Soul Injury: Re-owning & Re-homing Scattered Pieces of Self

by Deborah Grassman
(Go to for more extensive insight into soul injury.)


Not only can the body and brain become injured during trauma, the mind and the heart can be injured as well. PTSD programs are responding well to these wounds. Beyond the mind and the heart, however, is the soul. The soul is the repository of a person’s truth – and it often carries the PAIN of truth. No matter what we do to try to run away or numb it from our minds and hearts, the SOUL holds the pain – holds the truth of what was experienced. The primary source of Soul Injury is unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt. These Soul Injuries can become neglected, generating symptoms of their own.

Those who may have sustained a soul injury include:
-Families of Veterans
-Civilians in War Zones
-First Responders
-Victims of Sexual Assault, Crime, Accidents, Natural Disasters, Abuse, Neglect
-People who have Experienced Loss of Personal Health or a Loved One’s Health, Death of a Loved One, Betrayal by a Significant Other

Soul injuries injury can subtly and not-so-subtly rob people of their vitality. No matter where the source of trauma originates, the source of soul injury is the same: unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt and shame over things we think we should or should not have done. Unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt can sabotage lives.

For Veterans, unmourned grief and unforgiven guilt might surround the loss of fallen comrades. Military programs have provided few forums that respond to these kind of soul injuries, leaving veterans carrying these burdens alone. Family members of combat veterans are also affected; their wounds, too, often go unnoticed and untended. Complicating matters further are civilians, who may not recognize their role in supporting the reintegration of veterans back into themselves.

In addition to depression, anger, addictions, and loss of trust in the world/others commonly experienced by people with PTSD, Soul Injury symptoms might include:
-A penetrating loss of personal and relational intimacy
-Struggling with an unfulfilled inner hole that causes spiritual distress
-Guilt and shame leading to a sense of unworthiness
-A vague sense of meaninglessness
These symptoms can range from mildly annoying to intensely overwhelming with thoughts of suicide.

The Soul Injury program offered by Opus Peace responds to soul injuries, including the impact this has on their families. Our goal is to help traumatized people love, forgive, and trust themselves to navigate in the world again by disarming their heart while cultivating personal intimacy with fractured aspects of their own self. Our primary modality for doing this is by training people in providing Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops are 3-dimensional providing education for the mind, safety for the heart, and courage to develop a new relationship with the pain in their soul. In the process, participants discover that, paradoxically, the thing they were fleeing (pain and guilt) is the very thing that will free them up. A safe haven is created so participants can re-own and re-home the parts of themselves that may still be carrying unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt. The 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop provides tools and resources for healing soul injuries. Children receive “Soul Buddy” dolls to help them give voice to the pain and anger they might experience due to the soul injury in the family. Following the ceremony, mental health counselors, massage therapists, chaplains, bereavement support, veteran resource programs, and others are available for follow-up care and referral. Exhibits provide resources for continued information, care, and support.

At a Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshop, participants learn how:
-Soul injuries are stored in the body, mind, and spirit, as well as how this affects whole family systems.
-Unmourned grief from losses, as well as unforgiven guilt and shame over things they think they should or should not have done can subtly and not-so-subtly sabotage their life.
-To love, forgive, and trust themselves to navigate in the world again by disarming their heart while cultivating personal intimacy with fractured aspects of their own self.

Participants experience some level of healing even if they only witness the ceremony without participating in it.

If you would like to help heal our nation of the aftermath of war, please consider sponsoring a Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshop community event that invites combat veterans to come mourn their fallen bretheren. Contact us and we will come help you. Don’t miss this opportunity to heal the aftermath of war in your community. E-mail for more information. We will help you!


Peace at Last

While caring for thousands of veterans over a 25-year career in a hospice setting at a VA hospital, Deborah Grassman gathered stories of pain,redemption, personal awakening and peace. She’s built these stories into an unforgettable book, taking the reader on a journey of understanding and growth. Her pioneering work in identifying the unique needs of veterans has changed how this nation honors, respects, and treats veterans at the end of life. Already, her book has become a classic on the topic.

See all books.

Education. Compelling workshops presented in unusual and engaging ways on intriguing topics: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Aging, Personal Healing, Veteran issues, Self-Care, Chronic Illness, End-of-Life care, Spiritual Growth, PTSD, Forgiveness, Good Grief.

Low-cost Retreats. 1, 2, or 3-day retreats in your city or ours (Tampa). Topics include: Soul Injury, Soul Restoration, Personal Growth and Healing, Forgiveness, Aging.

Soul Restoration Ceremonial Workshops. Caregiving, whether personal or professional, takes a toll! Understandably, we often disconnect from the pain. Disconnecting from the part of self carrying the pain contributes to loss of energy, emptiness, and compassion fatigue. This 4-8 hour ceremonial workshop will provide a restorative experience for your staff or your patients’ families.

Soul Injury Ceremonial Workshops. We will help your community organize, plan, and implement a ceremony for combat veterans which helps them lay down any burdens of unmourned grief or unforgiven guilt they may still be carrying. The gaping hole in our society from the aftermath of war can be healed!

Book Circles for Personal Growth.Utilizing the book, The Hero Within: Redeeming the Destiny We Were Born to Fulfill, we will help you grow small communities of people who want to cultivate pervasive personal peace.

Book Circles for Veterans. Utilizing the book, Peace at Last: Stories of Hope and Healing for Veterans and Their Families, you can become an agent of healing for our nation’s heroes by hosting a book circle for veterans and their families.

Free web-based Materials, Tools, Resources, and Blogs.

We offer these services with our Opus Peace prayer: Cultivate in me, oh God, the willingness to re-own and re-home scattered pieces of myself so that I might be restored to Your wholeness. Grow in me the honesty, humility, and courage to release my fears of who I am and who I am not. Fuel me with your Grace. Amen