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Moral Injury Following Traumatic Events: Working with Clients Who Have Violated Their Conscience

You may not be familiar with moral injury – but you need to be.

Moral injury describes a cluster of symptoms — similar to those associated with PTSD — that result when a person violates their closely held values and beliefs. It can occur when people face traumatic situations where high-stakes decisions must be made.

And today, millions of healthcare workers have been on the frontline of a deadly pandemic. Many have had to make difficult decisions that contradict deeply held beliefs about who gets care and how people should die. It can leave them feeling guilty, unforgivable, depressed and suicidal…and in need of help.

The potential you’ll see morally injured clients in your practice is greater than ever before – are you prepared?

This 2-hour seminar training will give you the clinical guidance and tools you need to:

  • Understand moral injury, why it occurs and who it impacts
  • Identify moral injury in clients
  • More effectively help morally injured clients overcome avoidance and guilt
  • Get up to speed on the latest research on treatment

Don’t be caught off-guard when morally injured clients come to you for help!

Purchase today!


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Jennifer Sweeton, Psy.D., M.S., M.A.
1 Hour 58 Minutes
Apr 12, 2021
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DVD - Also available: Digital Seminar
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Continuing Professional Development Certificates - PESI Australia, in collaboration with PESI in the USA, offers quality online continuing professional development events from the leaders in the field at a standard recognized by professional associations including psychology, social work, occupational therapy, alcohol and drug professionals, counselling and psychotherapy. On completion of the training, a Professional Development Certificate is issued after the individual has answered and submitted a quiz and course evaluation. This online program is worth 2 hours CPD.



Jennifer Sweeton, Psy.D., M.S., M.A.'s Profile

Jennifer Sweeton, Psy.D., M.S., M.A. Related seminars and products

Organizational Consultant, Clinical Psychologist

Mind Works Professional Education Inc

Dr. Jennifer Sweeton is a licensed clinical psychologist, author, and internationally-recognized expert on trauma, anxiety, and the neuroscience of mental health. Dr. Sweeton has been practicing EMDR for nearly a decade and has treated a variety of populations using EMDR and other memory reconsolidation approaches, including combat veterans, individuals with PTSD and complex trauma, and those suffering from treatment-resistant anxiety. She completed her doctoral training at the Stanford University School of Medicine, the Pacific Graduate School of Psychology, and the National Center for PTSD. Additionally, she holds a master’s degrees in affective neuroscience from Stanford University, and studied behavioral genetics at Harvard University.

Dr. Sweeton resides in the greater Kansas City area, where she owns a group private practice, Kansas City Mental Health Associates. She is a past president of the Oklahoma Psychological Association and holds adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Kansas School of Medicine. She is the president of the Greater Kansas City Psychological Association. Dr. Sweeton offers psychological services to clients in Oklahoma, Kansas, and internationally, and is a sought-after trauma and neuroscience expert who has trained thousands of mental health professionals in her workshops.


Speaker Disclosures:

Financial: Jennifer Sweeton is in private practice. She has an employment relationship with the Oklahoma City VAMC. Dr. Sweeton receives a speaking honorarium from PESI, Inc.  She has no relevant financial relationships with ineligible organizations.

Non-financial: Jennifer Sweeton has no relevant non-financial relationship to disclose.

Additional Info

Program Information

Access for Self-Study (Non-Interactive)

Access never expires for this product.


  1. Evaluate the clinical implications of differences between moral injury and PTSD.
  2. Assess for moral injury in clients using the Moral Injury Events Scale.
  3. Employ effective clinical strategies to help clients work through guilt originating from traumatic events.
  4. Analyze the latest research on the application of PE, EMDR and other psychotherapeutic modalities in treating moral injury.


Moral Injury Defined

  • Actions counter to an individual’s moral code
  • Guilt and/or shame and/or self-blame
  • Failure to act
  • Psychological, social, behavioural, and spiritual impacts
  • Who experiences moral injury

Why Moral Injury Happens

  • Fight, flight, flee survival response
  • Loss of context can change behaviour (Abu Ghraib and torture)
  • Acts of comission or omission in war
  • The necessity of making fast, life-or-death decisions in medical or other contexts (such as COVID)

How to Identify Moral Injury

  • Moral Injury Events Scale (Nash et al., 2013)
  • Moral Injury Questionnaire (Currier et al., 2015)
  • Clinical interview
  • Overlap with DSM-5™ PTSD symptoms

Addressing Moral Injury in Clinical Practice: Clinical Insights and the Latest Research

  • Guilt vs. shame
  • Effective strategies for working through guilt
  • Prolonged Exposure, EMDR, Cognitive Processing Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
  • Impact of Killing Treatment Program (Maguen et al., 2017)
  • Trauma-Informed Guilt Reduction (Norman et al., 2014)
  • Research and treatment limitations and risks

Target Audience

  • Counselors
  • Social Workers
  • Psychologists
  • Marriage & Family Therapists
  • Psychiatrists
  • Psychiatric Nurses


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