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Meeting Report (June 1, 2013)

March 23, 2014

Sis. Patricia Wittberg, S.C., Professory of Socilogy and Religion at IUPUI, joined us to discuss social change within religious orders and the role of conscience in objection. Professor Wittberg is the author of numerous books an articles on the sociology of religion and on religious communities, including:

  • Building Strong Church Communities: A Sociological Overview. Paperback: 272 pages. Publisher: Paulist Press (September 1, 2012) Language: English ISBN-10: 0809147742, ISBN-13: 978-0809147748
  • The Rise and Decline of Catholic Religious Orders: A Social Movement Perspective Series: SUNY Series in Religion, Culture, and Society. Paperback: 436 pages. Publisher: State University of New York Press (October 25, 1994) Language: English ISBN-10: 0791422305, ISBN-13: 978-0791422304.

Dr. Douglas Herrmann, Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Indiana State University, also joined us. Professor Herrmann co-edited the Journal of Applied Cognitive Psychology from 1987 until 1991. He was the editor of the journal Cognitive Technology from 1996 to 2005. He has written or edited seventeen textbooks concerned with various aspects of human memory, including the history of memory scholarship, memory functioning in everyday life, memory improvement, and cognitive rehabilitation. We are very pleased to have Dr. Herrmann join us and look forward to benefiting from his expertise in cognitive psychology.


We were very pleased to announce that Ms. Maureen (“Mo”) Wilson had agreed to be the second Stilwell Summer Intern of the Conscience Project. Mo is a recent graduate from McCormick Theological Seminary and is engaged in the Presbyterian ordination process. In addition to the internship, Mo expected to have duties at Irvington Presbyterian Church as Director of Children and Family Ministries. Among her experiences with youth, Mo worked in Northern Ireland with youth from both Catholic and Protestant families.

Recent Activities:

The Illuminated Lyric of Lafracoth. Exhibit. IU School of Medicine Art Show, March 13-14, 2013.
Conscience sensitive moral education: Is it possible? University of Indianapolis, April 10, 2013.

Photographs courtesy of Joe DiMicco

Conscience sensitive moral education: Is it possible? University of Indianapolis, April 10, 2013.

Conscience sensitive moral education: Is it possible? University of Indianapolis, April 10, 2013.

Susan DiMicco discussed her career experiences as a guidance counselor with an abiding interest in values education. She identified challenges and limitations in moral educational efforts. She presented the method of using the VALUE MATRIX as one of the conscience sensitive tasks.

Susan DiMicco discussed her career experiences as a guidance counselor with an abiding interest in values education. She identified challenges and limitations in moral educational efforts. She presented the method of using the VALUE MATRIX as one of the conscience sensitive tasks.

Jere Odell offered a parent’s perspective and presented the conscience sensitive task in MORAL IMAGINATION.

Jere Odell offered a parent’s perspective and presented the conscience sensitive task in MORAL IMAGINATION.

Julia Bradshaw discussed her experiences from years of CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE GROUP WORK with children and adolescents in therapeutic residential care. Matt Galvin discussed CONSCIENCE THEORY and CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE PSYCHIATRY and provided a conceptual framework for how CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE APPROACHES TO MORAL EDUCATION might be included in general and special education contexts.

Julia Bradshaw discussed her experiences from years of CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE GROUP WORK with children and adolescents in therapeutic residential care. Matt Galvin discussed CONSCIENCE THEORY and CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE PSYCHIATRY and provided a conceptual framework for how CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE APPROACHES TO MORAL EDUCATION might be included in general and special education contexts.

Meg Gaffney discussed her CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE APPROACH TO ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM with health care professional students and led the discussion about her favorite domains: MORALIZED ATTACHMENT and MORAL EMOTIONAL RESPONSIVENESS.

Meg Gaffney discussed her CONSCIENCE SENSITIVE APPROACH TO ETHICS AND PROFESSIONALISM with health care professional students and led the discussion about her favorite domains: MORALIZED ATTACHMENT and MORAL EMOTIONAL RESPONSIVENESS.

Works in Progress:

Galvin, M. A Conscience Sensitive Approach to Moral Developmental Psychology and Psychopathology. Presentation for Psychiatry residents.

