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Clinical Conference: Jonathan Shay, PhD Topic:  Moral Injury

  • 16 Sep 2017
  • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM
  • New Haven Lawn Club


(depends on selected options)

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The Connecticut Society for Psychoanalytic Psychology

Presents a Clinical Conference

Jonathan Shay, PhD 

Moral Injury

 September 16, 2017

10:30 am – 12:30 pm
The New Haven Lawn Club
193 Whitney Ave, New Haven

Lunch will follow for all attendees


The term moral injury has recently begun to circulate in the literature on  psychological trauma. It has been used in two related, but distinct, senses; differing mainly in the “who” of moral agency. 

Moral injury is present when there has been (a) a betrayal of “what’s right”; (b) either by a person in legitimate authority (my definition) … or by one’s self – “I did it” (Litz, Maguen, Nash et al); (c) in a high stakes situation. Both forms of moral injury impair the capacity for trust and elevate despair, suicidality, and interpersonal violence. They deteriorate character. 

Clinical challenges in working with moral injury include coping with [1] being made witness to atrocities and depravity through repeated exposure to trauma narratives, [2] characteristic assignment of survivor’s transference roles to clinicians, and [3] the clinicians’ countertransference emotions and judgments of self and others. A trustworthy clinical community and particularly, a well-functioning clinical team provide protection for clinicians and are a major factor in successful outcomes with morally injured combat veterans.


For 20 years Jonathan Shay was a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston, where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. He retired from clinical work in May, 2008 to devote himself full time to preventive psychiatry in military organizations. He has been a MacArthur Fellow since the January, 2008. He is the author of Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character (1994) and of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming (2002). He is currently working on a multi-volume work titled, Trust Within Fighting Forces: Its Significance, Its Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction.

New York Times interview with Dr Shay can be read at:

Recommended Readings can be found below.


The New Haven Lawn Club

193 Whitney Ave, New Haven

Conference Schedule

10:00 – 10:30 Registration and Continental Breakfast

10:30 – 12:30 Presentation

12:30  –  1:30  Lunch for All Attendees

To Register and Pay

Register and pay online with your credit card or paypal.  

To pay by check, print and fill out the registration form and mail with your check to Conference Registrar, Nir Yehudai, LMSW, 303 Mansfield St #1, New Haven, CT 06511 Mailed registrations must be postmarked by September 5 to qualify for early registration discount.

Click here for mail in registration form

Members - remember to log in to register as a member.

Refunds will be given in full if the Conference Registrar, Nir Yehudai, LMSW, is contacted at Nir Yehudai no later than the Monday before the conference.

Recommended Readings

Shay, J. (2014).  Moral Injury  Psychoanalytic Psychology 2014, Vol. 31, No. 2, 182–191.

Shay, J. (2008). Thumos: Culture, Society, Mind, BrainFor Symposium,Von Achilles bis Zidane. Zur Genealogie des ZornsEinstein Forum, Potsdam, Germany 11-13 December 2008

Shay, J. and Munroe, J. (1999)Restoring the Architecture of Character in Complex PTSD after Combat, In Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Comprehensive Text, Eds. Saigh,

Philip A. and Bremner, J. Douglas, under the title, “Group and Milieu Therapy of Veterans with Complex PTSD.” New York: Simon & Schuster (Allyn & Bacon Imprint), 1999, pp. 391-413.


The conference is appropriate for professionals interested in the practice of psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic psychotherapy. The instructional level of this conference is intermediate.

Learning Objectives

1.  Participants will be able to name three ways that PTSD and Moral Injury differ.


2.  Participants will be able to describe two reasons why this distinction is important.  

Participants will be able to name and describe the two forms of Moral injury

Continuing Education

This conference has been approved for for two continuing education hours (NASW & Div. 39)

Division 39 is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. Participants are asked to be aware of needs for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them.

Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Ellen Nasper, PhD, at Ellen Nasper.

Art: Jiří Anderle. What Will We Do?
Cycle: Horace: Beware of Asking What Tomorrow May Bring

Cincinnati Art Museum, Gift of The Anne & Jacques Baruch Collection

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