Veterans’ perspectives on discussing moral injury in the context of evidence‐based psychotherapies for PTSD and other VA treatment


We examined Veterans’ perspectives on discussing moral injury in veterans affairs (VA) evidence‐based psychotherapies (EBPs) for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other VA treatment.


Fourteen male warzone veterans (ages 25–74) who completed an EBP for PTSD within the past year participated in semistructured interviews related to discussing moral injury in VA treatment (e.g., EBPs for PTSD, chaplaincy). Qualitative interviews were evaluated using a thematic analysis.


Four themes were identified; moral injury is often not identified or discussed during therapy, therapeutic relationships can promote or inhibit discussion of moral injury, treatment has limited impact on moral injury, and it is difficult to cope with moral injury even after treatment.


The majority of Veterans interviewed identified moral injury persisting within a year of completing a PTSD EBP. These findings highlight the value of asking about, assessing, and treating moral injury in Veterans. Our results suggest the importance of developing specific moral injury interventions for warzone Veterans.

Lauren M. Borges; Nazanin H. Bahraini; Brooke Dorsey Holliman; Maura R. Gissen; W. Cole Lawson; Sean M. Barnes | 2020
In: Journal of Clinical Psychology ; Online ISSN:1097-4679 | 76 | 3 | march | 377-391
Evidence based practice (EBP), Guilt, Mental health, Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, Psychotrauma, PTSD (en), Shame, Veterans, War