Treating “Moral” Injuries

March 24, 2020

(Scientific American) – Most of us recognize that nagging feeling of regret that comes from agonizing over some real or perceived misdeed from our past. Maybe we harmed someone directly or failed to act when we felt we should. This feeling has value: guilt, when it is adaptive, motivates us to appraise its presence and to perhaps take reparative action or to think twice the next time we are faced with a similar situation. But what about when this guilt is based on actions taken in life-or-death situations—such as on the battlefield or in an emergency room—and is distinctly nonadaptive?