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Moral Injury in PTSD

Jennifer Wild

2 Jun 2023


On June 2nd 2023, Prof. Jennifer Wild delivered a 90-minute webinar on how to treat moral injury within the context of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This on-demand workshop is a recording of that presentation.


Moral injury describes the profound psychological distress that can arise after perpetrating events that transgress an individual’s moral or ethical code or failing to prevent people from carrying out such acts.  Moral injury can be part of what is traumatic about an event and can contribute to the development of PTSD as well as other mental health problems.  Most research into moral injury has been with military members. However, a range of occupational groups, such as healthcare workers, journalists, social workers and aid workers, are at risk of moral injurious experiences.  
In this webinar, Prof. Wild will cover how to treat moral injury as part of treatment for PTSD.  A range of intervention tools will be introduced to target cognitive and behavioural processes that maintain moral injurious appraisals and associated distress. Imagery interventions are a key treatment tool when working with moral injury and will be a core focus of this webinar.

Learning Objectives

At the end of the session, attendees will:
1. Increase understanding of what moral injury is and the cognitive and behavioural processes that maintain self-blame 
2. Discover which cognitive therapy tools to use for each maintaining process
3. Discover how to use surveys to reduce the sense of shame
4. Discover how to reduce the sense of guilt and self-blame with imagery intervention
5. Identify steps to help people to move forward from moral injurious experiences

Training Modalities

The workshop will include didactic content as well as opportunities for Q&A.

Key References

Wild, J., Duffy, M., & Ehlers, A. (2023).  Moving forward with the loss of a loved one:  Treating PTSD following traumatic bereavement.  The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist.  In press.

Murray, H., & Ehlers, A. (2021). Cognitive therapy for moral injury in post-traumatic stress disorder. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 14, E8. doi:10.1017/S1754470X21000040

Murray, H., Kerr, A., Warnock-Parkes, E., Wild, J., Grey, N., Clark, D., & Ehlers, A. (2022). What do others think? The why, when and how of using surveys in CBT. The Cognitive Behaviour Therapist, 15, E42. doi:10.1017/S1754470X22000393

Wild, J., Warnock-Parkes, E., Murray, H., Kerr, A., Thew, G., Grey, N., Clark, D.M. & Ehlers, A. (2020). Treating posttraumatic stress disorder remotely with Cognitive Therapy for PTSD. European Journal of Psychotraumatology, 11:1, 1785818 doi: 10.1080/20008198.2020.1785818

Ehlers, A. & Wild, J. (2020). Cognitive therapy for PTSD. In L. F. Bufka, C. V. Wright, & R. W. Halfond (Eds.), Casebook to the APA Clinical Practice Guideline for the treatment of PTSD (p.91-121).  American Psychological Association.

About the presenter

Prof. Jennifer Wild is Professor of Military Mental Health at the University of Melbourne.  She holds affiliate status at the University of Oxford where she developed evidence-based interventions to prevent PTSD and depression in emergency workers. Her area of expertise is in developing and evaluating evidence-based interventions for anxiety and stress disorders, and in developing preventative interventions for people at risk of trauma, such as emergency responders and military members.  She has written over 80 publications, including book chapters, and two recently published popular science books on resilience, including Be Extraordinary:  7 Key Skills to Transform Your Life from Ordinary to Extraordinary.  Prof Wild regularly appears in the media giving advice rooted in science for preventing the persistence of trauma-related mental health problems.

Who should attend

This presentation is suitable for mental health professionals and CBT practitioners who work with PTSD clients.

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The BACP Low Intensity SIG are interested in the impact of clinical contact hours on Low Intensity/Wellbeing Practitioner wellbeing. This questionnaire contains six multi-choice questions and a free text box for you to share your experiences. The answers to these questions will help the BABCP SIG plan how to meet CPD topics and other developments within the SIG.  The SIG hope to produce a write up of the answers to this questionnaire to be shared with SIG members and to be used in training.

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This FREE conference is for Psychological Wellbeing Practitioners working in Talking Therapies for Anxiety and Depression services and is brought to you by Bespoke Mental Health in collaboration with the NHS England Talking Therapies National PWP Leads Network

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