How to Identify and Overcome a Moral Injury

Natalie Dodd, LCSW

Overwhelm, burnout, empathy fatigue… Do I have your attention yet?

Have you felt these things over the last year, month, week? If the answer is yes, what if you are experiencing a moral injury that is driving these stress responses?

First, let me define moral injury. A moral injury is when we are unable, for some reason or another, to live within our values.

Try this journaling exercise to see if you are experiencing a professional or personal moral injury.

  1. Identify your professional (or personal) values.
  2. How are you upholding these values? How are you in balance with these values?
  3. How are you out of balance in these values?

If you find through this exercise that you are, in fact, experiencing a moral injury, consider journaling the answers to these questions to help work through it:

  1. Identify one value that feels the most out of balance.
  2. What are the internal and external struggles in upholding this value?
  3. Is there a way that self-compassion can help you overcome some of these obstacles?
  4. How can you support yourself in the reality of the inability to completely live in alignment with your values? Do you need extra support?
  5. What words of kindness can you share with yourself?

A friendly reminder:

  • Sometimes the problems and struggles are bigger than us.
  • We are all imperfect human beings.

If this is something you are experiencing or if you could use some tools and tips to better support a partner or loved one experiencing these symptoms, please call Work/Life Connections-EAP at 615-936-1327 to schedule your free and confidential appointment with one of our counselors.