WRAP: Wellness Recovery Action Plan

It has become more and more common to have a mental health professional ask the question, ‘Have you done a WRAP?’. This question probably sounds very odd to someone who is not familiar with the acronym or the framework behind it. The WRAP plan is what the letters stand for: Wellness Recovery Action Plan. Mary Ellen Copeland, Phd. and a group of researches and survivors of serious mental illness decided that they had enough of the ‘medical model’ of recovery. The ‘medical model’ refers to a very common way of treating not just mental illness, but many serious physical illnesses as well. The ‘medical model’ focuses on the finding the ‘right’ medication or combination of medications to achieve STABILITY. Not good results or bad results…stable results. Dr. Copeland and the team of researchers were not happy with this ‘it’s good enough’ attitude from the establishment and developed the WRAP plan in 1997 (visit thecopelandcenter.com for more information). The WRAP plan has been proven to be very effective in the recovery of people suffering from all kinds of maladies and disorders. It is a framework to help overcome the overwhelming symptoms and negative behavioral patterns associated with various illnesses. It also puts some of the power back into the hands of the people who suffer. We know ourselves and our illness best, don’t we? I am not suggesting that the concepts in the WRAP can cure all of your ills. It should be used in conjunction with proper medical management, therapy, group and family support. Let’s take a look at the basic parts and tenets of the WRAP plan.

Your personal plan

First and foremost, the WRAP plan is to be completed by the person who wishes to recover. They can have guidance and support from someone else as they complete the modules, but the choices and work need to be done by he or she who suffers. The great part about a WRAP plan is that you only have to use the parts that will be helpful to you. This can vary greatly by individual and by medical issue. In basic terms there are seven parts to a WRAP plan. They are, in order: Developing a Wellness Toolbox, Daily Maintenance Plan, Triggers and Action Plan, Early Warning Signs and Action Plan, Breaking Down and Action Plan, Crisis Planning and Post Crisis Planning. A person with IBS accompanied by IBS driven anxiety might want to create a Wellness Toolbox, Daily Maintenance Plan and a Triggers and Action Plan only. Someone who is completely overwhelmed and feels there is a chance of a breakdown might want to consider completing the entire plan. It all depends on YOU and your needs. That is the beauty of the WRAP plan.

Seeking more than stability

There are probably WRAP support groups in your community and while they may be geared towards people with mental health or substance abuse issues, they may also take into consideration the fact that the very creator of the WRAP plan acknowledges its use for all types of illness and problems. I will talk more about what the specific parts of the plan accomplish in later articles. Until then, do a little research and see how a WRAP plan might provide the structure you need to do more than manage your IBS. Doing great is much better than…STABILIZED.

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