Stoic Ethics as Therapy: Guidance for Military Chaplains

Hill, Ruston, Religious Studies - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Childress, James, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia
Mohrmann, Margaret, Department of Religious Studies, University of Virginia

United States Military Chaplains are religious minsters who serve under an endorsement from their respective faith groups to minister to personnel in the United States Armed Forces. However, military chaplains also serve in a religiously pluralistic environment and are strictly forbidden by Army Regulation from proselytization of service members to their particular faith group. This places many chaplains in difficult situations as they are called to conduct therapeutic counseling for personnel from many different faith backgrounds or no faith background at all. Because many counseling techniques employed by military chaplains are faith based, they often find themselves walking a fine line between therapy and proselytizing.

The use of ancient philosophy in therapy can be a useful help in solving this problem as much of philosophical ethics transcends faith groups, cultures, and religious ethical traditions throughout the world. This thesis examines the use of Stoic Ethics, specifically in therapy in a military setting, and argues the benefit of this ancient philosophy for dealing with situations particularly germane to those serving in the Armed Forces.

MA (Master of Arts)
Stoic Ethics, Seneca, Stoic Philosophy, Epictetus, Armed Forces, Marcus Aurelius, military, Ethics, Philosophy, military chaplain
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