Moral Injury

Moral Injury: It’s Not PTSD, But It Looks Like It

"I'm a good person who's done bad things."

"It's too painful to tell other people what I've seen on assignment."

"Am I always going to be haunted by the things I've seen and done?"

Moral injury is a complex and distressing psychological phenomenon that occurs when you witness or perpetrate actions that violate their deeply held moral beliefs or ethical code. Unlike traditional post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which is has impetus in terror, moral injury stems from the internal conflict arising from actions that contradict one’s values, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and moral dissonance. This can happen in various contexts, including military combat, medical settings, or even everyday life. The profound impact of moral injury can manifest in a range of emotional and behavioral symptoms. 

Examples of moral injury

Military Combat: Soldiers may face situations where they have to take actions that violate their moral code, such as killing innocent civilians or engaging in acts that conflict with their values of compassion and empathy

Medical Settings: Healthcare professionals may experience moral injury when they are forced to make difficult decisions about patient care due to resource constraints, ethical dilemmas, or institutional pressures.

Law Enforcement: Police officers may suffer moral injury when they witness or are involved in incidents that go against their sense of justice and fairness, leading to feelings of guilt and betrayal of their oath to protect and serve.

Emergency Responders: Firefighters, paramedics, and other first responders may experience moral injury after facing traumatic situations where they were unable to save lives or prevent harm.

Journalists and Media Personnel: Reporting on distressing events and ethical dilemmas in the pursuit of truth can lead to moral injury for journalists who feel conflicted about the potential impact of their work on individuals and society.

Humanitarian Aid Workers: Aid workers in conflict zones or disaster-stricken areas may encounter situations where they are unable to provide sufficient help or resources, leading to moral distress and injury

Legal Professionals: Lawyers and judges may experience moral injury when they have to defend or make decisions that go against their personal values, but they are bound by their professional obligations.

Caregivers and Family Members: Those responsible for the care of loved ones with chronic illnesses or disabilities may suffer moral injury if they feel overwhelmed, unable to provide adequate care, or face complex ethical choices.

Corporate Environments: Employees may experience moral injury if they witness or are coerced into engaging in unethical practices that conflict with their values and principles.

Personal Life Events: Moral injury can also arise from personal experiences, such as being involved in accidents, causing harm to others unintentionally, or facing situations where individuals feel they have failed to uphold their moral responsibilities.


I Would Benefit From Online Therapy for Moral Injury But...

What I Did Was Really Bad, So I Deserve To Feel Like This.          

The short answer is no, you don’t deserve to be tormented by the past. In fact, your efforts to punish yourself is evidence of your goodness. You deserve to recover. You deserve to have the opportunity to live the life you want. With the help of an online therapist at Apricity Expat Therapy, you can restore your faith in yourself and in humanity.

A moral injury is a wound to your soul.

Moral Injury affects military personnel.

I’ve Never Told Anyone What Really Happened…

We get that. We get that talking about this is one of the hardest things you will ever do.  Our therapeutic space is one of empathy and acceptance. Your story is welcome. There is no rush. You set the pace. Your treatment moves at the speed you can handle. We can’t promise that it won’t be uncomfortable at times, but we do promise that we will do our best to help you achieve whatever goals you set. 

Also, what happens in therapy stays in therapy. As always, we are ethically and legally bound to keep all of our discussions private. We are 100% HIPPA compliant. We are not in a chain of command nor do we answer to insurance companies.  Your story stays between you and your therapist.