Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A theological approach to healing and growth: For those affected by moral injury, operational stress, and trauma
by Hansen, Christopher M., Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, 2018, 314; 10833434
Abstract (Summary)

This study explores issues of internal moral conflict, moral injury, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PDST), from the lens of a developed theological anthropology which finds its foundation in Paul Tillich, Wolfhart Pannenberg, and Karl Rahner. This dissertation tests the theory that operational and combat stress experienced by military service members strains the imago Dei by numbing the human ability for connection and transcendence and, thus, necessitates a "rehumanizing" journey of healing through reconnection with God and others.

In order to better care for military service members, a new framework for sin is created which addresses issues of generalized estrangement and personal sin from the context of combat operations. This includes examining military training, killing, and issues of justice to clearly present the current psychological and spiritual challenges within the realm of morality, as experienced by service members.

From this foundation, a theology of growth is constructed based on a synthesis of theological anthropologys from various traditions which better resonate with service member's experiences, and then draws connections with current psychological work in posttraumatic growth. These connections are then used to evaluate support intervention techniques for effectiveness in the process of rehumanizing, which heals and grows a person from moral injury and allows them to once again experience the transcendent connection unique to being created in the image of God. The journey of rehumanization is part of the quest for sanctification, deification, and New Being. This is fostered in non judgmental accepting relationships that find their foundation in God's love for humanity and are experienced as sacred glimmers of the infinite.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Russell, Robert
School: Graduate Theological Union
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-A 79/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Religion, Pastoral Counseling, Theology
Keywords: Combat, Military, Moral Injury, Operational Stress, PTSD, Theological Anthropology
Publication Number: 10833434
ISBN: 9780355912012
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