What We’re Reading:

King, B. J. (2013). Frans de Waal’s Bottom-Up Morality: We’re Not Good Because Of God. Retrieved March 23, 2014, from (M.M.G.)
Pescosolido, B. A., Medina, T. R., Martin, J. K., & Long, J. S. (2013). The “backbone” of stigma: identifying the global core of public prejudice associated with mental illness. American Journal of Public Health, 103(5), 853–860. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2012.301147 (M.G.)
Sulmasy, D. P. (2012, April 2). Machines in Motion. America Magazine. Retrieved from (M.M.G.)
Klosterman, C. (2013, May 10). Should I Protect a Patient at the Expense of an Innocent Stranger? The New York Times. Retrieved from (M.M.G.)
Roby, D. (2013). Overview of Conscientious Objection with Special Attention to Quaker Conscientious Objectors in World War II: Unlikely Heroes of Psychiatric Reform. American Psychiatric Association (APA) Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA. (J.O.)

Next Meeting: September 14, 2013

Meeting Report (February 23, 2013)

March 22, 2014

This meeting began with a report of the many activities of individuals in the group. A highlight includes:

October 2013 – The Illuminated Lyric of Lafracoth was positively received by the IU School of Medicine Arts Committee and at an art show for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Recent Works:

Gaffney M, Cottingham A. Four Medical Ethics Team Based Learning Modules. MedEdPORTAL; 2012. Available from:

 Works in Progress:

The Confluence of Scholarship and Art Derived from the Heart Scholarship QUR’AN & AHADITH. (J.S.)

Conscience Sensitive Moral Education: Is it Possible? (J.B., S.D., J.O., M.M.G., M.G.)

Artwork submitted to the National Alliance for Research on Schizophrenia and Depression. (B.G.)

Concepts: “A fourth level of trauma” (J.S.)

 What We are Reading:

Harris, Robert. (2007). Imperium, A Novel of Ancient Rome. Pocket Books. (J.D.)

Craig, William. (1973). Enemy at the Gates: The Battle of Stalingrad. E. P. Dutton. (J.D.)

Loewen, James. (2007). Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Text Book Got Wrong. Touchstone. (J.D.)

Orentlicher, David. (2013). Broccoli, Medicaid and Mandates: Implications of the Affordable Care Act. Available from: (J.O.)

Your Brain on Jane Austen: An Interdisciplinary Experiment on Literary Attention and Reading. Available from: (M.M.G.)

Schreiber, D., Fonzo, G., Simmons, A. N., Dawes, C. T., Flagan, T., Fowler, J. H., & Paulus, M. P. (2013). Red Brain, Blue Brain: Evaluative Processes Differ in Democrats and Republicans. PLoS ONE, 8(2), e52970. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0052970. Available from: (J.D.)

Next meeting: June 1, 2013.

Meeting Minutes, May 5, 2012

March 9, 2013

The minutes from the previous meeting 1/21/12 were reviewed and accepted.

1/23-27/12 via e-mail exchanges, Meg and Matt conveyed to Sue and Jere that the terms Jere had culled from MeSH and Loc looked to him to be highly pertinent for the bibliographic record.

2/8/12 Jere announced he had received the notification letter awarding “Conscientious objection in the healing professions: a reader’s guide to the ethical and social issues” from the American Library Association’s Carnegie Whitney Grant. [Congratulations Jere!]

Pursuant to our conversation about Love’s Knowledge in our last meeting, Jere had sent Martha Nussbaum’s more recent essay: Nussbaum M (2004): DANGER TO HUMAN DIGNITY: THE REVIVAL OF DISGUST AND SHAME IN THE LAW in The Chronicle of Higher Education (as well as two critical responses) for interested parties; all three are relevant to shame, disgust, moral emotional responses in law and stigma.

In an e-mail 1/25/12, Jere had indicated that Professor Nussbaum keeps a pretty thorough list of her bibliography (with links) on her faculty page at Chicago:

Julia discussed her recent experiences at the Abbie Hunt Bryce (AHB) Home, which is located near 46th and Keystone and which is devoted to providing shelter and services to terminally ill homeless persons. Meg provided additional information about the origins of AHB, modeled after the Malachi House in Ohio and the role of the Visiting Nurse Association and Dr. Greg Grammelspacher in establishing AHB here in Indianapolis. Julia indicated that, while some staff were paid, volunteers were very important in the operation of AHB. There followed discussion about the prospects for conscience sensitive palliative care and how Julia, in particular, might find opportunities to adapt the skills she had acquired in years of working with conscience-in-adversity among residential youth to working with conscience at end-of- life among the terminally ill. Susan remarked on the prospect, wondering about conscience sensitive approaches to the triad of patient/client, family and palliative care staff.

As it happened, Meg had met the Tuesday preceding this meeting with members of the palliative care team, at their invitation, for an hour to discuss moral imagination. The discussion was organized around the task of conceptualizing and drawing conscience. There were two doctors, a nurse, a chaplain and the program director. Meg had wished for more time with them, especially in order to do moralized genograms.

On February 20, 2012, John joined Meg for the senior elective in ethics at the School of Medicine. John thought this year he would concentrate on the role of imagination combined with spiritual elements in human beings that allow grasps of ‘concepts beyond reason.’ John reported on the workshops conducted at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) for pastoral counselors emphasizing spiritual and psychological wounding and their treatments. He recited a moving poem, about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD—1ST PERSON.



Ahead of this meeting John had sent an article for distribution to Conscience Project participants: Bromberg, PM (2003): SOMETHING WICKED THIS WAY COMES: trauma, dissociation, and conflict: the space where psychoanalysis, cognitive science, and neuroscience overlap. Psychoanalytic Psychology 20 (3): 558–574. John highlighted the author’s discussion of a remarkable convergence of neuroscience, cognitive research and an interpersonal/relational psychoanalytic approach that works at the interface of dissociation and conflict. Related reading: Matt mentioned a seminal essay by Eric Kandel on the same subject that might also be of interest [Kandel E (1983): FROM METAPSYCHOLOGY TO MOLECULAR BIOLOGY: EXPLORATIONS INTO THE NATURE OF ANXIETY. American Journal of Psychiatry, 140: 1277-1293].

John returned to the subject of Deb’s painting, Polishing the Mirror and made an association to Ya Wahid, the uniqueness of God that is reflected in each and every aspect of manifestation. Everything’ s a mirror for God’s “face” meaning God’s Presence [Meyer W, Hyde B, Muqaddam, F and Kahn, S (2011): Physicians of the Heart A Sufi View of the 99 Names of Allah, Sufi Ruhaniat International, p. 63].

Susan professed to be more and more cynical about the elective process, and had been looking to history for corrective experiences. She said she favored historical accounts of revolutionary times. She had been reading Robert Graves [Graves R (1982): Count Belasarius, Farrar Straus Giroux]. Susan considered Belasarius (6th century Byzantium) who lived in the time of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora to be a moral historical personage. Also in that category she placed Simon de Montfort (13th century England).

In counterpoint to the notion the course of history might be essentially shaped by extraordinary individuals, moral exemplars or otherwise, Meg was put in mind of Erin Greer’s discussion of Tolstoy’s idea set forth in War and Peace that historical movements could not be accounted for by appeal to great personages Greer E (2012): Tolstoy and Tahrir, The Normal School, a literary magazine, 5(1): 22-28.

Ethna and Susan continued the conversation about how much can be changed by persons in history. Susan remarked about technology forcing certain changes (she returned to this subject later). John was put in mind of the recently deceased Algerian President Ahmed Ben Bella whom John had once met and who John remembered had spoken of “my wobble in the world.” Ben Bella had fought in WWII on the side of the French, then against the French for Algerian independence. For background see:

There followed discussion of the expropriation of Christianity for political purposes. Susan elaborated on distorted perspectives in our times, referring specifically to the Texan influence upon inclusion of the creationist viewpoint in textbooks on science likely to become more widely spread. John was put in mind of the Scopes Monkey trail as depicted in Inherit the Wind. Meg mentioned Rabbi Sandy Sasso’s letter to the editor on fundamentalism and interfaith panels.

On the subject of interfaith Matt mentioned he’d completed an invited book review: Nurturing Child and Adolescent Spirituality: Perspectives from the World’s Religious Traditions. Karen Marie Yust, Aostre N. Johnson, Sandy Eisenberg Sasso and Eugene C. Roehlkepartain, editors. Lanham, MD: Rowan and Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2006, 503 pp. (hardcover). The review was expected to appear in the August issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

There followed conversation about the ‘wobble in the world’ created by the ordination of women according to the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, albeit without the blessing of Rome.

