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 crime.


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 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 that 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 150 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-seven countries. The program materials have been translated in seventeen languages.

 R&R and R&R2 programs are being implemented in a wide variety of correctional institutions, forensic psychiatric hospitals, social agencies, and community schools for "at-risk" youth; juvenile 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, 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 sixty independent international evaluations, in meta-analyses and in cost-benefit analyses. Please click on Evidence Base in the left-hand column 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  highly structured and task-oriented.


The ideal group size for the program is 6-8 but programs can be conducted with as few as 4 and as many as 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, and DVD's. 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 personal problems.


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. 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.

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