T4: Rediscovering Meaning from Trauma: An Evidence-Based Perspective
Spiritual care providers and religious leaders have been offering pastoral care to people that have experienced trauma and "moral injury" since the beginning of time. Many of our faith traditions offer meaningful insight and wisdom as we walk with people processing difficult events.
At the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, Dr. Irene Harris has developed an intervention to address trauma and moral injury/spiritual distress in Veterans. Building Spiritual Strength (BSS) is an eight session, manualized intervention that can be led by specially trained mental health or spiritual care providers. In BSS, participants use different styles of prayer/meditation (based on what is consistent with their existing belief system) to explore life stories, current relationships, traumatic events, theodicy forgiveness, and reconciliation.
Attendees of this presentation will gain a better understanding of trauma, moral injury/spiritual distress, and an evidence-based point of view to approach these as a spiritual care provider. In addition, they will gain insight into psycho-spiritual development and how it can impact moral injury/spiritual distress. While attendees will gain new information in this presentation, they will also come to realize much of their existing theology and experience will serve them as they journey alongside individuals recovering from trauma.
J. Irene Harris, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and clinician-investigator at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System, and is an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. Her research program is focused on relationships between spirituality and mental health outcomes, with an emphasis on PTSD and moral injury. Dr. Harris has over 20 publications in peer-reviewed journals, as well as a book on trauma and spirituality recently published by the American Psychological Association. She has pioneered a manualized, spiritually integrated group therapy for PTSD and moral injury designed to be led by chaplain and/or mental health providers.
Timothy Usset, M.Div.2, M.A., LAMFT, has served the military community of Minnesota for over a decade. He joined the Minnesota Army National Guard in 2006 and the Army Reserves in 2011. As an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ, he has worked extensively with moral injury and post-traumatic stress disorder in Veterans from World War II to the current Iraq/Afghanistan conflicts at the St. Cloud and Minneapolis VA. Currently, Timothy is the chaplain for the 13th Psychological Operations Battalion, and study chaplain for the Building Spiritual Strength study at Minneapolis VA Health Care System.