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Moral Reconation Therapy – Trenton, NJ

Moral reconation therapy is an approach to substance abuse recovery created by Greg Little and Ken Robinson between the years of 1979 and 1983. Moral reconation therapy has its roots in cognitive-behavioral approaches and has been used to help those struggling with substance abuse, parenting and even job attitude improvement.

Conation is a former term for “ego” in therapy while incorporating the word “moral” describes the therapy’s approach in making behavioral decisions based on considerations for others.

According to Little and Robinson, “Clients enter treatment with low levels of moral development, strong narcissism, low ego/identity strength, poor self-concept, low self-esteem, inability to delay gratification, relatively high defensiveness and relatively strong resistance to change and treatment.”

An In-Depth Look at Moral Reconation Therapy

The creators of moral reconation therapy identified nine personality stages where a person may commonly experience growth through participation in the program. These include:

  1. Disloyalty, where a person may blame others and show a willingness to engage in dishonest behavior.
  2. Opposition, when a person exhibits fewer episodes of disloyalty.
  3. Uncertainty, when a person is unsure of how he or she feels about other people and is still making decisions based on the concepts of pain or pleasure.
  4. Injury, where a person may engage in destructive behaviors, but is beginning to see himself or herself as the source of responsibility.
  5. Nonexistence, where a person feels alienated from other people, but may start to develop a few close relationships.
  6. Danger, where a person begins to make decisions based on societal and moral norms, but can experience frustration and affected self-esteem if he or she makes a “bad” or “wrong” decision.
  7. Emergency, where a person starts to make social considerations.
  8. Normal, when a person becomes happy and more contented and rarely makes decisions based on pleasure or pain.
  9. Grace, where a person makes the majority of his or her decision making based on ethical principles.

Note that very few adults, not only those in therapy, reach the “grace” or ninth stage as this represents a very high level of thinking.

Moral reconation therapy or MRT involves attending one to two meetings per week for a time period that can range from three to six months. The program features a facilitator as well as a workbook where participants can do weekly “homework.” The actual discussions and treatments are centered on the following seven issues, according to the National Resource Center for Permanency and Family Connections:

  1. Confrontation of beliefs, attitudes and behaviors
  2. Assessment of current relationships
  3. Reinforcement of positive behaviors and habits
  4. Positive identity formation
  5. Enhancement of self-concept
  6. Decrease in hedonism and development of frustration tolerance
  7. Development of higher stages of moral reasoning

Upon completion of the program, individuals will ideally continue this higher level of thinking and apply it to a variety of choices.

How Is Moral Reconation Therapy Applied at a Drug Treatment Center?

Drug treatment centers can incorporate MRT either on an inpatient (residential) basis or through outpatient therapy. The therapy is thought to be especially beneficial toward those who have historically been treatment-resistant or who may not have entered rehabilitation willingly.

However, MRT can benefit a wide range of addicts in recovery because it teaches not only resistance to drugs and alcohol, but also improved decision-making. This can benefit people from all walks of life, including helping to strengthen relationships and work performance.

For more information on moral reconation therapy, please call Drug Treatment Centers Trenton at 609-770-6140.

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