The Hauenstein Center was proud to host this two day conference with the Michigan Combat PTSD Task Force. Since 2001, more than 2.2 million men and women have served in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts. Because of the unique characteristics of these wars, and our advanced medical and scientific knowledge, we have become aware of a significant number of our veterans returning with physical and psychological injuries. Similarly, many of these brave individuals have also suffered spiritual injuries. Many spent their childhoods learning to value and respect human life and property. However, in every war, no matter how just, military service personnel are asked to destroy both life and property. Even though they may understand intellectually why they are fighting, many are left with feelings of guilt and shame. Neurologists and psychotherapists can do little to treat these moral injuries. Instead, the clergy from most spiritual traditions have the rituals and authority to heal these wounds.
Every community has the responsibility of welcoming and supporting our returning veterans. However, medical personnel, social workers, psychologists, and clergy as well as the general public often do not understand the role of each professional. Furthermore, community resources are often unknown, and therefore, are not utilized.
The purpose of this conference was to:
- Promote the understanding of Traumatic Brain Injury, Post-traumatic Stress Injury/Disorder and Moral Injury.
- Clarify the roles of physicians, social workers, psychologists and clergy in helping returning veterans.
- Identify community resources.
- Establish a solid Community Referral Network to specifically treat combat related TBI, PTSD and Moral Injury.
- Begin a dialogue to identify practical and effective strategies for treating our wounded veterans.
- Friday keynote given by Dr. Jonathan Shay, Ph. D., M.D., a nationally known psychiatrist, and author of “Achilles in Vietnam”.
- 9 AM: Chaplain (Colonel) Herman Keizer, U.S. Army (Retired) decorated Vietnam veteran, Director of Chaplains CRCNA, Emeritus and Rita Nakashima Brock, Ph.D. spoke on Moral Injury.
- 10:45 AM: Panel Discussion – clergy, mental health professionals, medical professionals
- 1:45-3:15 PM: Stephen N. Xenakis, M.D., psychiatrist, retired Brigadier General, and former Commander of the Southeast Regional Army Medical Command, spoke on TBI and PTSD.
- 3:30-4:45 PM: Panel Discussion – community providers, coordinating and establishing a solid network