Building Spiritual Strength: a Spiritually Integrated Approach to Treating Moral Injury

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: This article reviews a spiritually integrated group therapy, Building Spiritual Strength (BSS), designed to treat moral injury and associated syndromes (e.g., PTSD, burnout) with Gestalt and cognitive techniques and psychoeducation about spiritual coping. BSS was designed for active duty and military veterans but has since been adapted and expanded for other groups experiencing moral injury. Recent Findings: Two RCTs have demonstrated BSS led to a decrease in PTSD symptoms in military members. Though BSS did not outperform a person-centered group therapy control in one RCT, the BSS group reported a decrease in spiritual struggle compared to the control. While no studies have yet been published on the expansion of BSS to new populations, emergent qualitative evidence on BSS for volunteers working with refugees indicates effectiveness in increasing positive spiritual coping. This expansion also revealed an opportunity for BSS to increase cultural humility in group members, in addition to reducing moral injury and other symptoms of distress. Summary: BSS is an effective, spiritually integrated means of reducing distress and improving spiritual coping. There are numerous opportunities for expansion of BSS to new populations and to test a variety of outcomes, including moral injury, spiritual flourishing, and cultural humility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-320
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Psychiatry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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