Moral Injury and Distress in the Behavioral Health Professions
with Frederic Reamer, Ph.D
Frederic Reamer, is a professor in the graduate program at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work, where he has been on the faculty since 1983. His teachings and research focus on professional ethics, criminal justice, mental health, health care, and public policy. Reamer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago and has served as a social worker in correctional and mental health settings. He served on the State of Rhode Island Parole Board from 1992 to 2016.
Furthermore, Reamer chaired the national task force that wrote the NASW Code of Ethics. In addition to local lectures, Reamer has lectured nationally and internationally in India, China, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Taiwan, and various European nations. JCS was excited to welcome Rick as 2023’s guest speaker on Moral Injury and Distress in the Behavioral Health Professions!
About This Lecture:
Behavioral health professionals are no strangers to ethical dilemmas, from the routine to the extraordinary. When practitioners witness, perpetrate or fail to prevent acts that violate their beliefs, the harm they experience is called moral distress or injury. Moreover, moral distress and injury may trigger several symptoms and emotions that adversely affect the practitioner. These adverse effects are so debilitating that some practitioners will consider leaving the profession they love.
In this presentation, Dr. Frederic Reamer highlights common challenges in behavioral health, and explores rich opportunities for posttraumatic growth, compassion satisfaction, and resilience. Dr. Reamer also discusses the role of moral courage in the behavioral health professions, along with options for much-needed organizational and policy changes to prevent moral harm.