WRAP, the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, is now recognized by the Federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) as an evidence-based practice. That means that the WRAP model as designed by Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, described in the Facilitator Training Manual: Mental Health Recovery, Including WRAP, Curriculum and implemented by properly trained facilitators, has been rigorously studied by researchers who are well-known and respected for their mental health research.
Through the hard work of the researchers at the University of Illinois in Chicago, we now have proof for what we have long known: WRAP is helping people to experience greater levels of wellness and to move forward with their recovery. For more information on the research project, go to UIC WRAP Research. To review the listing in the National Registry of Evidence-Based Programs and Practices (NREPP), go to NREPP’s WRAP page.
What does this mean?
It means that you can expect a WRAP program modeled on best practices to engage individuals in an understanding that they have personal resources they can use to direct their own wellness, help themselves stay well, help themselves feel better, and equip supporters to best support them in times of crisis. A WRAP program modeled on best practices is one that uses co-facilitators who have been trained by people who are qualified to lead a WRAP facilitator training and have met the criteria for the facilitator certificate. That certificate process prepares them to effectively facilitate WRAP as presented in the Facilitator Manual and offer fidelity to the model that has shown positive results in recovery and wellness.
When following this model of facilitation, people experience personal empowerment in their recovery. In the past these people may have looked to others, and used intensive services to relieve their mental health issues. Now they will understand that they have the capacity to do this for themselves. In the long run, this means that you can meet more people’s needs with lower costs and better outcomes—a win-win for everyone.
WRAP programs based on the model that was researched, and continues to be studied, are being offered in all kinds of circumstances and facilities all over the United States and all over the world.
What is the best way to provide WRAP?
We believe, and the research proves, that people who attend a group based on the values and material described in the Facilitator Manual will clearly realize the greatest benefit. If you want to start a WRAP® program, contact the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery, a nonprofit organization, that is the official WRAP training organization. They will work with you to tailor a step-by-step process to make this happen. This typically includes:
- A 2- or 3-day Introduction to WRAP for up to 50 attendees. This in-depth orientation is provided to agency or organization stakeholders to build common ground that will support the initiative.
- Up to 18 people, people who have attended the Introduction to WRAP or have met the initial prerequisite another way, and who would like to become WRAP Facilitators, attend a 5-day training led by Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators.**
- WRAP Facilitators, and, if needed, Copeland Center personnel, work with your agency to develop and implement a WRAP program in your agency.
**The Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery is the only organization qualified to train people as Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators (ALWFs). AWLFs are people who train WRAP Facilitators. The Copeland Center is an independent 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded by Mary Ellen Copeland in 2003 in honor of her mother. It exists to promote mental health recovery through education, training, and research based on WRAP, and is separate and independent from WRAP and Recovery Books. Contact the Copeland Center at 802-254-5335.
People can also meet the prerequisite for attending the WRAP Facilitator Training (instead of attending the 2- to 3-day Introduction) by taking a Correspondence Course offered by the Copeland Center.
Essential to the success of the model used in the study is a strong foundation in a core set of Values and Ethics. The Copeland Center’s training process for WRAP Group Facilitation is based on embracing the skills to model these core Values and Ethics.
Since its beginning, the Copeland Center has trained many, many people to offer the evidenced based practice in WRAP. If you already have qualified WRAP Facilitators and Advanced Level WRAP Facilitators available in your area, they know the model and they can help you get started. If you are not sure if your WRAP Facilitators are qualified or you need more information, contact the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery at (802) 254-5335 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
WRAP and Recovery Books provides the materials needed by facilitators and participants. WRAP and Recovery Books and the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery are separate, independent organizations.
Why do we need the training? Why can’t we just do this ourselves without any training?
The evidence-based trainings are highly interactive courses that were designed by Dr. Copeland with input from many, many peers and from health care providers, to ensure that a critical set of values and ethics are practiced in implementation of the WRAP program. WRAP is powerful in recovery because it evolved from people’s life experiences. The WRAP Facilitator Training is all about bringing that lived experience into the curriculum for a transformative group process.
I can honestly and truthfully say that the week of Facilitator Training was better than a speeding train on a roller coaster ride. Exciting, scary, fulfilling my anticipations, grounding all of us into a focus of Recovery for All. The benefits are many faceted, and getting valid feedback (more valuable than gold) from experienced WRAP Facilitator Trainers was most inspirational.