Returning to the subject of technology, Susan commented on the ready juxtaposition in media of what had previously been stated or professed by someone versus what someone professed most recently.

Meg further highlighted some of the contributions to the Symposium on Empathy in Bloomington, In. on 11/11/11. Meg also discussed this year’s Senior Elective experience. While all the learners engaged in the conscience sensitive tasks, three of ten also submitted projects directly related to conscience. Projects included paintings, poetry, letters, essays and a power point.


Moral decision making, medicine, and conscience at work.

The picture (above) was submitted by Ian H, MS4 (reproduced with permission, minor editorial changes in brackets):

For my final project I chose to do a representation of the differences in moral values people have when approaching a difficult medical situation like a comatose loved one. My picture portrays a physician sitting and discussing one such situation with a woman. The colored tendrils coming out of each person’s head represents their hopes, goals, thoughts, and ethics. The physician is driven by his Hippocratic oath and his love of his patient/concern for their health. The wife is driven by her religious views, financial concerns, family, the commitment of marriage, and hope (designated by the chalice which is actually a Unitarian Universalist symbol, but used differently here). While the tendrils are differently colored (signifying that perhaps one draws on a utilitarian argument and another is more [principlist]) both are centered around the patient. They also get very close to each other but never touch. The patient himself is surrounded on one half by my attempt at recreating a CT or MRI machine which represents purely the medicine being used in his diagnosis, treatment, and life sustainment. On the other side this machine morphs into a spiky, red and black half circle showing how these helpful machines may be seen as fearsome and alien to our patients’ loved ones who may not always understand them. Originally I just made up this red and black image, but in a later pathology lecture I learned that it looks uncannily close to a Laurell Rocket electroimmunodiffusion. In any case – that electroimmunodiffusion was something wholly unknown to me, so perhaps it works just as well. Ultimately there are multiple approaches to any ethical dilemma and even though they may be rooted in different ideals and have no obvious intersections, it is the work of the physician (and truly everyone) to try and reconcile them.

Meg recommended reading a book by William May [May W: (2011): Testing the National Covenant, Georgetown University Press]. She liked the concepts of covenant and commonwealth put forth and the concern for undocumented immigrants. A long time admirer of May, Meg had coincidentally encountered William May’s daughter in Batesville, Indiana where Meg was giving an invited talk.

Respectfully submitted,
Edited for Conscience Chronicles, 8-13-12
Matthew R. Galvin

Meeting Minutes, January 21, 2012

March 2, 2013

The minutes from the previous meeting 10/29/11 were reviewed and accepted. Julia was introduced. Until the recent trend in ‘unbundling’ therapies from other programmatic services to children in need of both (in consequence of which contractual arrangements might be made for therapy providers not integral to programs), Julia had conducted work in longer term treatment facilities in the form of individual, family and group therapies for children and adolescents, who often had been subject to but who had also often involved in violent and violating behaviors She gave an account of her experiences as an ‘embedded’ therapist engaging youth in a residential program in the creation of children’s literature. She circulated examples of their works. Her account An Expansion of Conscience Group Using Children Books & Stories appeared in the Conscience Chronicles 5-29-12.

Ethna reflected upon a meeting of a philosophical group (which she often attended on a nearby university campus) during which the subject was angels. She repeated a story that was told by a young woman in the group who was downtown on her way to hear her father perform. She encountered a homeless man, rebuffed him but reconsidered and gave him some money. His response resonated with her and elicited her own sense of gratitude and a sense of presence. He said, “If ever you need anything my pockets are full. Remember me.” There followed discussion of how human beings sometimes become angels at least for a moment when we touch.

Matt provided Ethna a recently published issue of Psychiatric Annals devoted to the subject of coincidences (following up on a previous issue devoted to synchronicity). Ethna indicated she would review the journal and summarize it for the group at our next meeting. John added a thought to the effect: ‘Coincidence is when the Creator chooses to be anonymous’. Ethna indicated her plans to go to Ireland in April with a copy of Lafracoth in hand to show persons there who would be interested. Matt said he would provide her with the illustrated Lafracoth on a flash drive which would be far easier to tote overseas.

