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Transformative Learning and Moral Injury: Developmental Strategies in Higher Education for Healing, Transition, and Growth Barton D. Buechner, PhD Professor,

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Presentation on theme: "Transformative Learning and Moral Injury: Developmental Strategies in Higher Education for Healing, Transition, and Growth Barton D. Buechner, PhD Professor,"— Presentation transcript:

1 Transformative Learning and Moral Injury: Developmental Strategies in Higher Education for Healing, Transition, and Growth Barton D. Buechner, PhD Professor, Military Psychology MA Program References for the key concepts are included in the notes section.

2 Key Points  (1) Veterans are oriented by culture and training to value and embody Warrior Strengths  (2) The APA definition of PTSD has changed –public perception and therapies have not  (3) “Moral Injury” is experienced as a different phenomenon than PTSD – but appears similar  (4) Transformational Learning Theory is a specific form of adult education that helps make meaning  (5) This is facilitated by a mentoring community as a process of personal development or Posttraumatic Growth

3 “Better than any other kind of experience, schooling can restore the veteran to the communicative system of society” - (Waller, 1944) Communication and Education in Veterans’ Transitions Source: Presentation by G. Vaillant, at Fielding Summer Session, July 2013

4 READJUSTMENT: “Better than any other kind of experience, schooling can restore the veteran to the communicative system of society” (Waller, 1944) HEALTH AND GROWTH: From the Harvard Grant Longitudinal study: Education was the single best predictor of overall future health (Vaillant, 2012) Developmental Mentoring Source: G. Vaillant (2014)

5 A Cultural Disconnect

6 Philosophical underpinnings: The educational line of thought is Transformational Learning – the psychological line of thought is Constructive Developmentalism … which attends to the natural evolution of the forms of our meaning-constructing” …. And the Communication line of thought is Cosmopolitan Communication - Robert Kegan

7 Androgogy vs. Pedagogy (Malcolm Knowles) Mentor-led Cohort-driven Collegial and individual Diversity and Social Justice PROGRAMS: Clinical Psychology, Human and Organizational Development, Media Psychology, Educational Leadership

8 Invisible wounds of war….

9 PTSD, Moral Injury, or Both? Source: David Wood: BOTH Anger Depression Anxiety Insomnia Nightmares Self-medication with alcohol or drugs PTSD “Startle” reflex Memory loss Fear Flashbacks Moral Injury Sorrow Grief Regret Shame Alienation

10 WHAT is the phenomenon? The Lifeworld (Schutz) “The lived experience of human beings and other living creatures as formed into more or less coherent grounds for their existence. This consists of the whole system of interactions with others and objects in an environment that is fused with meaning and language (for human actors) and that sustains the life of all creatures from birth through death. It is the fundamental ground of all experience for human beings.” - Bentz and Shapiro (1998)

11 Transformative Learning Concepts “Disorienting Dilemmas” Reframing of Narratives Interpersonal relations (with Mentors) Individual and social implications and meanings Communicative learning Values of freedom, equality, tolerance, social justice, civic responsibility, and education - Jack Mezirow

12 Posttraumatic GROWTH “What Does not Destroy me Makes Me Stronger” - F. Nietsche (1888) Twilight of the Idols ENABLING FACTORS: Social Support Deliberative Cognitive Processing (Mental Discipline) Positive meaning-making (vision and hope for future) OPPOSITE: Social Isolation Perceived Burdonsomeness Loss of power, Identity and self efficacy SOURCES: Kanako Taku, Oakland University; Jeffrey Bird, SVSU

13 Similar to outcomes of Transformative Learning Posttraumatic Growth:  Relating to Others  New Possibilities  Personal Strength  Spiritual Change  Appreciation of Life Tedeschi and Calhoun (1995)

