The Cognitive Centre of Canada



The Cognitive Centre of Canada (CCC) was established at the University of Ottawa in Canada in 1980 for research and program development on effective methods for reducing recidivism.

 Reasoning & Rehabilitation Programs

The Cognitive Centre developed the internationally accredited cognitive-behavioral Reasoning and Rehabilitation programs. The programs teach skills and values which are antagonistic to antisocial behavior and are essential to the achievement of pro-social competence. The skills and values enable and motivate desistance from antisocial behavior.


The first Reasoning and Rehabilitation program (R&R) was developed in 1986 and is still being implemented world-wide - more than thirty years later.

The R&R program was based on an analysis of more than 100 rigorously evaluated offender rehabilitation programs. The programs involved as many as 2,000 offenders with follow-up periods as long as 3 to 15 years after training. The analysis indicated that effective programs included as a target of their intervention not only the offenders’ behavior or their employment skills, but their thinking - their reasoning, their attitudes and their values.

R&R was also based on forty years of empirical research on the cognitive skills of anti-social individuals. That research indicated that many juvenile and adult offenders evidence inadequate development in the skills that are required for pro-social competence: self-control; problem- solving; critical reasoning; social skills; empathy and values.


Guided by research conducted since R&R was produced in 1986, the Centre has developed a suite of new, specialized and shorter programs that are tailored to the needs of specific groups of offenders and other antisocial individuals:

R&R2 for Antisocial Adults (16 and older) 

R&R2 for Antisocial Youths (12-16) 

R&R2 for ADHD Youths and Adults

R&R2 for Girls and Young Women

R&R2 for Youths and Adults With Mental Health Problems

R&R2 for Families and Support Persons

R&R2 for Antisocial Drivers

Please click on a program title above or on list on left for its description.



More than ninety-thousand antisocial youths and adults have been trained in R&R or R&R2 programs over the past thirty-two years. Programs have been implemented in twenty-four countries. The program materials have been translated in sixteen languages.


R&R and R&R2 programs are being implemented in a wide variety of correctional settings: social service agencies, institutions for delinquents; probation, prisons, and secure psychiatric hospitals for mentally disordered offenders. They are also being implemented in group homes and community schools.

R&R and R&R2 programs are being applied across the spectrum of offender types: "at-risk" youth; conduct-disordered youths; delinquents, adult offenders; alcohol and drug-abusing offenders; violent offenders; sex offenders; spouse-abusers;  white collar criminals; military prisoners; mentally-disordered offenders; and youths and adults with ADHD. 

R&R and R&R2 programs are being facilitated by prison guards, probation officers; social workers; psychologists; psychiatrists, psychiatric nurses, occupational therapists; teachers, correctional managers, secretaries; university faculty; and by offenders who are graduates of the program. Please click on Training for information on training and accreditation of R&R Trainers.


Reasoning & Rehabilitation programs are not only among the most widely disseminated but also the most frequently evaluated rehabilitation programs. Their efficacy in reducing recidivism has been demonstrated in more than fifty independent international evaluations, in meta-analyses and in cost-benefit analyses. Please click on Evaluations for information and references.


All Reasoning & Rehabilitation programs provide training in the following: 

Self-Control: offenders are taught to stop and think before they act;consider consequences before making decisions; and use cognitive techniques to control their behavior.

Meta-Cognition: offenders are taught to tune into and critically assess their own thinking - to realize that how they think determines what they think, how they feel and how they behave.

Emotional Management: an offender's success in social adjustment depends on his/her ability to recognize and manage their emotions – not only anger but other emotions such as excitement, depression, fear, and anxiety which may be equally or more problematic for many offenders.

Social Perspective-taking: offenders are taught to consider other peoples’ thoughts and feelings – the basis of empathy.

Interpersonal Cognitive Problem-Solving Skills: offenders are taught how to analyze interpersonal problems, understand and consider other people's values, behavior and feelings; recognize how their behavior affects other people and why others respond to them as they do; and how to deal with problems in a pro-social manner.

Social Skills: many offenders act anti-socially because they lack the skills to act pro-socially. R&R/R&R2 programs train them in skills which will help them achieve positive reinforcement rather than rejection in social situations.

Critical Reasoning: offenders learn how to think logically, objectively, and rationally without distorting the facts, externalizing the blame or being misled by others.

Creative Thinking: offenders are taught alternative thinking - how to consider pro-social rather than anti-social ways of thinking about and responding to the problems they experience.

Values Enhancement: throughout the programs the offenders are led from their egocentric world-views by developing understanding and appreciation of the attitudes, values and needs of other individuals and of society.

Note: R&R2 programs teach additional skills appropriate to the target population. Click on the specific program for information.



The primary vehicle for teaching the skills is small group discussion. The group atmosphere is thought-provoking, stimulating, lively and debate-like, but the discussions are highly structured and task-oriented.


The ideal group size for the program is 6-8 but programs can be conducted with 4-10 participants. 


Trainers’ Kits for each program provide materials and detailed instructions for conducting each of the sessions. The programs include structured group activities; pro-social role-playing, thinking games, puzzles and problems. Trainers can readily change the content as required to ensure that the material presented is relevant to the group and is culturally appropriate.
Each program includes exercises in which individual participants practice applying the skills to their individual problems.


R&R programs require no special facilities or equipment except video presentation equipment (or an overhead projector) and a flip-chart. The only physical facility required is a small classroom or group discussion room which can accommodate 6-10 participants and video equipment. There must be sufficient room to enable two participants to role-play in full view of the video camera and the other participants.



The number of sessions varies from 12 to 35 across different programs. The sessions can be delivered in almost any schedule that suits the requirements of the agency and the availability of the offenders. The ideal is 2 to 4 (ninety- minute) sessions a week. Programs also involve out-of-class work by the participants who engage in individual 'homework' exercises in which they practice the skills they have learned in the group sessions. Each program enables booster or follow-up sessions.


Reasoning & Rehabilitation programs must be implemented by enthusiastic R&R Trainers working in a supportive context. It is essential that managers understand and endorse the program and its purpose and ensure that Trainers are adequately resourced and supported. The detailed instructions in the Trainer Kits enable the co-trainers, agency's managers and program evaluators to assess program integrity by observing whether the program is being delivered in a manner that is consistent with the program principles and practices.


R&R and R&R2 programs are designed in both content and proce­dures to ensure that they are suited for application in a wide range of institutional or community corrections programs. They were also designed to yield programs which are compatible with the vast majority of other programs in which offenders participate. Programs should be integrated with other ongoing services, especially employment training and placement services. They should be introduced in such a way that significant individuals in the participant's environment (correctional officers, probation officers, teachers, parents, spouses, peers etc.) understand the principles of the program and reinforce the skills the offenders are acquiring.

Please click on a program title to go to its description. e-mail Cognitive Centre for additional information: