Reply To: Homework Week 2 (Wellness and Recovery Promotion)

Natalie Lonstein

1. What are your general reactions to this exercise of identifying strengths and reflecting on how a strength can help you achieve a recovery or wellness goal?

I found this exercise more validating around the support that I have received from the family and from my husband. It made me realize how thankful I am for my relationship and how important it has been for me to lean into this support over the last several years. I think sometimes we are fearful of or resistant to asking for help and instead would rather try to do things on our own; what I realized through this exercise was that I actually would not be where I am today without my husband’s support. Knowing how supportive he has been in the past is evidence for his continued support of me in the future – meaning more help in reaching my wellness goals.

2. What did you discover about your own strengths that might have been previously hidden from view?

I think this helped me to discover that my vulnerability, openness, and help-seeking qualities, are strengths that I have that were hidden from view. I have generally seen myself as a vulnerable person, and willing to be open and honest about my experiences, but I think the authentic nature in which I approached conversations with my husband in the beginning of our relationship are a testament to these strengths. Though I can be stubborn and independent, I also realized that I am generally help-seeking, and not afraid to ask for the support that I believe I need.

3. How would you or have you used a strengths assessment to help consumers identify their strengths and uncover their hopes and dreams?

I found this section of the course very interesting and to really resonate with me and the work that I do with youth. In my programs, we approach our work utilizing a Wraparound perspective, which is a model of care focused on keeping complex and at risk youth in their home communities. Some key components of the model of Wraparound include performing a Strengths, Needs, and Cultural Discovery Assessment, very similar to what was identified here. Instead of an intake assessment inquiring about a client’s past and history, a Strengths, Needs, and Cultural Discovery is an informal conversation with a family to gather information about their family culture, interests, leisure activities, and thoughts about the future etc., in order to highlight key strengths we hear from their stories, and match these to the needs we hear in the narrative. We want to explore what resources they currently have and how these can be harnessed to support them moving forward. Another major piece of Wraparound is having the family identify their Vision, or what we will support them in working towards; we ask them “Life will be better when……” which helps us get them to explore their hopes and dreams.