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Reflecting on moral injury

An exercise to help you relate the ides of moral injury to your own experience
Think about your work and home life. Have you ever been in a situation where you’ve had to make an impossible choice? A choice where someone would be harmed or badly hurt, whatever you decided to do? Did someone prevent you from being able to do ‘the right thing’? How did this leave you feeling? Do you still feel guilt about it?

Maybe you’ve talked with someone about such an event, but you might not have. Has reading and hearing about moral injury changed your thinking about how you might deal with it in future? Later in the course we will look at some ways in which talking and sharing helped people during the worst of the Covid crisis.

Moral injury arises because we feel we have betrayed our values and principles. In a video in Week 4, Sharna will refer to not being religious and how that makes things more complicated for her. Many religions emphasise the possibility of forgiveness, for example though confession. But also, most religions ask us to follow a ‘moral code’ and suggest that failing to do so is wrong or bad. How good are you at truly forgiving yourself when you feel you’ve done wrong? How harshly do you judge yourself?

We all have these conflicts and tensions in ourselves. But people who faced life and death choices and situations in the pandemic may have experienced these dilemmas in an extreme way.

In the final step on the theme of moral injury, let’s check in with Sharna and find out about her experiences in this area.

© Tavistock & Portman NHS FT
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Grief, Loss, and Dying During COVID-19

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