Help for Moral Injury: Strategies and Interventions
In the United States we have been late to recognize and provide supportive services to victims of post-traumatic stress disorder, and are only beginning to recognize a need to address moral injury – debilitating guilt, shame and self-condemnation secondary to inflicting violence State-sanctioned or otherwise, on others. Both exist. Both haunt our society. The strategies and interventions provided in this booklet set forth a means of addressing the injuries to an individual’s moral codes. The conflict or tension with one’s personal codes and that of armed conflict and the aftermath may create conditions which can make it difficult to return to “normal” life. The strategies and interventions provided here are opportunities for individuals to identify, address, and manage those conflicts or tensions through a structured process and, above all, in a safe supportive environment. The emphasis is on recognizing that agents of injury also suffer, identifying the nature of their emotional and spiritual injuries, and providing a safe environment to facilitate healing. These activities will help those with moral injury develop some tools to work toward the goals listed above along with other goals of understanding moral injury, self-care, and developing personal and spiritual resources. These exercises/activities are designed to be used by counselors/pastoral counselors, psychologists or other mental health workers. Author: Cecilia Yocum received her Ph.D. in psychology from Ohio State University in 1978. She has over 35 years of experience working with individuals, families, communities, and professional groups and has worked overseas with community-based trauma healing programs in Rwanda, Burundi, and Colombia as a part of Friends Peace Teams. Dr. Yocum has been actively involved with Alternatives to Violence Project workshops, is a past board member of the Florida Center for Survivors of Torture, and has provided psychological evaluations for political asylum seekers.