos K. Papadopoulos, PhD., is professor in the Department of Psychosocial and Psychoanalytic Studies and director of the Centre for Trauma, Asylum and Refugees at the University of Essex, UK, and professor at the Antiochian House of Studies, USA. He is a practicing clinical psychologist, family psychotherapist and Jungian psychoanalyst as well as a trainer and supervisor.


‘The concept of moral injury draws attention to the ways in which violence can not only wound body and mind but also attack our sense of meaning, coherence, solidarity, and belief in a just world. The thoughtful and heart-felt essays in this collection explore moral injury from diverse psychological, philosophical, social, spiritual and religious perspectives, enlarging our view of the impact of violence far beyond the common trope of trauma. Anyone concerned to address the human costs of violence will find much to deepen and enrich their understanding and response to some of the most challenging existential predicaments we face.’ 

Laurence J. Kirmayer, MD, FRCPC, FCAHS, FRSC, James McGill Professor & Director, Division of Social and Transcultural Psychiatry, McGill University, Canada

‘This stimulating compilation of different but complementary perspectives on a persistent aspect of the human condition sheds light on the full extent of damage and suffering experienced, individually and collectively, and reveals deeper understandings of harm and possible repair.  The insights and applications are of interest in fields well beyond those of the contributors.’ 

 Professor John Packer, Neuberger-Jesin Professor of International Conflict Resolution; Director, Human Rights Research and Education Centre, University of Ottawa, USA

‘This volume testifies eloquently to the urgent need for scholars and practitioners across disciplines to join forces and use all the resources at their disposal—from the medical to the theological—in a common quest to address the deeply complex and mounting reality of moral injury in the contemporary world. A timely collection on a pressing topic.’ 

Dr Alexis Torrance, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame, USA