14 An Interpersonal Theory of Suicide Source: Jeffrey Bird, GVSU

15 “The Marine Corps is like a machine. People are like spark plugs, and the plug has one purpose. Nobody cares about it anymore when you take it out of the machine. People who were my friends now do not care, because I am not able to be a part of that. Marines are all about being the ‘first to fight,’ but now I can’t. It’s like after all of this, I am once more “not one of the cool kids” … People ask how you are, and how you are is that you are dying….not physically, but mentally.” - Rocky Moral Injury

16 Identity formation and re-individuation… When you’ve met one veteran, You’ve met one veteran… - Mike Carrell, Ohio State University

17 HOW is a Worldview Constructed? Consider communication as a “primary” social force How we “make” and “remake” our social worlds Looking at communication, and what gets “made?” - relationships, selves, groups, cultures, etc. When communicating, we engage simultaneously in: COORDINATION (of joint actions) COHERENCE (sense-making, intentions, interpretations) MYSTERY as an important reminder (that we could have DONE otherwise; TOLD ourselves different stories) COSMOPOLITAN COMMUNICATION offers a way to communication between cultures while respecting difference

18 “MORAL INJURY” is not the same as Moral Judgment “Re-examine all you have been told... Dismiss what insults your Soul” - Walt Whitman Moral Code “A Theory by which a group understands its experience and makes judgments about proper and improper actions” A set of concepts and system of rules A tradition of truth and propriety The basis of “common sense” (Pearce and Littlejohn, 1997)

19 The Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM) Theory “How can we structure our Institutions so they support the evolution of consciousness?” - W. Barnett Pearce (2007)

20 Understanding that we live in multiple social worlds Can draw resources from several social worlds in constructing new ones Able to make conscious choices about what forms of life we wish to enact in given situations. Transformation and Social Construction W. Barnett Pearce

21 “...Engage the Whole Human Critter… …Brain, Mind, Society, Culture, and Dynamics of Mental Health ….” -Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD (at ISTSS) “Achilles in Vietnam” (1994) “Odysseus in America” (2002) Domains of Human Experience

22 Cosmopolitan Communication In Four Quadrants “All Quadrants, All Lines” (AQAL) model from Integral theory (Wilber, 2006) and Cosmopolitan Communication model from CMM theory (Pearce, 1989) Source: Arthur Jensen, Ph.D. presentation at SIETAR Berlin, Sept. 2012

23 Constructing a Culture Coordinated System of the Inspector General Teach and Train Inspect Fact-finding Assist (Social Justice) Emergent Properties: Self-confidence Loyalty to each other Acountability Leadership by example Sharing the Moral Code

24 “Contextual Mentoring” Coordinated effort, led by someone who “gets” veterans’ experience, and cares (empathic) at the personal level Builds bridges between military social and future worlds. Brokers “loose-tie” connections to others Integrates elements of Family values (primary socialization), Peer support, Formation, Mental Health, and role models Orchestrates existing lifeworld resources and aspects of advising, counseling, coaching, tutoring, social support - with intention Individual attention to help veteran find their own path or “quest” Re-builds moral codes through Mentor Communication

25 Organizations can develop everyone every day. They can turn student and employee struggles into growth opportunities to create a new kind of competitive advantage. A new way of working that can be transformational for organizations and all of their people. Research and practice about understanding how such cultures work and making more of them possible. Towards Deliberately Developmental Communities: Robert Kegan, Lisa Lahey, Andy Fleming, and Claire Lee Shift in focus from performance to growth and capacity-building New ways to measure personal growth outcomes in Higher education?

