Graduate Theological Union

Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War

Soul Repair by Gabriella Lettini (SKSM) and Rita Nakashima Brock

Published: Beacon Press (November 2012)

Description: The first book to explore the idea and effect of moral injury on veterans, their families, and their communities.

Although veterans make up only 7 percent of the U.S. population, they account for an alarming 20 percent of all suicides. And though treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder has undoubtedly alleviated suffering and allowed many service members returning from combat to transition to civilian life, the suicide rate for veterans under thirty has been increasing. Research by Veterans Affairs health professionals and veterans’ experiences now suggest an ancient but unaddressed wound of war may be a factor: moral injury. This deep-seated sense of moral transgression includes feelings of shame, meaninglessness, and remorse from having violated core moral beliefs. Soul Repair will help veterans, their families, members of their communities, and chaplains to understand the impact of war on the consciences of healthy people, to support the recovery of moral conscience in society, and to restore veterans to civilian life. When a society sends people off to war, it must accept responsibility for returning them home to peace.

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