Facilitator training gave me a chance to use something awful in my life for something good and thereby reduce the “awful” part down to a manageable level. Then I began to grow. Advanced Facilitator training helped me get my “self” out of the way of helping others. Both trainings and on-going use of skills increase my awareness of healthy ways to interact with my world by contributing to others without diminishing me.
Being a WRAP facilitator makes all the bad things I experienced through my years worth the pain. Having a chance to bring that hope for the future and support for the now while working with others through their WRAP is the most rewarding thing I have ever done. After all, isn’t it hope that keeps us going???
—Tammie Gladden Collins
I heard about WRAP at a mental health conference and became interested enough to purchase the Red Book. I felt it articulated what I had discovered for myself concerning wellness and recovery. I was fascinated that there was a Facilitator Training to learn how to share it with others. I had a particular friend who was really struggling and I wanted to share this self management system with her but didn’t want to do it “wrong” so I signed up for the Correspondence Course so I could then take the Facilitator Training so I could learn how to do it “right.” I went on to become a facilitator in anticipation of conducting WRAP Workshops through my local county mental health department but they were not interested. So I became an independent contractor in 2005 and have been facilitating workshops for private individuals and for local organizations that contract with me. I have taken additional training as a CPS and Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator as well as creativity Coach using art with WRAP. I think it is difficult to only read the material and write your own WRAP, I find my clients really benefit from the interaction and explanation of the various lists and concepts.
We have a small support group. I have a WRAP and I am working with some of the other people in the group to help them develop a WRAP. Would I benefit from taking the Correspondence Course and attending the Facilitator Training?
Yes, you would benefit from taking the Correspondence Course and taking the Facilitator Training. In the Correspondence Course, you will be working directly with a facilitator who has years of experience as a WRAP Facilitator. You will benefit from the information, assistance and support you receive. In the Facilitator Training, in addition to learning about WRAP group facilitation, you will learn about the key concepts of recovery, and the WRAP Values and Ethics, all essential components of what you are doing. When you have completed these courses, you may decide to do more WRAP work in your area, or use your skills in an agency or organization.
I am informally sharing WRAP with others. And I know lots of people are developing a WRAP just by using one of the books. Is that OK?
People who for one reason or another simply do not have the means or access to complete the WRAP Facilitators Training may use the Facilitator Manual and steps outlined to share the ideas and materials in the Manual, but this is only to keep the free flow of information going to people in recovery who could benefit personally from the information. It does not represent the evidenced-based practice and is not the equivalent of the Copeland Center WRAP Facilitation.
Organizations receiving funding to offer WRAP and any other support services should be planning to implement evidenced based practices. People who have been coping with serious mental health challenges for many years deserve the very best that we can offer.
I had used Living Without Depression & Manic Depression [Copeland, M. 1994, Oakland, CA: New Harbinger Publications. Out of print, revised as WRAP Plus, Copeland M. 2010, Dummerston, VT: Peach Press] before attending the facilitators training in 1999. I had also looked at the red WRAP book. However the training for WRAP really helps you to be able to create an atmosphere of mutual learning and healing that you cannot get from just reading. It’s actually seeing it practiced, trouble shooting and looking at ways that you can improve that makes it possible for all to move forward. The skills needed to create this learning environment and not just a recovery community but a wellness way of life are not instantly known, even if you have facilitated other groups and programs for years. The refresher trainings are essential to keeping to the evidenced based practices. I continue to experience growth in my facilitation and my own wellness. The Copeland Center facilitation model and system of support and training is important to keeping to the fidelity model.
The Facilitator Training Manual: Mental Health Recovery Including WRAP Curriculum. and other WRAP materials are available only through WRAP and Recovery Books:
Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, developed Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) with a group of people with lived experience who were attending a mental health recovery workshop in 1997. She is the original author of the WRAP Red Book, as well as dozens of other WRAP books and materials. She has dedicated the last 30 years of her life to learning from people who have mental health issues; discovering the simple, safe, non-invasive ways they get well, stay well, and move forward in their lives; and then sharing what she has learned with others through keynote addresses, trainings, and the development of books, curriculums, and other resources. Now that she is retired, and that, as she intended, others are continuing to share what she has learned, she continues to learn from those who have mental health issues and those who support them. She is a frequent contributor to this site.