Deb announced there would be a presentation and discussion of the stigma of mental illness at Christian Theological Seminary (CTS) on 1/26/12. There followed considerable discussion of stigma and progress in de-stigmatization. Meg, reflecting on resistance to therapy when recommended to medical students, was put in mind of a comment she attributed to Robert Coles who she said expressed surprise when a learner conveyed reluctance to be in therapy reckoning there might be stigma attached. Coles countered that he thought therapy had been essential to him. The subject turned to persons who had provided accounts of their struggles. With respect to major depression, Matt was put in mind of William Styron’s Darkness Made Visible: a memoir of madness, New York: Random House, 1990.

John told of an all day conference with workshops, also to be held at CTS 2/10/12, on the provision of care to veterans and their families. John and Chaplain Clyde Angel will hold one of the workshops based on the group work they conduct with veterans. Those involved have called the group activity “Search for Meaning” and within the secular framework and setting of the VAH explore the spiritual wounds of trauma. Beulah made an inquiry of John regarding the latency between traumatic experience and help-seeking among Iraqi War veterans at the VAH. John replied that the waves of Iraqi War veterans anticipated that would be seeking help had not yet arrived in force. John attributed this state of affairs to different factors including avoidance behaviors and the delayed emergence of symptomatology. In fact, he said, currently services were still more in demand for Viet Nam Era veterans. Beulah made additional remarks about ‘the job challenged environment’ to which veterans were returning and wondered whether employers might fear hiring someone with PTSD. She recalled a class at CTS on separation of church and state in which she learned about one senior vice admiral advocating spirituality tests because of an observed inverse relationship between spirituality scores and suicidality.

On February 20, 2012, John will once again be joining Meg for the senior elective in ethics at the IU School of Medicine. John thought this year he would concentrate on the role of imagination combined with spiritual elements in human beings that allow grasps of ‘concepts beyond reason.’ He said he would draw from comparisons to quantum mechanics (cf John’s comments in our previous Conscience Project meeting 10/29/11). Deb inquired of John if he saw an alliance between imagination and intuition. John responded: “I do now since you asked.” Reference was made to Ibn Arabi’s Metaphysics of Imagination.

With respect to moral imagination, Matt indicated he had been recently acquainting himself with Martha C. Nussbaum’s work by reading Love’s Knowledge: essays on philosophy and literature, Oxford, 1990. Matt was impressed with how she had arrived, from her studies of literature (particularly novels) at much the same concepts (described in pretty much the same words) as we’ve relied upon in describing the domains of conscience arrived at through studies of development. Jere, who had followed Nussbaum’s work for a longer time, concurred and promised to send some of her more recent contributions to Matt and Meg for their review.

Beulah said she was making progress on her thesis on the Gospel according to Mark. She’d been reading about metaphorical basis of cognition. She made reference to Lakhoff and Johnson’s work and applied it to metaphor in Mark. She had been paying particular attention to ‘puns’ or double meanings embedded in the seed parables in both Hebrew and Greek texts. She gave examples of use of a term that might mean ‘sowing’ or might mean ‘scattering’ as in the context of diaspora. Another example was a term figuring in the admonition not to hide one’s lamp under a ‘bushel’ The Hebrew word translated ‘bushel’ might have meant either ‘bed’ or ‘staff / rod (of oppression)’ depending on the gender of the noun.

Jere reported he had updated Conscience Chronicles. A long term project, he said, will be working with Sue in re-designing Conscience Works (CW). Jere indicated the process of migrating materials from CW into the Digital Library (where they will be more enduring) requires a bibliographic record. Jere said Sue had suggested “Meta-thesaurus” which had been created by the NLM as a general database. Jere said he would need to cull KEYWORDS from Conscience Project participants for this project. The decision on funding his grant proposal was still pending at the time of our meeting. He also said he had recently met with Steve V to discuss a grant regarding information on services for parents with special needs children.

