Moral reconation therapy (MRT) is a therapeutic treatment approach commonly used for those who suffer from substance abuse addictions, such as alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription drugs. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes MRT as a proven treatment for helping those suffering from substance abuse addiction. The therapy is utilized in more than 40 states and numerous countries.
Reports on MRT were first published by Gregory L. Little and Kenneth D. Robinson in 1988. According to Little and Robinson, MRT is “based upon the assumption that fully functioning, reasonably content, happy persons have a strong sense of identity and that their behavior and relationships are based upon relatively high moral judgment levels.”
To find a program that offers this and other therapies, call Drug Treatment Centers Putnam at 860-207-8360.
The “reconation” word in moral reconation therapy comes from the term “conation,” which refers to a conscious decision-making process. When a person completed the MRT process, he or she ideally makes decisions using a higher level of reasoning than a person did before.
MRT takes place in both group and individual counseling. The program can be highly structured, using weekly discussions, group exercises and even “homework” assignments for individuals. The program typically requires attending between 12 to 16 sessions that last at least 1.5 hours each.
MRT focuses on 16 specific steps that stem from these seven basic treatment issues, according to (SAMHSA):
As a person passes through each step, the person improves in terms of decision-making. The scientific basis for MRT is Lawrence Kohlberg’s “States of Moral Development.” This theory states that a person can move from looking at drug or alcohol abuse from a hedonistic perspective, which is pleasure versus pain, to a level where a person considers others factors beyond the way a drug makes a person feel.
According to research on the efficacy of MRT, program participants are less likely to drop out of a MRT-based program than a standard, non-structured treatment program.
Implementing MRT does not mean that a person does not have moral character. Instead, the therapy is about decision making that is beneficial for the person. By reviewing a person’s decision-making process, a person who struggles with substance abuse can begin to identify his or her own motivations for quitting drug or alcohol abuse.
MRT focuses on confronting a person’s beliefs and how these beliefs reflect a person in his or her daily life. These reflections are intended to promote a movement toward positive behavior and increased self-confidence. In addition to the positive attributes, a person is also better equipped to overcome difficulties and frustrations that can occur on the road to true sobriety. By developing a greater frustration tolerance, a person is less likely to go back to an “easy” pattern of past drug abuse.
This therapy is especially beneficial for those who have traditionally been treatment-resistant. This means a person may not desire rehabilitation treatment or a person that has undergone treatment in the past and relapsed. Substance abusers can benefit from this therapy because decision-making skills can benefit a person in his or her daily life and to prevent future episodes of relapse.
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