Should a soldier shoot the child who is pointing a gun at them and their colleague? Should a photographer film the aftermath of a terrorist attack or help the injured? Many situations present professionals with ethical dilemmas – and the decisions made can have profound psychological consequences.
For many years, researchers have looked at the impact of traumatic events and the onset of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). But until recently, feelings of deep shame and guilt, stemming from doing things you believe are “wrong” and which are often a feature of trauma exposure, have not been studied to any great extent.