Moral Reconation Therapy
Incompatible with Council on Social Work Education Competencies?
Keywords:evidence-based practice, social work field education, ethics, EPAS, Moral Reconation Therapy
Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT) is a manualized treatment commonly used in correctional settings to address perceived moral failing and associated problematic behaviors (e.g., substance use and criminal conduct). Many social work students are introduced to MRT as a treatment modality during field placements in correctional contexts. As a group modality that draws from cognitive-behavioral interventions and 12-step recovery programs, MRT has been touted as a cost-effective and evidence-based intervention. However, there are substantial reasons to question MRT’s appropriateness as an intervention taught to social work practicum students. Using several of the CSWE EPAS standards as guideposts, this paper addresses several key areas of concern with regard to the role of MRT in the training of social work students. Through our analysis of MRT’s curriculum, we identify areas of concern with regard to MRT’s ability to teach social work students how to ethically practice, engage diversity and difference in practice, or utilize research to inform practice. Despite the widespread use of MRT in correctional counseling contexts, we conclude that MRT is unsuitable for use in accredited social work field placements. Educators and accreditation agencies should critically evaluate the treatment models social work students learn and practice in field placements.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sam Harrell, Brianna Suslovic, Constance Johnson, Chandler Boys, Ben Anderson-Nathe, Kassandra Botts
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