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Soul Repair Center

The Soul Repair Center is dedicated to equipping religious leaders and professional caregivers to respond to veterans and all affected by moral injury.

Since 2012, The Soul Repair Center at Brite Divinity School has offered public education and conducted research on moral injury and recovery for military veterans. During this time, it has educated religious and non-profit communities, employers, educators, religious leaders, chaplains, seminarians, and medical care-givers about the ways to support processes of healing for those who experience military moral injury and their families.

Beginning in July 2017, Dr. Nancy J. Ramsay, now Emerita Professor of Pastoral Theology and Pastoral Care and former Chair of the Soul Repair Center National Advisory Board, became Director of the Soul Repair Center. Under Dr. Ramsay's leadership, the Center is giving primary attention to developing resources for equipping faith communities from many religious traditions to engage in caring practices with veterans affected by moral injury and their families.

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What is Moral Injury?

“Moral injury results when soldiers violate their core moral beliefs, and in evaluating their behavior negatively, they feel they no longer live in a reliable, meaningful world and can no longer be regarded as decent human beings. They may feel this even if what they did was warranted and unavoidable. Killing, torturing prisoners, abusing dead bodies, or failing to prevent such acts can elicit moral injury.

The Consequences of violating one’s conscience . . . can be devastating. Responses include overwhelming depression, guilt, and self-medication through alcohol or drugs. Moral injury can lead veterans to feelings of worthlessness, remorse, and despair; they may feel as if they lost their souls in combat and are no longer who they were. Connecting emotionally to others becomes impossible for those trapped inside the walls of such feelings. When the consequences become overwhelming, the only relief may seem to be to leave this life behind.”

Brock, R. Nakashima and Lettini, G. (2012). Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War. Boston: Beacon.

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