Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT)

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a structured type of cognitive-behavioral therapy that focuses on moral reasoning and making conscious decisions in everyday life. When used as part of drug addiction treatment, it can help empower people to make better choices in recovery.

What is Moral Reconation Therapy?

If you encountered the acronym before, you might have wondered to yourself, “What does MRT stand for?” Unfortunately, the answer to that question — moral reconation therapy — doesn’t reveal as much as you might like. Further research will likely be necessary, including a brief search for “reconation definition.” It’s not a word you encounter often. 

Reconation describes the process of making conscious decisions. You can then infer that moral reconation involves consciously weighing the morality of one’s options before making a decision. 

MRT was first fully implemented in Tennessee in 1985. In 1990, Oklahoma became the first state to implement it throughout its entire correctional system. Since then, it has spread through all 50 states and in nine countries. 

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Moral Reconation Therapy: A Brief Overview

MRT was developed in the 1980s as a prison treatment modality. Its tremendous success began garnering attention, leading to further implementation within drug courts, behavioral treatment programs, hospitals, and juvenile systems.

Within these settings, MRT is attributed to increased participation, fewer disciplinary actions, and substantially reduced recidivism rates.

MRT groups must be facilitated by MRT-certified facilitators who have completed the specified training. A typical MRT program consists of weekly groups, and clients are encouraged to present and share exercises from their homework workbooks.

MRT is a SAMHSA-registered program. In addition to substance abuse, research shows that MRT can be beneficial for domestic violence, trauma, veterans, and treatment-resistant clients.

Goals of MRT

The overarching goal for MRT is to reduce or eliminate problematic behavior. In prison settings, this refers to repeating offenses. That mindset can also apply to substance abuse treatment, where clients want to maintain positive behaviors and proactive decision-making.

Other primary goals include:

  • developing appropriate thought processes

  • increasing satisfaction within current relationships

  • reducing substance abuse

  • increasing safe housing

  • supporting job functioning and retention

  • increasing treatment adherence

  • decreasing hospitalization and severe mental illness symptoms

  • enhancing a sense of purpose and fulfillment

  • increasing motivation for sustainable change

How MRT Works

MRT entails changing negative thought patterns and maladaptive behaviors. Like in CBT, you will learn how to identify and challenge cognitive distortions. You will also learn more about the connection between your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Many people have never been taught the principles of moral development. As a result, they struggle with purpose and meaning in life. One of the main priorities of MRT is to develop higher stages of moral reasoning.

Moral reasoning helps you reduce self-destructive behavior, build a positive identity, and strengthen frustration tolerance. These critical resilience factors can help support you in feeling more motivated in your treatment.

MRT workbooks for addiction typically follow 12-week specialized protocols. These protocols are appropriate for people in drug court, outpatient treatment, or program participants within the criminal justice system.

The workbooks are appropriate for people at any stage of addiction, and providers facilitate these groups in an open-ended manner. Clients are typically encouraged to work at their own pace, although they may be assigned routine homework.

Group counseling is the foundation of MRT. The group exercises are outlined within the books directly, and clients are expected to maintain mature and appropriate behavior during these times.

MRT Outcome Studies

It’s challenging to obtain clear statistics on mental health and substance use disorders. Even the best meta-analysis cannot account for high drop-out rates and inaccurate reports.

MRT training, of course, isn’t a magical cure for addiction. But within the context of a greater cognitive-behavioral program, there’s no doubt that it shows promising results. Research shows that therapeutic community completion rates range between 40-99%, with the average completion rate around 65%.

Getting The Treatment You Need

At Celadon Recovery, we offer numerous evidence-based practices in our treatment program. MRT is just one of the cognitive-behavioral approaches we provide for our clients.

We are here to help you on your recovery journey. Our treatment approach is compassionate and motivating- we genuinely believe you can live a life free from the chaos of addiction.

Ready to get started? Get in touch with one of our providers today!

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