Meg provided a brief prospectus of the conscience sensitive tasks embedded in the aforementioned senior elective to be conducted in February. She also noted that Eric Meslin at the Center for Bioethics had become interested in the role of apology in medicine and indicated that he would be making a presentation on the subject.

ponies playing in a waterfall

Mirror of the Heart

Matt and Meg had attended one day of the two day Symposium on Empathy in Bloomington, In. on 11/11/11. The symposium was co-sponsored by the Institute for Advanced Study and the Poynter Center for the Study of Ethics and American Institutions. Psychologist Nancy Eisenberg, Arizona State University, known for her work on prosocial development was featured speaker. Her plenary session was “Empathy-Related Responding in Children: Relations with Positive Moral and Social Development.” Meg attended a concurrent session which included a presentation by Keith Brown, International Studies, Brown University, entitled “Empathy –work in Wartime: Memoirs and Civilian-Military Relations in Iraq, Afghanistan and the US.” The other presentation attended by Meg was by Anelise H. Shrout, History, New York University, entitled “Distant Sufferers: Empathy and the Origins of Transnational Humanism”. In the latter presentation, the Irish potato famine 1845-47 was used as one historical event to illustrate historical studies regarding empathic responsiveness. Matt attended the concurrent session presented by Ariel Knafo and Saloman Israel and Florina Usefovsky, Psychology, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem entitled “Empathy as a Core Temperamental Dimension: Theoretical Considerations and Empirical Evidence.” The other presentation was by Alicia Hofelich and Stephanie Preston, Psychology, University of Michigan entitled “Personal Representations for Emotion Mediate Empathy and Altruism”. The last session consisted of two presentations, one by Fritz Breithaupt, Germanic Studies, Indiana University was “The Dark Side of Empathy”, the other by Kevin Houser, Philosophy , Indiana University was entitled “Reasons, Suffering and Ethical Empathy

John brought back Mirror of the Heart painted by Deb (seen in adjacent image) to show it in the wonderful frame he had selected (seen in second image).

Deb reiterated that she conceived the work to represent creation reflected in the heart of God and hearts of people, horses given pride of place among creatures for their purity and nobility, water for the force of creation and mirror of all, for the cycles of creation, water on rocks and the sands about them in recurrent polishing, evergreen and pine as elevations: when God looks into the mirror God sees God in all creation.


Front: Beulah. Back from left to right: Jere, Meg, Deb, Ethna, Julia and John.

Respectfully submitted,
Edited for Conscience Chronicles, 8-13-12
Matthew R. Galvin

Meeting Summary, October 29, 2011

February 23, 2013

The minutes from the previous meeting 7/30/11 were reviewed and accepted with the following emendations from John:

1. The author who translated Ibn al-‘Arabi work on the Metaphysics of Imagination was William C. Chittick.
2. The correct spelling of Ibn Khaldun’s classic should be MUQADDIMAH.

Several present discussed their experiences and evaluations of the 13th Annual IAITMH Conference conducted at the Riley Outpatient Center on Friday, August 12th, 2011. The title was “Ethics in Early Childhood Fields: A Moral Psychological Approach.” Keynote speakers were Darcia Narvaez, PhD and Daniel Lapsley, PhD. Ethna was especially fascinated by the conscience sensitive task drawing her conscience and seeing and hearing about others’ conscience imagery. Dr. Lapsley had conveyed that he especially liked the conscience sensitive task involving the moralized genogram. Joe said that he and Susan had had fun with their group which revolved around the conscience sensitive task of the value matrix.

Ethna returned us to the subject of dreams–prophetic dreams, in particular– and experiences of synchronicity and shared her impressions upon reading from Perception of the Supernatural in Dream Visions from the Muqaddimah, recommended to her by John.

John said he had been reading a lot and working with the post traumatic nightmares emerging in therapeutic work. He described the therapeutic intervention of dream rehearsal in efforts to script different, more adaptive details and endings to recurrent dreams. He was anticipating even more such work would be needed with Iraqi War veterans, offering by way of explanation that the majority of his current clients were still those from the Viet Nam era.

Taking a break from reading, John said he wanted to hear a Muslim scholar and astrophysicist named Shaykh Mokhtar Maghraoui’s CD presentations on some of what is revealed in the Qur’an and findings in 21st century physics.

Providing her explanation of her symbolism (such as horses representing bounteous creation and water’s meeting with sand representing polishing), Deb presented her beautiful painting Mirror of the Heart to John. The work had taken several months to complete. A digital photograph of the painting taken with Ethna’s camera will appear as a separate attachment to the e mail covering these minutes. Deb also gave permission for the photograph to appear in Conscience Chronicles. John was very, very pleased and eager to obtain a suitable frame.

