Learning Track Seminars


1. Clinical issues and Cultural Dimensions of Invisible Wounds
Dr. Charlotte McCloskey, Kansas City VA

When we work with people whose value system, religion, or cultural context differs from ours, knowledge of different understandings of mental health distress can be an important element in developing a helpful relationship. This seminar will look at Western understandings of psychological disorders and treatment protocols in relation to moral injury and related issues as they appear in other cultures and how these differences might become a resource for treatment and recovery.

2. Violence in the Ranks: Pastoral Care in the Context of Military Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence
Rev. Dr. Kristen Leslie, Eden Theological Seminary, and Rev. Dr. Jeanne Hoeft, St. Paul School of Theology

Sexual assault and domestic violence are a violation of one’s ability to determine their own sacred worth, and their sacred trust with their body, their community, and that which they deem most holy. In military environments where trust in co-workers and those in command is essential, and loyalty to the unit is paramount, sexual assault and domestic violence have additional and complicating implications. Participants in this track will be equipped to understand sexualized violence and domestic violence in military environments, including an ethical framework that distinguishing consenting sex from sexual violence; to challenge damaging misconceptions about sexual assault and domestic violence with facts; to understand why few report assaults both to their military chain of command and as they reintegrate into their civilian environments; to explore religious/spiritual traditions that serve as both resources and roadblocks to healing and resilience; to identify short-term and enduring healing practices that support survivors, the accused, and families, taking into special consideration their reintegration into civilian society.

3. Moral Injury and Rebuilding Moral Identity (FULL)
Dr. Timothy Barth, Texas Christian University

Participants will create a personal ethical policy that can be used as a touchstone for decision-making. They will be introduced to five major ethical perspectives: Virtue; Rights; Justice/Fairness; Common Good; and Utilitarian and then given the opportunity to apply these perspectives in relevant scenarios. This learning track will provide training in the use of the “Thought-Team” strategy. Thought-teams encourage the use of multiple perspective taking, which is an important component of creative problem solving. This learning track will also provide strategies for overcoming common thinking errors that often interfere with ethical decision-making.   These problem solving tools are based on over 30 years of empirical research. The goal of this track will be to show how these strategies and techniques can help restore moral identity.

4. Life-writing for Recovery
Rev. Dr. Joanne Braxton, Founder of the Braxton Institute and Professor of English, College of William and Mary and Rev. Dr. Rebecca Ann Parker

Stories heal. In a circle of compassionate caring, and in pairs and teams, we will explore the healing power of writing our untold stories. Using customized writing prompts, we will discover how bringing to awareness that which has gone unwitnessed offers a pathway to recovering wholeness. Through experiencing it ourselves, participants will learn a practice that can be used by veterans, chaplains, ministers and counselors to begin to address moral injury.

5. Arts and Recovery, Literary, Visual, and Musical
Dr. HC Palmer, M. D. (former U.S. Army battalion surgeon in Vietnam) poet, RezVets Ministry, Church of the Resurrection

This track will explore ways to address problems of moral injury and PTSD through the arts, including writing, painting, sculpture and music. Track leaders will share their experiences working with veterans in writing, musical and visual art workshops. We will also discuss ways to develop new programs in churches and community organizations.  Track leaders are: José Fause, poet, painter and sculptor, Ted John, writer and actor, H C Palmer, writer and poet, Seth Kastle, Afghanistan veteran and author of a childrens’ book for parents with PTSD, Nathan Johnson, musician, composer, and Joe Williams, sculptor and Iraq veteran.