This eBook explores the phenomena of trauma and moral injury, their sources and manifestations, and how chaplains can begin to recognize them where chaplains serve.



There is a lot of literature now available on trauma and a growing body of work on moral injury. Increasingly, programs and educational opportunities to become more trauma-informed are popping up. As we prepare this eBook, healthcare workers continue to provide front-line care for COVID-19. Moral injury, a term previously used exclusively by clinicians naming the impact of war on veterans, is now being used across healthcare systems to speak about the toll of pandemic response on healthcare staff.

Trauma lodges so deeply within us that everything around us is experienced through the lens of fear and its various postures: fight, flight, and freeze.

We are also in a moment in which anti-black racism and the wounds of racial trauma are surfacing in public. Moral injury newly names the consequences of ethical harm that we experience on a personal and collective level.

Perhaps the most undebatable public
statement we could offer is this: trauma is everywhere.

This eBook is not a ‘how-to-guide’ to respond to trauma and moral injury. Instead, it offers a broad framework for you, as spiritual care professionals, to name the realities in which you are doing your work. An important dimension of trauma is the difficulty in naming and acknowledging that our worlds have not only been shaken, but, in fact, shattered. We can meaningfully speak into this moment, but we cannot do so if we see ourselves unaffected by trauma.

If we are alert to this, we, as care providers, consider how we might meet someone in these experiences.

Table of Contents

  • Part 1: Trauma
    • Trauma lives in our bodies
    • Trauma lives in our institutions
    • Trauma lives in our country
  • Part 2: Moral Injury
    • Moral injury lives in our bodies
    • Moral injury lives in our institutions
    • Moral injury lives in our country
  • Part 3: Questions to consider
  • Part 4: Resources on Trauma and Moral Injury

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