I want to share with you the WRAP® Values and Ethics because the development of these values and ethics was a peer support process. These values and ethics were not a mandate from some higher authority, but rather evolved over time as groups of peers considered and revised them until they arrived at a list that all could agree with. I shared them, and others did too, at workshops, training events, seminars, and support group meetings and through early internet groups. This was before Facebook. We knew the process was complete when people stopped challenging them and said they were right–then we knew they really were right. If someone comes up with a value they feel should be added to this list, we will put it through that same process before determining it should be added to this list. And this time we will be able to use Facebook. The following list is of the current WRAP Values and Ethics with added comments in italics.
- WRAP supports hope. It is clearly understood that people get well, stay well for long periods of time, and do the things they want to do with their lives.
The old messages we used to get that told us we would never get better, that we would likely get worse over time and that there is nothing we can do to help ourselves were wrong.
- WRAP promotes self-determination, personal responsibility, empowerment, and self-advocacy.
- In WRAP groups and programs, people are always treated as equals, with dignity, compassion, mutual respect, and unconditional high regard; as unique, special individuals, including complete acceptance of diversity with relation to culture, ethnicity, language, religion, race, gender, age, disability, sexual identity, and “readiness” issues. No one, no matter how educated they are or the position they hold has the right to predict the course of our future, of our life. In WRAP groups, everyone leaves their “hat” or title at the door and participates in the process as equals. Doctors, case managers, people who have had health difficulties for years–all are equal in WRAP groups, treating each other with mutual respect while learning and growing together.
- WRAP is based on the premise that there are “no limits” to recovery.
- WRAP is totally voluntary. The person who is developing their WRAP decides if they want to do it, when they want to do it, how long they will take, what it will include, and who assists and supports them in the process.
- The person who is developing their WRAP is the only expert on themselves.
- In WRAP, the focus is on individual strengths and away from perceived deficits. In WRAP, people focus on the things they do well, and avoid focusing on negative self-judgments or the findings of deficit-based assessments.
- The use of clinical, medical, and diagnostic language is avoided.
- Whenever possible, people work together and learn with peers, to increase mutual understanding, knowledge, and promote wellness.
- The emphasis is on strategies that are simple and safe and away from strategies that are invasive or that may have serious or devastating side effects.
- It is understood that difficult feelings and behaviors are normal responses to traumatic life circumstances, and that what is happening in your life is not a “symptom” or a diagnosis.
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.