Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a method of therapeutic treatment which traditionally targeted individuals within the criminal justice system for the sake of increasing morally-based decision making in order to decrease recidivism. In other words, MRT helps clients morally reason through their impulses in order to protect both themselves and those around them.
Today, however, MRT expands beyond juvenile and adult offenders to also treat those with experiences of trauma, domestic violence and substance abuse, as well as veterans.
What is Moral Reconation Therapy?
In 1985, Dr. Gregory Little and Dr. Kenneth Robinson developed this therapy method as a means of reducing the likelihood of offenders to return to criminal behavior following treatment. A vast number of studies over the years have proved its effectiveness, with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration classifying MRT as an “Evidence-Based Practice Status.”
The name “Moral Reconation Therapy ” is rooted in the words moral (referring to well-ordered reasoning) and conative/conation (referring to conscious decision making). Therefore, moral reconation therapy is the teaching of the skills needed to reason through impulses and make decisions based in reason, not pleasure or the feel-good fantasies of the moment.
How does MRT work?
MRT is based on 16 steps rooted in specific treatment focuses, including:
Learning to be guided by a moral compass and patiently reason through situations
Lowering self-destructive habits and reinforcing healthy ones
Building frustration tolerance
Creating a healthy concept of one’s self and positive identity
Assessing current relationships which might prove toxic to one’s progress
Facing and perhaps reassessing current behaviors, attitudes and beliefs
The steps of moral reconation therapy take time to complete, with the program lasting from 3 to 6 months depending on the facility. You will work individually with a counselor and in group settings to help promote material retainment and effectiveness.
Who is MRT for?
Traditionally, MRT was designed with youths and adults in the criminal justice system in mind. While MRT still greatly benefits these populations, there are many others who have also seen beneficial changes through these programs.
MRT programming is also available to:
Domestic violence offenders and victims
Those battling substance use disorder
Those struggling with anger management
Those in codependent relationships
Moral reconation therapy is used for (and been successful with) this variety of populations because of its focus on reasoning and decision making.
For example, someone struggling with addiction is often under the control of the impulse of and cravings for the drug. When MRT is exercised, however, you are able to get a “leg up” on the addiction, and reason through the impulse to use. You can reason through how it will affect you, mentally and physically, as well as the people around you, and then decide from there if using is the choice you wish to make.
A greater understanding of or enthusiasm for your life purpose
A decrease in hospitalization as a result of uncontrollable symptoms
Greater ability and strength in moral reasoning and overall psychiatric function
A willingness to participate in treatment and take any needed medications
Lowered substance abuse, recidivism and involvement in the criminal justice system
Increased job retention and lowered homelessness.
For many who participate in MRT, they feel a greater ability to hold control over their life and to take into consideration the needs of others. When you aren’t hyper focused on living a life of painless pleasure, you’re able to tune into your needs and the needs of others, in addition to finding a sense of fulfillment in looking out for the people around you.
Curious to learn more?
A number of treatment facilities, including Pyramid Healthcare, offer moral reconation therapy for clients seeking a permanent lifestyle change. Whether you wish to build resilience against returning to substance use, have a messy history with the criminal justice system or need to consider treatment for trauma, MRT might be right for you.
To speak with a counselor about adding MRT to your treatment plan, or to just gain more information, reach out to Pyramid Healthcare anytime by calling us at 888-694-9996 or by visiting our website.