Moral reconation therapy (MRT) is a recovery program created and modified in the late 1970’s to early 1980’s to enhance a person’s decision-making skills when it comes to issues of drug abuse recovery, parenting skills and job attitude improvement, among others.
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Greg Little and Ken Robinson were the creators of moral reconation therapy where they had served as counselors helping people overcome substance abuse addiction. What Little and Robinson had observed was that people exhibited positive behaviors while in a drug rehabilitation environment, yet did not continue these character and personality traits upon returning home.
The solution then became moral reconation therapy — a therapy that focused on helping a person transition his or her thinking from “me” focused to relying on a more global perspective that includes legal and social considerations.
MRT has a distinct progression that addresses seven common issues in drug treatment recovery and nine personality stages of anticipated growth. The therapy is conducted on a group basis with a group leader. The seven issues that MRT addresses are:
Participants attend one to two meeting per month for at least three months and six months. The program has a high rate of completion, which can be unusual for an addiction recovery program. In addition to participation in the group meetings, participants also have “homework” assignments they can complete out of a workbook.
Throughout the course of its existence, an estimated 1 million people have completed the program. MRT is also available in 45 states in the United States and in other countries, including Australia, Bermuda and Canada, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
The recovery process takes time, and MRT takes into account that a person progresses in terms of thinking. The creators of MRT outlined nine personality stages that a person progresses through. These emotions can include anger and frustration, but ultimately can culminate in a higher level of thinking. Examples of these nine stages of anticipated growth are:
Drug treatment centers may offer MRT as one of several counseling approaches for those struggling with substance abuse. This program is typically well-suited for people who have traditionally been treatment-resistant to other recovery programs or who may be searching for motivations to achieve sobriety.
MRT can be applied on both an inpatient (residential) basis or on an outpatient basis. Additionally, a drug treatment center can customize the program in some ways to address an individual’s unique needs in terms of recovery for a particular substance, training in anger management, enhancing parenting skills or building job skills.