Moral reconation therapy (MRT) is a cognitive-behavioral therapeutic technique that has gained popularity in the treatment of substance addiction. Originally developed for criminal justice offenders in 1985, moral reconation therapy is an effective treatment for individuals with chronic substance abuse problems.
The combination of individual and group counseling, educational sessions and formal exercises has been proven to help even the most resistant clients. Find effective treatment when you call Drug Treatment Centers Burlington VT at (802) 881-0115.
The word “reconation” may be unfamiliar to most people: It stems from the psychology term “conation”, which describes the process of conscious decision-making. Moral reconation therapy is based on the premise that chronic substance abusers’ decisions about right and wrong are made from a low level of moral reasoning. Hedonistic reasoning that focuses on pain versus pleasure dominates an addict’s decisions about using, and concern for rules and the well-being of others becomes less important.
Advocates of MRT believe that counseling or punishing a substance abuser will have little impact on their behavior as long as the addict is still making decisions based on this poor moral reasoning. Chronic substance abusers must learn to accept the consequences of their behavior and understand the impact it has had on their loved ones and community.
MRT has been deemed an “Evidence-based Program” by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA); in addition to this distinction, it has also been named a “Best Practice” or “Proven Treatment” by SAMHSA, the National Drug Court Institute, the Oregon Office of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs and several other organizations. Studies have confirmed the positive effects of MRT on chronic substance abusers.
In one study, a group of adult males in a drug abuse program completed a questionnaire at the beginning and end of their MRT therapy: The participants’ perceived purpose in life and level of principled reasoning improved significantly by the end of their MRT sessions. Individuals with a high level of principled reasoning tend to make decisions based on concerns for justice and fundamental human rights.
A typical moral therapy group is led by a trained facilitator, and each participant in the group is required to have a MRT workbook. The group meetings are usually conducted on a weekly basis: At these meetings, participants work through the 12 steps of the program and are assigned homework related to each step that must be completed by the next meeting.
Using a set of objective criteria, facilitators determine if a participant has successfully completed each of the 12 steps. These steps require participants to confront their current attitudes and behavior, assess their relationships and develop a higher level of moral reasoning. Working through the 12 steps also helps participants reinforce positive habits and strengthen a positive sense of identity.
MRT is usually recommended for chronic substance abusers who have been resistant to other forms of treatment, but it has shown to be effective in treating many different populations of substance abusers. The program works equally well with both genders, and it is effective for both adult and juvenile populations. This therapeutic technique can be a powerful complement to other forms of counseling, behavioral therapy and self-help groups.
Like many forms of group therapy, moral reconation therapy offers a safe environment for participants to interact with others who are dealing with similar challenges. Participants build trust in each other and in the program, and they learn how to ask for and accept help when needed. The supportive environment of a moral therapy group fosters success both in and outside the program.
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