Qualifications for NAVAC Specialty in Moral Injury


Adopted by the Board of Directors, April 25, 2018



To qualify for Competency in Moral Injury, a chaplain must meet the following requirements:


  1. Be a Board Certified Chaplain (BCC).


   2. Submit a 10-12-page paper (double-spaced, 12-font size, Times New Roman) which addresses the following components:


      a.  What is moral injury? Share various working definitions in the field (with appropriate parenthetical attribution). Discuss how they are similar and different. Share your own definition and why you chose it. Discuss how moral injury is similar and different from PTSD.


      b. What do mental health providers and chaplains each bring to moral injury repair work? Note similarities and differences in approach and care.


      c. What is your working theology surrounding moral injury repair work? How do you address the subject with Veterans?


      d. Describe a minimum of two years’ experience in working with Veterans who suffer from moral injury.


      e.  Give examples of how you have worked collegially with mental health providers in addressing moral injury in your setting.


      f. Describe three case studies of (de-identified) Veterans with moral injury and how you helped them with moral repair work. Ensure you choose three Veterans representing diversity in combat era, gender, age, and race, and include at least one victimhood and one perpetrator case.


   3. Submit a compelling slide presentation (minimum of twenty slides) you have presented on the subject of moral injury. The presentation must have been presented at least once in a community (non-VA) setting and in a VA provider setting (chaplains and/or mental health providers). Include when and where the presentation was given and how it was received.


   4. Document personal involvement in three group iterations of Moral Injury Recovery per year for two years (or “six groups iterations of Moral Injury Recovery over two years”). Note that the main intent for each of these groups must be for moral injury recovery, and each group iteration must include a minimum of four sessions. Include an outline of the curriculum you used, along with an explanation of why you chose that curriculum, whether you led alone or in concert with a mental health provider, a general (de-identified) description of each group, and any outcomes observed.


   5. Submit a total of 18 personal reflection papers as assigned below. Each paper should be a half page to a page in length, and must include a brief summary of the product, personal reflection (likes/dislikes), and how this product might or might not apply to one’s ministry:


      a. Three books from the attached bibliography

      b. Three books on moral injury of the submitter’s choice (may be on the attached list but not required)      

      c. Ten articles related to moral injury and moral repair work (from the list or otherwise).

      d. Two presentations and/or online didactics by authorities in the field – Include when, where, speaker, brief summary, likes/dislikes, and applications to your setting.


Upon successful submission of all required materials, the chaplain will be interviewed by a panel of three. There will be a minimum of two BCCs. The third may be a mental health provider selected by the Board chairperson. Ideally, one or more of the BCCs will hold the Moral Injury Competency. The panel will provide a summary of the evaluation to the NAVAC Board along with a recommendation concerning conveyance of specialty.


Post-Certification Requirements:


  1. Ten hours of moral injury-related continuing education per year.

  2. One book/seminar per year related to moral injury.







Adsit, Chris. The Combat Trauma Healing Manual: Christ-centered Solutions for Combat Trauma. Newport News: Military Ministry Press, 2007.


Brock, Rita and Gabriella Lettini. Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury After War. Boston: Beacon Press, 2012.


Edmonds, Bill. God is Not Here: A Soldier’s Struggle with Torture, Trauma, and the Moral Injuries of War. New York: Pegasus, 2015.


Enright, Robert. Moving Forward: Six Steps to Forgiving Yourself and Breaking Free from the Past. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook, 2013.


Graham, Larry. Moral Injury: Restoring Wounded Souls. Nashville: Abingdon, 2017.


Grimsley, Charles and Gaylene Grimsley. PTSD and Moral Injury: The Journey to Healing through Forgiveness. Camarillo, CA: Xulon, 2017.


Lee, Jeffery. Moral Injury Reconciliation: A Practitioner’s Guide for Treating Moral Injury, PTSD, Grief and Military Sexual Trauma through Spiritual Formation Strategies. Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley, 2018.


Litz, Brett, Leslie Lebowitz, Matt Gray, and William Nash. Adaptive Disclosure: A New Treatment for Military Trauma, Loss, and Moral Injury. New York: Guilford, 2016.


Marlantes, Karl. What it is Like to Go to War. New York: Atlantic Monthly, 2011.


Meagher, Robert. Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War. Eugene: Cascade, 2014.


Shay, Jonathan. Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character New York: Simon and Schuster, 1994.


_____. Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming. New York: Scribner, 2002.


Sherman, Nancy. Afterwar: Healing the Moral Wounds of our Soldiers. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.


Tick, Ed. War and the Soul: Healing Our Nation’s Veterans from Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Wheaton: Quest Books, 2005.


_____. Warrior’s Return: Restoring the Soul After War. Boulder: Sounds True, 2014.


Wood, David. What We Have Done: The Moral Injury of Our Longest Wars. New York: Little, Brown, and Co., 2016.



Articles (most available online through Ebsco Host or other means)


Currier, Joseph, Jason Holland, and Jesse Malott. “Moral Injury, Meaning Making, and Mental Health in Returning Veterans.” Journal of Clinical Psychology 71, no. 3 (March 2015): 229–240.


