MORAL INJURY AMONG SPECIAL OPERATIONS VETERANS
This study is an in-depth look at how Special Operations Forces Veterans handle Moral Injury. Results from the study will augment indigenous veteran support systems, spiritual care, and mental wellbeing.
Veterans, particularly the Special Operations community, are increasingly experiencing a phenomenon known as Moral Injury. Moral Injury is inner conflict or existential crisis resulting from orders followed, decisions made, and actions or inactions carried out in theater. This internal battle is rooted in betrayal and shame, complicated feelings that silence and debilitate even the strongest among us. Moral Injury is not well understood and is often misdiagnosed as a mental illness. Understandably, most of those affected do not seek help. Existing therapeutic models do not encourage veterans to talk about their experiences, so symptoms are treated while root causes are ignored. Special Forces cannot be mass-produced, nor can a solution for Moral Injury. A strategic and tactical solution has yet to be developed which accurately (1) recognizes this personal crisis, (2) guides an individual through both cognitive and spiritual reconciliation, and (3) provides personalized tools to recalibrate one’s identity and sense of purpose to function effectively in professional and private life. Dr. Rebecca Nicholson is currently collaborating with member of the SF community to investigate a solution.