When not working on stunning imagery, Deb indicated she had lately been employed in a local grocery’s flower department and taking classes in flower arrangement.

Joe circulated a rare book Susan had found: Mitscherlich A and Mielke F (1949): Doctors of Infamy, the Story of Nazi Medical Crimes, Henry Schuman, New York. However his own reading was concerned with a book Hamilton H (2011) SACRIFICE ON THE STEPPE: The Italian Alpine Corps in the Stalingrad Campaign, 1942-1943, Casemate Publishers. The book concerns the Italian expeditionary force consisting of three hundred thousand soldiers volunteered by Mussolini to assist on the Russian Front in WWII. Most of the book, Joe said, was devoted to horrendous retreat in January and the aftermath. Especially noteworthy about the aftermath, Joe continued, was the expression of gratitude Italian survivors made for the humane treatment many received from the Russian people in the course of their hardship. Joe was also engaged in reading an essay given him by John on Islam. Otherwise he was “tapering the dose of his career into retirement”.

Jere circulated his grant proposal to the American Library Association for the Carnegie Whitney Award. Jere would like to create a bibliographic guide for libraries to build collections on the subject “Conscientious objection in the healing professions: a reader’s guide to the ethical and social issues”.

Meg provided an update of hers and Matt’s scholarly activities including a submission to the AAMC peer reviewed electronic journal MedEd Portal on conscience sensitive medical education. Jere indicated his willingness to help with the technicalities in making the submission.

Joe and Meg reflected upon their efforts over the years to promote humanism and ethics in the medical school curriculum. Most recently, the previous Wed, Meg attended a Grand Rounds presentation on Narrative Medicine presented by Rita Sharon, an MD with a PhD in English. The Gold Humanism Honor Society induction of students had been conducted the previous Friday and Dr. Jim Lemons had been the speaker that evening. Steve Ivy was expected to speak on cultural and spiritual conversations around pregnancy termination on next Wed November 2, 2011 at Pettigrew Auditorium. Meg and Matt were planning to attend a symposium on empathy sponsored by the Poynter Center ( on November 11, 2012. Nancy Eisenberg was to be a featured speaker.

Meg referred us to Smith C (2011): Lost in Transition, Oxford.

She was anticipating participation in this year’s Spirit and Place: The Body ( as a panelist in a discussion entitled “From Gross Anatomy to Compassionate Care”: the gift of a person’s body as cadaver for anatomic study conceptualized as creating the first patient encounter.

Respectfully submitted, 12-30-11,
Edited for Conscience Chronicles, 4/13/12
Matthew R. Galvin

Using Children’s Books & Stories: An Expansion of the Conscience Group Curriculum

May 29, 2012

For many years now, the youth in residence at Children’s Bureau, Inc. Retreat Program have participated in a conscience sensitive group therapy with Dr. Galvin, the consulting psychiatrist and this therapist. Originally, what we called Conscience Group had been conducted every week spanning the months of fall and winter. In brief, the developers of the original curriculum envisioned interactive conscience tasks that would afford opportunities for group participants to explore each of the five domains of conscience in turn. In our work with children and adolescents, we have called the five domains: moral imagination, moral connections, moral emotional responsiveness, moral values and moral choosing. [A full description of the original curriculum for this therapeutic modality is contained in Galvin, M., Gaffney, M. and Stilwell, B. (2005): Preliminary observations and reflections on conscience sensitive group therapy. In Conscience Works, an On-line Periodical, Theory, Research and Clinical Application, 2(2): 1-23., which can be readily accessed on the website Conscience Works at]

While I really liked what we accomplished with the original Conscience Group curriculum, I wanted two things more. First, I wanted some way to assess how well the residents grasped what had been taught, processed and learned. Second, I wanted additional ways in which the children and adolescents could creatively express what they had begun to bring inside them.

In recent years, I conceived of using versions of therapeutic narrative to expand the Conscience Group work. It seemed to me that story-telling and drawing would accomplish both of the things I wanted. I shared my vision with Dr. Galvin who was eager for me to put my ideas into practice. We talked about the mutual story telling technique as it had been described by Richard Gardner long ago. We talked about therapeutic metaphor. We talked about efforts that had been made in various elementary schools in which children would work with parent-volunteers to produce original children’s books. The ideas I was hatching would eventually result in extending our group time from six to nine months out of every year, but would still allow the three months of summer for turnover of most of the population in residence.

