Resolving Soul Injuries

By Angela Sipe, M.J., CHPCA

Facing a terminal diagnosis is tough. Time is precious. Along with physical difficulties, this can be a period of deep soul searching. Some people feel an urgency to assess their life and resolve unfinished business.

At end of life, the unconscious mind becomes stronger than the conscious mind.  Unfinished business can surface, unbidden, and demand an audience. Patients may feel agitated needing to rectify past hurts. Medication cannot fix these issues and may even worsen the symptoms.  Sometimes this unfinished business is the result of a Soul Injury.

Soul Injuries are overlooked wounds that separate one from their “real self.” They can cause feelings of unworthiness or inadequacy. 

Soul Injuries take many forms. Some are old wounds. Others are more recent. But all such injuries can lead to pain and confusion at life’s end. Ignoring the emotional distress caused by a Soul Injury can limit one’s chances for dying (or living) peacefully. 

People at risk include:

  • Victims of sexual assault, crime, accidents, natural disaster, bullying, neglect, domestic violence
  • People who experienced heartache, loss of personal health or a loved one’s health
  • People who experienced death of a loved one or betrayal by a significant other
  • Minorities and marginalized members of a society, culture, or group
  • Stoic cultures that hide emotional pain
  • Veterans and first responders, their families, and civilians who experienced war
  • Personal and professional caregivers vulnerable to burn-out

The bottom linesoul injuries are common. Soul Injuries become embodied due to unmourned loss and unforgiven guilt or shame. If you have a Soul Injury or know someone who does, learn how to bear witness to this pain.  When we learn how to grieve these losses, we can heal at all stages of life.

Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks (HFO) is helping educate our community on soul injuries. Through its grant program, HFO recently partnered with Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis University and University of Missouri to develop education and bereavement support webinars for health care workers and community members. I was privileged to share information about soul injuries during a recent webinar. Check it out and learn more about Soul Injury resources by visiting Hospice Foundation of the Ozarks here.

Below you will find the link to the recording “Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss & Unforgiven Guilt Webinar” .