Moral Injury Therapy and Counseling at Recovery Mountain
Moral injury has recently become a topic of increasing interest, mainly within the psychiatry and psychology fields within the last few years. It is a potentially debilitating condition in military veterans and is distinct from PTSD.
Generations of veterans and service members have returned from combat and faced difficulties and challenges adjusting to civilian life. They stayed silent about the experiences of war, repressing the memories of violence, death, and moral injury. Recovery Mountain knows the dangers of repressing these painful memories and leaving moral injury and PTSD untreated.
Our addiction wellness program in New Hampshire helps veterans and their families heal with a multi-disciplinary wellness team so that they can confront their traumatic and painful memories using evidence-based and safe wellness and adjunct therapies in a caring and supportive environment. Healing starts here and continues when you return home.
What is Moral Injury?
Moral injury describes involvement in or exposure to situations and events that violate your preexisting code of moral conduct. Moral injury results from crossing moral lines. The experiences that tend to cause moral injury will likely happen in high-stakes situations or entail choices and decisions that are not clearly right or wrong. A person can be morally injured from witnessing or inflicting harm and hearing about it.
Moral injury is the psychic fallout of morally injurious events, like failing to prevent, perpetrating, or bearing witness to actions that transgress your personal and deeply held moral beliefs or expectations.
The latest evidence and literature indicate that the presence of moral injury is likely to increase the risk that an individual will develop PTSD following a seriously traumatic or painful event.
At Recovery Mountain, we offer moral injury therapy and counseling services. Our therapists combine elements of several programs, such as CBT and Adaptive Disclosure, depending on your unique circumstances, needs, and preferences.
Moral Injury wellness in New Hampshire
If you have been harmed, you might feel moral injury from trusting somebody in authority who did not do what was right. Perhaps, you did or witnessed something that was a direct assault on your personal moral beliefs, but you didn’t have any other choice. You violated your moral compass or sense of right and wrong, provoking guilt, shame, and grief.
Moral injuries are often strongly linked to veterans and military service members because of the conditions of deployments or painful and traumatic events. However, moral injuries aren’t limited to veterans and serving personnel.
We treat non-military professionals and veterans afflicted with moral injury at Recovery Mountain. We offer therapy and counseling to various non-military professions, like:
- Social workers
- Judges, lawyers, and jurors
- Aid workers
- Healthcare workers
Examples of Moral Injuries
Some common examples of moral injuries include the following:
- Using deadly force in a combat situation and causing harm or death to civilians and innocent individuals
- Giving direct orders that result in the death or harm of innocent people or civilians
- Unable to provide medical care or wellness to individuals harmed in combat
- Failing to report an event or incident that violates the code of ethics, such as rape or cruelty
- Extracting valuable information from prisoners
- Guarding prisoners
Causes of Moral Injury
There are three leading causes of moral injury.
- Betrayal: When a person feels betrayed by others, especially by a higher authority who acted or forced an individual to act in a manner that goes against or violates their moral code.
- Acts of commission: When somebody does something they shouldn’t have done.
- Acts of omission: When a person should have done something but did not.
Effects and Consequences of Moral Injury
The Departments of Defense and Veteran Affairs use the term moral injury in order to explain the mental effects of war or combat that can’t be attributed to PTSD. While your moral injury may manifest with symptoms and signs similar to those seen in PTSD, like acts of avoidance and numbness, people who have sustained moral injury usually feel extreme guilt or shame for acts they have committed or seen in combat.
They may exhibit harmful or self-sabotaging behaviors, and some may even attempt to end their lives. For example, you may consciously or unconsciously make life more painful and difficult for yourself.
PTSD vs. Moral Injury
While there are some similarities between moral injury and PTSD, such as similar initiating events, there are also some significant differences. For example, PTSD is a fear-based condition.
On the other hand, moral injury is conscience-based. PTSD usually involves hypervigilance, but it isn’t a core part or element of moral injury.
Symptoms of Moral Injury
Unlike many mental health conditions like depression or bipolar disorder, moral injury isn’t a mental illness. As a result, there’s no formal diagnosis for moral injury. However, the symptoms are similar to PTSD and include the following:
- Experiencing painful and difficult emotions, such as guilt, anger, shame, remorse, and sadness
- A sense of betrayal
- Negative thoughts and beliefs about yourself or others
- Loss of purpose and meaning
- Loss of religious faith
- Avoidance of intimacy or loss of faith and trust in people
Treating Moral Injury in New Hampshire
The professionals at Recovery Mountain know that a morally injured individual may find it helpful to discuss and evaluate the internal ethical conflict arising from their actions. At Recovery Mountain, we know and understand that one of the most challenging parts of moral injury is that it might lead people to think that they don’t deserve to feel better, meaning they might delay or not seek help and medical wellness.
However, several forms of wellness and approaches can be helpful. Our therapists and caring staff use the following:
Recovery Mountain works with you to help you manage your distress and anxiety, develop suitable coping strategies, and emotionally process the beliefs and events linked to moral injury.
Our professionals use various approaches to treat a moral injury, such as psychodynamic psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Cognitive-behavioral Therapy (CBT), and interpersonal psychotherapy.
Trauma-focused wellness in New Hampshire
Recovery Mountain’s team uses trauma-focused PTSD wellness, like cognitive processing therapy and Prolonged Exposure (PE), to effectively treat moral injury. PE therapy at Recovery Mountain allows clients to process the morally injurious event and gather context, helping them make sense of their trauma and grief through exposure.
Group Therapy in New Hampshire
Group therapy has been effective in treating moral injury. This is because veterans and service members communicate with others who have sustained similar injuries. This allows them to better vocalize and express their emotions and pain. We use this therapy technique in our moral injury/moral repair program.
Get the Help and Support You Need Now with Recovery Mountain
Moral injury can adversely impact your whole life. Receiving care and support from a mental health wellness program at Recovery Mountain can help you focus on and achieve your goals in a supportive, peaceful, and understanding environment.
This will help you sort out and understand your tangled feelings and painful experiences. If you are willing to take the next step or want to learn more, call Recovery Mountain at 603-528-7600 or connect with us online.