A Personal Look at the Wellness Recovery Action Plan
I am in the process of getting trained to be a certified WRAP facilitator, and I am really excited about it. I first heard of the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, developed by Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland, about six years ago. At the time, I hate to admit it, but I ran across what I assume was a pirated copy of a pdf version of the workbook and downloaded it to my computer. It immediately resonated with me as a valuable tool for helping me maintain balanced emotions.
What is WRAP? It is a notebook* system for monitoring, improving, and reducing any unwanted nervous symptoms a person may have. It was originally developed to counteract symptoms of depression and manic-depression (bipolar disorder), but has evolved to be used for many other health and lifestyle challenges, such as weight loss and diabetes.
The sections of WRAP include a description of how you look and behave when you are well, a list of your common symptoms, a list of things that trigger those symptoms, and things you can do that help. Beyond those basics, the WRAP should eventually contain a written plan for what to do in the case of a breakdown, including what people you want helping you.
But probably the most important section of the WRAP, for me anyway, is the “Wellness Toolbox.” Psychiatric wellness tool lists are perhaps not a unique idea, but it was a new idea for me, and the original lists I made six years ago have helped me a lot as I’ve navigated some pretty big changes.
What I originally loved about WRAP was the simplicity of having a centralized place to keep track of my symptoms and triggers, what made me feel better, and what made me feel worse. In a way, that’s so obvious! Yet, until I ran across the idea of the WRAP, I never developed those lists on my own.
Anyway, I’ve wanted to get the official training in WRAP for years now, but two things held me back. First, it’s a bit of a financial investment. Second, there is an ethical agreement they require you to sign, and given my spiritual journey, I was not at a place in my life where I could agree to all the tenets until recently.
I guess I’m a bit of a purist when it comes to “making vows” and to me, signing an ethical agreement amounts to making a vow.
Well, I’m ready to sign the “vow” now, for what it’s worth, and by two weeks from now, I should be a certified WRAP facilitator! I really hope I find many ways to share these tools and techniques to help other people around me who are challenged by life changes and unpleasant psychiatric symptoms.
*WRAP began as a physical paper notebook system, but can now be maintained digitally through apps and the WRAP website. Some people record their WRAP for an auditory version, as well.