Homework Week 1 (Wellness and Recovery Promotion)

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    Kristen Erickson

    Homework Exercises

    Please Note: Do the exercise(s) before you answer the homework questions.

    Do a 5 -10 minute mindful write about a story of resilience in your own personal or professional life. Feel free to use the Guidelines for a Mindful Write in the lesson or simply listen to your thoughts and write them down without editing. Please note that you don’t have to share your mindful write with anyone else. Your write is for you. Use the following questions from the lesson to help you get started, but allow your thoughts to take you wherever they go.


    “Tell me about a time when you got through a difficult experience in your life.” “What were some of the personal resources, skills, and abilities you relied on to help you through this experience?”


    Homework Questions

    Please Note: While answering the homework questions please only share personal information or specific responses to the homework exercises you feel comfortable sharing. It is up to you to decide how much or how little to disclose. Please respect the privacy and confidentiality of clients and others in your sharing.

    1. What are your general reactions to the mindful writing? What were some of the personal resources, skills, and abilities you relied on to help you through a difficult experience in your life?
    2. What are some of the ways the questions and or the mindful writing helped you uncover your narrative of resilience?
    3. How might you apply the Narrative questions and or mindful writing in your work with others to help them uncover a neglected story of resilience in their lives?


    Post your answers by clicking the reply button. Make sure you keep a copy of your responses in a text file on your computer in case there is a problem submitting your comments. There is no way of retrieving the data once it is submitted. Thanks.

    Click here to go back to course after you have submitted your assignment: Back to course


    To begin, mindful writing brings a feeling of self-consciousness, like I am overthinking the task at hand. I have never found myself to be a particularly skillful writer so the thought that I am trying to write while being mindful, and yet not overthinking it, seems a delicate, difficult balance. What also comes to mind is my tendency towards avoiding discomfort in the request of discussing vulnerability. Talking about a difficult time lends itself to opening up about my own struggles which I tend to want to not share with others.
    In terms of what resources and skills I utilized to get through this experience I believe I relied mostly on checking my thinking with others. I tend to be a reactive person and I often find myself craving the opportunity to “tease out” my conundrum with someone I trust. Unfortunately, at times I have the uncanny ability to gravitate towards others who can also be reactive so I work to be mindful of that as well. The situation that I wrote about was work related and I know that due to the stress of the work I do daily it is important for me to get “unstuck” so that I can effectively work with our clients in the program.
    In re-reading the writing I recognize that I have a tendency to focus on my deficiencies versus the strengths. Even in writing the answers to these questions I see myself focusing on the deficit versus the attribute of reaching out and checking myself. I am a quick thinker and I tend not to revisit my thoughts in a more constructive way and I see that the mindful writing could be a good tool to activate a more positive story that can come out of a difficult time. I see this as particularly helping in working with the clients we serve especially because of the amount of stigma associated with chronic substance use disorders. I often find that their sense of self worth is SO negative that they struggle to find simple positive things about themselves, particularly their resiliency. The ability to shift and see the positive parts of their story allows them to see themselves in a more positive light lending itself to opportunities for a stronger self in recovery. -Jayme Villanueva

    Robin Green

    The.mindful.writing exercise was difficult at first, it brought back a difficult time in my life when I left a Job of 31 years that I had always thought I would retire from.
    What I learned was that I could.move.forward and find a meaningful experience professionally and personally to complete my long career.
    Moving.forward this experience can be user with others to.showcase that whole plans change, people have the ability to move forward and make each new and perhaps unexpected experience.meaninhful

