‘Soul Injury’ program addresses loss, grief


Unmourned loss and unforgiven guilt can take an extreme toll on an individual.

Learning to deal with these issues is a necessity, according to Amy L. Billa. She is a counselor and social worker who facilitates programs and workshops that provide grief and loss education. She has conducted workshops for a wide variety of groups.

Billa and Bruce Norman, a Vietnam veteran and Kindred Hospice bereavement coordinator and chaplain, will be the facilitators for an upcoming workshop called “Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss and Unforgiven Guilt.” That event is planned for Thursday, Jan. 25 at the Westin Hotel, 310 S. High St., Columbus.

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m. and the presentation will run from 9 to 11:30 a.m. The cost is $30 if registration is completed by Friday, Jan. 19. For military veterans or active personnel, admission is free.

The idea of addressing a “soul injury,” Billa said, traces its roots to Veterans Affairs hospice nurses who provided care for veterans facing the end of their lives. The concept was then expanded upon by Deborah Grassman, a former VA nurse who is now CEO of the non-profit mental health group Opus Peace.

“(Grassman) and a group of nurses started talking about how they saw similar reactions in combat veterans as they were dying,” Billa said. “They treated over 10,000 combat veterans. She coined the phrase ‘soul injury.’ She decided the word needed to get out.”

“Soul Injury” is a DVD presentation featuring Grassman and augmented by facilitators like Billa and Norman. According to a press release issued by Billa, the program is for people “who have been affected by trauma, grief, war, and abuse, as well as those who serve the dying.”

“Loss can be from the trauma of seeing people killed or killing people, as would be necessary in combat,” Billa said. “Trauma can come from witnessing violent crime, sexual assault, abuse — all different kinds of things can cause these soul injuries. (Grassman) believed that — and I agree wholeheartedly — this information not only applies to our veterans, but to many people in our community, including some who have lived through natural disasters.”

Billa said clergy, healthcare providers, mental health professionals, and veterans are encouraged to attend the presentation.

For information or to register to attend to “Soul Injury: Liberating Unmourned Loss and Unforgiven Guilt,” go to www.grieflosseducation.com.

By Andrew Carter

[email protected]

Contact Andrew Carter at 740-413-0900. Follow him on Twitter @DelOhioEditor.

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