Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD

If you’ve participated in a WRAP seminar, hopefully you’ve helped develop a group safety agreement. 

The safety agreement is a list of guidelines participants of a WRAP seminar collectively create to ensure each participant can express their needs to feel safe. 

Some things that might be included in a safety agreement: 

  • What is said in the room stays in the room (the Vegas rule). 
  • Don’t interrupt. 
  • Don’t share details of trauma. 
  • Be present and listen to others. 

If you are a WRAP Facilitator, you must include the safety agreement as part of each seminar. 

Below, one of WRAP’s originators, Mary Ellen Copeland, PhD, explains why. 

Safety Agreements Are Not Optional 

It is absolutely thrilling for me to hear of the good work that WRAP Facilitators are doing around the world. 

I understand an issue has come up around the safety agreement (sometimes called by other names, such as participant safety guidelines, safety guidelines, or safety comfort agreement). The safety agreement is being left out of some trainings and seminars, and I am horrified by this. Let me clarify this issue as best I can. 

Early on, when the notion of mental health recovery was in its infancy, it became clear that to meet successfully in groups, attendees needed assurance they would be as safe as possible—both physically and emotionally—while participating. 

This need arose from feedback from attendees and several unfortunate incidents. 

Although there is no way to completely ensure everyone’s safety, we want to do the very best we can to make sure attendees have positive experiences and are not traumatized when they attend WRAP seminars. 

In consultation with many group facilitators and attendees, the safety agreement protocol was developed and became a key part of the mental health recovery and WRAP curriculum. 

The safety agreement (previously called the “Safety Contract”) was in the curriculum and the study groups that were used to prove WRAP’s efficacy and secure its designation as an evidence-based practice. 

The safety agreement must be included in the training or seminar. If it is not included, it is not the evidence-based practice of WRAP. 

The safety agreement is not optional. It can’t be replaced by another activity; there is no substitute for it. 

If, as a WRAP Facilitator, you encounter situations where you feel you need to tailor the curriculum, please contact AHP at 978-261-1400 or books@wellnessrecoveryactionplan.com to discuss your needs and get approval. 

Again, many thanks for all you do as WRAP Facilitators. And thank you to everyone who is part of the WRAP community and helps keep it safe and supportive.