Moral Reconation Therapy, or MRT, is a therapy based on the cognitive-behavioral approach and helps move patients’ reasoning abilities from a hedonistic, or pleasure and pain-based, level to a higher moral level that considers the greater good when making decisions.

Moral Reconation Therapy is based on the assumption that those who have an addiction to drugs or alcohol make decisions based on finding pleasure or preventing pain, and they may tend to manipulate others for personal gain. Initially developed to address the morality level and reasoning skills of those who are incarcerated, Moral Reconation Therapy is now used in a number of applications, including drug and alcohol rehab and domestic violence counseling.

Over 78 published studies show that Moral Reconation Therapy is highly effective for helping patients identify their purpose in life, curbing dangerous, thrill-seeking behaviors, and increasing skills in principled reasoning.

How Does MRT Benefit Those With Addictions?

Drug addiction affects brain function and behavior. Patients who participate in MRT learn that their thought processes and behaviors are connected, and changing the way they think can help them modify harmful behaviors. These lessons can elicit real and permanent change to improve the chances of recovering for the long-term.

What Is the Focus of MRT?

Moral Reconation Therapy focuses on helping patients cultivate a positive self-image, which promotes a higher level of reasoning that considers what’s truly best for the patient and society in general. Patients consider their purpose in life and work toward personal growth. They learn to replace negative thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors with those that are positive, all of which leads to healthier social functioning and a higher level of self-awareness.

Goal setting and finding purpose in life are major themes in MRT. It’s through setting goals and identifying a greater purpose that high personal and social values are formed.

How Drug Treatment Centers Use MRT

The MRT program is used in drug treatment settings to help patients develop honesty in dealing with their addiction. Through honesty in confronting false beliefs and harmful attitudes comes a higher level of self-efficacy and a more positive self-image, which then leads to behaviors that reflect self-care and a higher level of morality.

Patients meet in group classes and complete homework during their own time. The homework is shared with the group, and highly trained facilitators ask prescribed questions. It’s in the answering of the questions and through group discussions that the treatment takes place. The groups meet once or twice a week, and the program lasts between three and six months.

The Seven Steps of MRT

MRT is a prescribed program that’s guided by a workbook consisting of 16 units that cover seven issues in steps:

  1. The confrontation of attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors.
  2. The assessment of current relationships.
  3. The reinforcement of positive ways of thinking and behaving.
  4. Formulating a positive self-identity.
  5. Enhancing the concept of self.
  6. Decreasing hedonistic attitudes and behaviors and developing a higher frustration tolerance.
  7. Developing an overall higher level of moral reasoning.

Patients start by learning to be honest with themselves and others and eventually move to a more positive self-image. Ideally, at the end of the MRT program, patients have moved to a higher state of wellbeing that includes having compassion for themselves and others.

How MRT Benefits a Diverse Group of People

Since MRT doesn’t require extensive skills in reading and comprehension, it’s ideal for people of all reading levels and intelligences. Additionally, it’s comprised of both group and individual work, which addresses various learning preferences and styles. And since the program is ongoing, patients can enter the classes at any time without having to wait for an opening or a new class to begin.