Moral reconation therapy (MRT) is a form of cognitive behavioral therapy used to treat drug abuse and addiction. Moral reconation therapy focuses on the connection between internal thoughts and external responses, with therapists helping patients to develop better powers of moral reasoning in order to change unhealthy behavior.
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Moral reconation therapy is based on cognitive behavioral therapy, a form of psychotherapy originally designed to treat depression and now used to treat a range of mental health and substance use disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy acknowledges the limitations of rational thought and power of prior conditioning.
Therapists help patients to deal with their problems through a "problem focused" and "action oriented" approach. This form of therapy attempts to reconcile the split between thoughts, feelings and behavioral responses, with patients working through their core beliefs in order to avoid impulsive and compulsive behavioral responses.
MRT was originally developed by Dr. Gregory Little and Dr. Kenneth Robinson in 1985, and is now used in over 40 states across America. This form of therapy has proved especially useful for members of the treatment resistant population, with practical exercises and various homework assignments used to encourage moral reasoning and relapse prevention.
MRT is held in group and individual counseling sessions, with groups normally used to reduce costs and encourage community support. Workbooks are commonly used to document exercises and homework assignments, with sixteen steps or units focusing on seven basic treatment principles.
There are six steps:
MRT involves a direct attempt to change unhealthy behavior patterns by helping people understand the influence of negative thoughts and emotional patterns on decision making practices. This form of therapy assumes that every person develops attitudes and belief patterns throughout life, many of which they use as defensive mechanisms.
By reconciling the differences between thoughts, feelings and behavior, MRT attempts to bring down these defensive walls so that people can make healthier and more authentic decisions. The primary goal of moral therapy is to foster moral development, with self-discovery sessions and other active exercises used to encourage sustainable and long-term personal growth.
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