26 Super Integral - witness self, being-centric view, (emergent) Integral - holistic, autonomous, worldcentric, “Cosmopolitan” 4% of US pop, evolved 50 years ago Pluralistic - sensitive self, individualistic, idealistic, 10% of US pop, 100 years ago Rational - scientists, data-driven decision-making, logic, reason, 25% of pop, 300 years ago Mythical - hierarchical religions, conformist, good/bad, ethnocentric, 40% of US pop, 5000 years ago Egocentric - 'me'/'I want it now', evolved 10,000 years ago, 20% of US pop. Magic - tribes, clans, gangs, superstitious, safety/survival, 10% of US pop. Archaic - Basic survival, <1% of US population Loevinger’s (Integral) Stages of Development Development and our Organizations

27 Warrior Quests The Universal Mono-Myth: Hero Leaves home Departs on a quest Defeats a strong adversary Returns by a perilous journey Brings back a “boon” or gift to humanity

28 Warrior Quests The American Mono-Myth: A peaceful town is threatened by great evil The local authorities are powerless to stop it A mysterious hero comes and saves the town The hero cannot stay, and leaves alone

29 “System” Mentoring “…if you change one person’s viewpoint, save one life, it’s kind of worth it in the end. You can't change the big things in life if you don’t tackle the little things: that’s how they got big in the first place.” - TJ

30 “I think of this as the hub. They go to class and learn they get to have their own opinion about things that they are allowed to say out loud; and then they come back here and recharge. Then they go to another class where they learn to speak in public, in front of other people; and then they come back here where it’s safe. (The Student Veterans Lounge is) the midpoint between collectivism and individualism.” - Pat “Culture” Mentoring

31 (CMM and ACT therapy are) very much based around constructing meaning for oneself, figuring out what your values are, and then constructing a life that very much adheres and moves forward with those values… …I’m more comfortable with the spirituality that resonates with me, and it is starting to integrate my experience. That is particularly interesting to me, combined with the spiritual focus I have had which is a self-directed, personal gnosis… - AJ “Mind” Mentoring

32 “Brain” Mentoring “I have never had a bad experience with a psychiatrist or anything, but it seems like they just ask one question after another after another, and then saying things like, ‘well, it sounds like you keep mentioning this, or it sounds like this is what’s really bothering you.’ But it seems like they are too passive. Being passive limits your effectiveness, especially when you are having a conversation with someone, especially about something they are struggling with. - TJ

33 How do you fix a “worldview”? “PTSD isn’t a disease, it’s a worldview. War, disaster response, police work, these things force a person to live in the spaces where trauma happens, to spend most of their time there, until that world becomes yours, seeps through your skin and runs in your blood. Diseases are discrete things. But how do you treat a change in perspective?” - AJ (Blog post)

34 Transformative Learning and Moral Injury: Developmental Strategies in Higher Education for Healing, Transition, and Growth Barton D. Buechner, PhD Professor, Military Psychology MA Program

35 As humans, we all have stories and tell stories Our relationships and social worlds are built in communication This Model helps parse out the different levels and types of stories that co-exist CMM “Storytelling” Model stories told storytelling stories lived untold stories unheard stories unknown stories untellable stories Maps out what you know, and still need to know

36 CMM “Daisy” Model Used to analyze groupings of mentors over different lifeworld contexts and their level of influence at various times.

37 CMM “Serpentine” Model Helps to reveal how reality is costructed or meaning is made in episodes of communication Constituted in at least three ”turns,” or conversational triplets

38 CMM “Strange Loops” “Catch 22” situations are common experiences for veterans. The Strange Loop” model helps reveal the contextual factors underlying them

39 CMM “Hierarchy” Model Helps to reveal the “logical forces” that lead us to “act into” situations in our lifeworlds in different ways, depending upon frame of reference or context

40 MIND CULTURE SYSTEM BRAIN Coherence Coordination Mystery Interior Exterior Individual Student Veteran Organizations (MTMM) - Peer Mentoring Psychoeducation and Therapy (OTMM) – Behavior Formation and Development (OTOM) – Developmental Veterans Service Office Organizational Support (MTOM) - Advocacy Bridging Family Influence Social World Resources Engagement and “quests” Cognition and Neuroscience Phenomenological Lived Experience Adult Learning Affect and Emotion Observable Behavior Plasticity Collective Social Justice Somatics


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