    Amy Mihill

    I enjoyed the mindful writing exercise. I have heard about the importance and benefits of mindful or free writing and oftentimes thought I should try it, but never did until this homework assignment. I was surprised by how quickly the time I set aside to write went by. I never really had considered the ways, skills or abilities I had used to get through my difficult experience. Instead, I just thought about how bad that particular time in my life was. I appreciated this exercise as I will be more likely to have discussions with clients about their own resiliency. The story about the daffodils was pretty powerful for me. It is not my job to “fix” or solve every problem a client experiences. Instead, my role is to make the path easier for them by helping to clear out the obstacles in the way of their being and doing whatever it is they are meant to be and do. I think this shift in my perspective takes pressure off of me too. I just recently spent time in the hospital after surgery. A nurse, I am sure very well intended and nice, reminded me of myself. She came into the room full of positivity and directing me to do a number of things I didn’t want to do. She told me that on this particular day of my recovery I needed to 1. Get up 2. Start taking pill form pain medication and 3. Go for a walk. I appreciated her positive attitude, but I knew intuitively, that what I needed to do for the day was too nap. I needed rest. I wondered, didn’t she know that I wanted to do all the things she was telling me to do? I just needed some time and to figure out the best way for me to get there. After dealing with the nurse and my own experiences, I was able to see how my approach to the clients that I work with could also be off-putting, some great ideas but the timing could be wrong. I considered how I might tone it down and ask them for ideas about how they thought the best way for them to reach their personal goals might look like.


    I have actually done mindful writing in the past with a fantastic counselor after an extremely difficult loss. I never had the opportunity to say goodbye to this person and she had me write a letter. She told me to just write everything I wanted to say and never got the chance to. It was extremely healing for me. As painful and life changing as my loss was, I had a son, grandson and mother who needed me so I had to focus on positives . I have often used mindful writing in my work as a substance abuse counselor When I worked in residential, I had the residents write a good bye letter to their drug of choice. It was very powerful

    Robert Hussey

    I struggle whenever free writing is suggested. It is too open-ended for me and I have the need to revise and analyze as I write, which defeats the purpose a bit. I prefer prompts or something such as guided imagery to provide a base and help guide my thoughts. However, free writing is also a sounding board for me if I don’t have someone else to talk to about regarding my thoughts and emotions. It is a way to release the thoughts and emotions and look at them in a different way on paper instead of keeping the thoughts and emotions swirling in my head. It is similar to making a pros and cons list. Almost always my perception of self is negative and pessimistic rather than positive and optimistic. It takes a lot of effort to change the wording to represent more strengths and opportunities. It is difficult recognizing one’s strengths and resiliency. It is helpful when someone else can point out your strengths. It feels empowering if one can recognize these strengths within themselves.

    Robin Green

    My general reaction to mindful writing was he silence at first followed by an ease.in how the thoughts flowed from me, thoughts that I long since felt were behind me.

    Resilience as my narrative is.more forefront n currently, sometimes we think we are going on day to day doing what has to be done when really often it takes.strength and courage to do the work we do and care for ourselves.

    I can apply this narrative to my work in a variety of ways, I work with folks going and old who are nearing the end of their lives to do with takes takes strength and often times a need to look at ones life and finish what’s unfinished,said what is unsaid,do what is not yet done.

    Stacy Ladakakos

    The mindful free writing exercise is a nice reminder to “Practice what you preach”. It is a resource that I have used frequently in the past. It is a means to get out a great deal of thoughts and to channel them onto paper in a meaningful way. It can be a challenge to not get caught up in the readability and grammar of the content. When this occurs I use this as insight into how the desire of perfectionism may apply to the current situation. It can be a powerful tool as most often there is some revelation in the content that has been written down. For this current exercise the revelation was the awareness of how beneficial free writing has been over the years and the awareness that I infrequently do so despite its usefulness. This led to an internal review of the number of activities that I have let slip or have become a burden due to the busy fast paced schedule that appears mandatory at this time. This prompted making time for some of those activities. Journaling and free writing has been a healing process for many of life obstacles. In past instances there are those moments that you surprise yourself in the content of what is written when doing so freely.

    A powerful use of writing is the ability to look back at challenges and difficult times with awareness and knowing of the resilience in the healing process.

    The exercise brought up the awareness and reoccurring theme or pattern of letting self care go ahead of other tasks. Noting that largely time for both is present but the lure of mindless activities can often override mindful exercises in this case free writing.

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