I began by using psycho-educational books for children (some of which had been authored or co-authored by Dr. Galvin; visit Open Library for a partial list). Soon, however, I moved out of the genre of psycho-educational books and selected from children’s books that had appealed to me over the years. I had a great time going to the library and finding old as well as new titles. I prepared my own question sets and drawing tasks for each story that I thought would elicit a conscience sensitive response. Each week, I asked one group member to read the story aloud to the group but to pause at appointed times to allow the other group members to draw responsively. How each child or adolescent completed the task was left up to their own moral imaginations. Group members became very engaged in the drawings that reflected some of their own conscience functioning, their individualized treatment issues and how the five conscience domains had been interwoven into their lives emotionally, cognitively and behaviorally. In due course, we began discussing aspects of creating children’s books. They were curious regarding everything about the process: ‘Can the author be the illustrator too?’ ‘How many pictures for how many words?’, ‘How should the cover look?’, ‘What is this copyright stuff about?’, ‘What is an acknowledgement?’ (which often led to skill building in moral emotional responsiveness by practicing yet another form of expressing gratitude), and ‘Tell us more about dedications.’

After that, they were ready for the next step: to write and illustrate their own children’s books complete with plot, characters, dialogue and, of course, a moral to their story. The only requirement I insisted on was that they utilize one or more of the conscience domains.  This expansion of the Conscience Group was well received by the residents.  They improved their grasp of the concepts of conscience. For some residents who incorporated their own therapeutic issues or personal conscience development into the creation of the books there followed tremendous self-disclosure and therapeutic work.  Their creativity was exceptional. The residents embraced the creation of their books in choosing appealing titles, providing forewords and understanding authorial responsibilities. As a result, residents were very proud of their work. Many were eager to share their experience and the end product in family therapy sessions as a way to connect with their family and/or just share with younger siblings.  Perhaps a testament to story-telling in combination with conscience work, most residents wanted the therapist to keep their books as examples for future residents who in their turn would participate in the weekly Conscience Group.

In summary, our work with residential youth in conscience sensitive individual, group and family therapy has positive impact. The addition of guiding them through the creation of healing stories makes residents even more aware of how they can engage their conscience not only throughout the therapeutic process but also in creative activity. They are stirred to see how moral imagination can be called upon in their everyday lives. It has become one of the highlights in my work as a therapist.

— Julia Bradshaw, MSW

Editor’s Note: Ms Julia Bradshaw holds a Masters degree in Social Work. She is a veteran psychotherapist who has conducted individual, family and group psychotherapies in the Rachel Glick Courage House Retreat residential program of Children’s Bureau Incorporated in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has been affiliated with the Conscience Project in refining conscience sensitive group psychotherapy for more than ten years. When not devoting herself to children and adolescents who have endured adverse life circumstances in Indianapolis, during her vacation time, Ms Bradshaw can often be found on missions to Haiti and Honduras.

Meeting Summary, July 2011

January 20, 2012

In our July meeting we prepared for the thirteenth annual meeting of the IAITMH was to be conducted at the Riley Outpatient Center on Friday, August 12th, 2011. The title was “Ethics in Early Childhood Fields: A Moral Psychological Approach.” Keynote speakers were to be Darcia Narvaez, PhD and Daniel Lapsley, PhD. Prior to the meeting, a training for facilitators was held on June 21, 2011. The meeting was also announced on websites and shared broadly by email.

In addition to preparing for the conference, we discussed: new research possibilities for the Conscience Project, ethics and neuroimaging, conscience and medical education, and an article planned for submission to MedEd Portal.

Afterwards, a member of the group shared his experience in presenting about issues of cultural diversity for mental health providers to consider when caring for Muslim patients. This member continues to read and share his knowledge of Muslim history and culture. Other members of the group are also reading on this subject.

The sharing then moved to an exchange on the subject of cheating in medical school. Being held accountable, and accepting responsibility for the harm done is a precondition for remediation. An ensuing discussion of techniques in the process of remediation followed.

Download a complete copy of the meeting minutes for July 2011.

Forthcoming meetings planned for: October 29, 2011 and January 21, 2012.

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