Moral Recognition Therapy (MRT)

Moral Recognition Therapy

Friday, May 29, 2020 | By Cooper Samp

What is MRT?

Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a type of behavioral therapy targeted at decreasing the possibility of someone abusing drugs or alcohol. It shows individuals in the criminal justice system with substance use disorders to focus on the moral aspects of their disease and the social repercussions that may be related to using substances or alcohol.

MRT began as a behavioral treatment for offender populations to reduce the probability of re-offending. MRT is a widely accepted cognitive-behavioral technique treating substance use disorders, trauma, domestic violence, and more.

Similar to Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), MRT aims to transform thought processes and decision-making associated with addiction and criminal behavior. It makes use of a mix of psychological practices to assist with egocentric actions and improve moral thinking and positive identity. Studies suggest it is effective in minimizing relapse after treatment.

How It Works

If you choose to use MRT as part of your drug use therapy, you’ll join private and group counseling. There’s additional homework to complete and organized group activities to participate in. In your workbook, you’ll find 16 steps focused on seven foundation treatment focuses:

  1. Coming face-to-face with your existing behaviors, attitudes, and beliefs
  2. Developing a healthy concept of self
  3. Lowering self-destructive tendencies and building your frustration tolerance
  4. Analyzing your current relationships
  5. Structure of higher epitomes of moral reasoning
  6. Building a positive identity
  7. Reinforcing effective behaviors and behaviors

You’ll meet in a group one or two times weekly, and you can complete the program within 24-36 sessions. Frequency of meetings may rely on the treatment center’s setup.

Who is MRT For?

You might ask yourself if you’re a suitable candidate for MRT. Know that this therapy targets particular populaces, consisting of:

  • Males and females
  • Individuals ages 18-55
  • Trauma survivors
  • Correctional
  • Veterans

If you do not have a criminal background or tendencies, CBT is a comparable therapeutic approach that might be a better fit.

Juvenile Drug Courts

According to SAMHSA, they consider MRT an evidence-based therapy. They also consider this a “Promising Practice Status” for juveniles. That said, it has received the “Evidence-Based Practice Status” classification from state divisions of human services and state departments of juvenile justice. With that in mind, it’s a good idea to incorporate MRT with another treatment program backed by evidence that’s targeted specifically at juveniles.

MRT Addiction/Substance Abuse Treatment

The MRT drug abuse program includes 16 actions. Completion occurs after the first 12 steps. The last four are optional. Generally, an individual can finish the program within 24-36 group sessions kept in accordance with the agency’s implementations and requirements. For instance, drug courts and probation sites usually hold a regular group.

Individuals complete homework before attending each session. In the group, individuals present their assignments and the facilitator passes the individual to the following step (or has the client re-do the homework based on objective standards). All MRT groups are open-ended, indicating that new individuals can enter into an ongoing group any time.

Treatment-Resistant Clients

Something else worth noting with this therapeutic approach; people resistant to similar therapies in the past might find this particular therapy beneficial. If you have participated in a number of various treatment or therapy programs to no avail, this therapy method might offer hope. MRT focuses on dealing with the whole person morally, socially, and behaviorally. This holistic view could decrease the chance for relapse.

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