Drescher, Kent, David Foy, Caroline Kelly, Anna Leshner, Kerrie Schutz, and Brett Litz. “An Exploration of the Viability and Usefulness of the Construct of Moral Injury in War Veterans.” Traumatology 17, no. 1 (March 2011): 8-13.


Graham, Larry. “Exploring Forgiveness of Veteran Guilt through Collaborative Pastoral Conversation.” Sacred Spaces: The E-Journal of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors 5 (2013), accessed October 25, 2015, http://aapc.org/_templates/74/7_graham_best_practices.pdf


Gray, Matt J, Yonit Schorr, William Nash, Leslie Lebowitz, Amy Amidon, Amy Lansing, Melissa Maglione, Ariel Lang, and Brett Litz, “Adaptive Disclosure: An Open Trial of a Novel Exposure-based Intervention for Service Members with Combat-related Psychological Stress Injuries,” Behavior Therapy 43, no. 2 (June 2012), 407-415.


Hall, Julie and Frank Fincham. “Self-forgiveness: The Stepchild of Forgiveness Research.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 24, no. 5 (2005): 621−637.


_____. “The Temporal Course of Self-Forgiveness.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 27, no. 2 (2008): 174-202.


Handzo, George. “Spiritual Care and Moral Injury in Service Members.” Caring Connections 10, no. 1 (Winter 2013): 6-8.


Holdridge, Donald. “Is Self-Forgiveness Biblical Forgiveness?” The Journal of Ministry and Theology 5, no. 1 (Spring 2001): 89-98.


Kim, Jichan and Robert Enright. “A Theological and Psychological Defense of Self-Forgiveness: Implications for Counseling.” Journal of Psychology and Theology 42, 3 (2014): 260-268.


Kinghorn, Warren. “Combat Trauma and Moral Fragmentation: A Theological Account of Moral Injury.” Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics 32, 2 (2012): 57-74.


Kudo, Timothy. “I Killed People in Afghanistan. Was I Right or Wrong?” The Washington Post, January 25, 2013. Accessed February 21, 2017. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-killed-people-in-afghanistan-was-i-right-or-wrong/2013/01/25/c0b0d5a6-60ff-11e2-b05a-605528f6b712_story.html.


Litz, Brett. Nathan Stein, Eileen Delaney, Leslie Lebowitz, William Nash, Caroline Silva, Shira Maguen. “Moral Injury and Moral Repair in War Veterans: A Preliminary Model and Intervention Strategy.” Clinical Psychology Review 29, no. 8 (December 2009): 695-706.


Macaskill, Anna. “Differentiating Dispositional Self-Forgiveness from Other-Forgiveness: Associations with Mental Health and Life Satisfaction.” Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology 31, no. 1 (January 2012): 28-50.


McConnell, John and David Dixon. “Perceived Forgiveness from God and Self-forgiveness.” Journal Of Psychology and Christianity 31, no. 1 (2012): 31-39.


Maguen, Shira and Brett Litz. “Moral Injury in the Context of War.” Last modified February 23, 2016, accessed December 6, 2017. http://www.ptsd.va.gov/professional/co-occurring/moral_injury_at_war.asp.


Nash, William and Brett Litz. “Moral Injury: A Mechanism for War-Related Psychological Trauma in Military Family Members.” Clinical Child and Family Psychology Review 16 (2013): 365-375.


Orban, Michael. Souled Out: A Memoir of War and Inner Peace. Candler, North Carolina: Silver Rings Press, 2007.


Shay, Jonathan. “Moral Injury.” Psychoanalytic Psychology 31, No. 2 (2014): 182–191.


Shay, Jonathan and J. Munroe. “Group and Milieu Therapy for Veterans with Complex Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.” In Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Comprehensive Text, edited by Philip Saigh and J. Douglas Bremner, 391-413 (Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1998).


Shepherd, Aaron. “For Veterans, a Path to Healing ‘Moral Injury.’” New York Times. December 9, 2017. Accessed January 19, 2017. https://www.nytimes.com/2017/12/09/opinion/for-veterans-a-path-to-healing-moral-injury.html

Wohl, Michael, Lise DeShea, and Rebekah Wahkinney. “Looking Within: Measuring State Self-Forgiveness and its Relationship to Psychological Well-Being.” Canadian Journal of Behavioural Science 40, no. 1 (2008): 1-10.


Wood, David. “The Grunts,” “The Recruits,” and “Healing.” The Huffington Post, March 18-20, 2014. Accessed February 21, 2017 at http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/moral-injury/the-grunts, http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/projects/moral-injury/the-recruits, http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/projects/moral-injury/healing


Worthington, Everett. “Self-condemnation and self-forgiveness.” Bibliotheca Sacra 170, no. 680 (October 1, 2013): 387-399. I use this as a handout for Session 1. If you want more of Worthington’s story, the Moving Forward book is a good read.


Worthington, Everett and Diane Langberg. “Religious Considerations and Self-Forgiveness in Treating Complex Trauma and Moral Injury in Present and Former Soldiers.” Journal of Psychology and Theology 40, no. 4 (2012): 274-288.