Personal Mental Health Recovery Values and Ethics:
- There is hope. People get well, stay well for long periods of time, and do the things they want to do with their lives.
- Self-determination, personal responsibility, empowerment, and self-advocacy are expected outcomes of WRAP.
- Insist that you be treated as an equal with dignity, compassion, mutual respect, and unconditional high regard, a unique, special individual, including acceptance of diversity with relation to culture, ethnicity, language, religion, race, gender, age, disability, sexual preference, and “readiness” issues, and treat others the same way.
- WRAP is based on the premise that there are “no limits” to recovery.
- Every part of WRAP is totally voluntary. You, the person who is developing the WRAP, decide if you want to do it, when you want to do it, how long you will take, what it will include and who assists and supports you.
- It is understood that you as the person who is developing this WRAP, are the expert on yourself.
- Concentrate on your individual strengths and away from perceived deficits as determined by you or others.
- Keep the focus on things you do well, and avoid negative self-judgments or the findings of deficit-based assessments.
- Avoid the use of clinical, medical and diagnostic language.
- If possible, work together and learn with your peers to increase mutual understanding, knowledge and promote wellness.
- Emphasize strategies that are simple and safe.
- Difficult feelings and behaviors are normal responses to traumatic circumstances and what is happening in your life and need not be considered symptoms or a diagnosis.
Mental Health Recovery Values and Ethics for Group Facilitators
In order to do mental health recovery and WRAP work, it is essential that you understand and support the following values and ethics. If you don’t want to, or cannot adhere to these values and ethics, please do not do this work.
- honor the participants.
- accept them as they are and as unique, special individuals.
- remind them that there are “no-limits” to anyone’s recovery.
- give them a sense hope.
- validate their experiences.
- treat them with dignity, compassion, respect and unconditional high regard.
- give each person choices and options, not final answers.
- support the concept that each person is the expert on themselves.
In this work, participants learn through their own experience and the experience of others. This work is:
- based on self-determination – it opens the door for individuals, but doesn’t dictate their path.
- rooted in the belief in equality – no one is any better or has higher value than anyone else.
- a mutual learning model, where both people work together to increase understanding and promote wellness.
- not necessarily a replacement for other kinds of therapy, but can complement any other therapy.
- adaptable to anyone’s personal philosophy.
- simple and safe for anyone, regardless of the severity of their symptoms.
- based on common sense.
- infinitely do-able.
- always changing – the body of knowledge is always expanding and is infinite.
- not based on any philosophy or model, but can incorporate any philosophy or model.
- not only a program – it is a way of life.
There is no room for big egos or “power trips,” bigotry, prejudice or hatred. Everyone belongs at the table, no matter what their issues or where they are on their path. There are no predetermined outcomes. Each individual works at their own pace toward their own goals.
There is no “political” agenda. (Political discussions need to be saved for the appropriate forum.)
Follow strict codes of sexual conduct at all times. As a facilitator, do not behave in a manner that might be construed as sexually suggestive, harassing or discriminatory. If anyone in your group or at your presentation does these kind of things, let them know that it is not acceptable. If you are having a hard time with this, discuss it with someone you trust who can give you helpful guidance and support in addressing this issue.
Do everything you can to ensure a safe, comfortable and respectful atmosphere for participants.
The Values and Ethics Checklist is for both facilitators and people looking for groups to get an idea of the community they will find in their WRAP group.
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.