Valuing Ourselves. Grace–for Others, Self and the Process. Part I
By Jenn Cusick of Luminate Wellness
From the WRAP Facilitator Manual – Values & Ethics Number 6:
“Treat them (participants) with dignity, compassion, respect and unconditional high regard.”
I’m going to spend most of this article on “unconditional high regard,” because I think those three words can be unpacked and pulled apart in a deep way. As with everything in WRAP, my words are not meant to give you final answers, but to instead, to encourage you to ponder what this means to you, and how does it play out in your life and work.
by Heather Smith, Advanced Level WRAP Facilitator
When I started this journey with WRAP 3 years ago, I was considered a “clinician” rather than a peer. I suppose it was a relatively new concept to include people in WRAP seminars that weren’t widely considered to be in the “peer” category. After a day of listening to Gina Calhoun, Copeland Center Director for Wellness and Recovery Education, tell me that I needed to shed my own personal labels and just listen to what WRAP was telling me, I gladly walked away from the idea that I had to be either a clinician or a peer. I stopped accepting that I had to be limited to one category or label. The group I was with started slowly coming to that same realization too and in what seemed like an instant, we started seeing each other as humans with experiences and feelings and needs and hurts and a desire to be well. That’s what bonded us (some of us still to this day, 3 years later!). We stopped excluding each other based on notions of who belonged and who didn’t.
The Temple University Collaboration on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities is doing a research study to learn more about to support students with mental health issues to help them succeed in school. Students who enroll in the study may have a chance to work with someone who will help them to set goals related to their education, relationships, mental health and campus life, and receive encouragement and support to achieve their goals.
To seek real change in our lives, it is possible when the journey starts with intentionally looking at how we see our self in the world and ends with making some attempt at a deep, critical self-reflection about whether that self exhibits the values you hope to practice in your life. Each person has a choice to evaluate their systems of thought and question whether those systems were explicitly chosen as representative of their personal values, or whether those systems were implicitly inherited from their embedded histories. This is important because there may be habits of mind that are defining wellness in our lives and maybe limiting how we respond to the world in healthy, self-determining ways. We have inherited much of how we see and interact in the world through our culture and change requires a great deal of unlearning.
Before being hospitalized for long periods of time, grocery stores in my town were relatively small and choices were rather limited. When I came out of long-term hospitalization, grocery stores had ‘grown up’. Many stores today sell food, make-up, cleaning supplies, pharmacy items, etc… and choices are practically unlimited. In this environment, choice can be an overwhelming experience. For this reason, going to the store to buy food was, and still is, a complicated process for me.