Homework Week 2 (Wellness and Recovery Promotion)

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  • #20822
    Kristen Erickson
    Keymaster

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

    Exercises 

    Pick one domain from the Strengths Assessment Domains and Questions that interests you. Answer 2-3 of the questions associated with that domain that you think will help you identify the skills, abilities, competencies, talents, and strengths of your lived experience in this domain. If you don’t self-identify as being in recovery, substitute “in your life” or “wellness” as appropriate in the questions.

     

    Strengths Assessment Domains and Questions
    Home and daily living:

    Tell me about your current living situation.

    What do you like about your current living situation?

    What would you say makes this living situation a home for you?

    What are the most important daily living activities that you engage in that contribute to your home life?

     

    Financial:

    How have you supported yourself (and your family) financially in the past?

    What is important to you regarding your current financial situation?

    Where would you like yourself (and your family) to be financially in 5 or 10 years?

     

    Employment, education, and specialized knowledge:

    What kinds of formal or informal educational activities or job training have you completed that would help you get a job, return to work, or get a promotion?

    What interested you in this kind of learning experience?

    What kinds of formal or informal educational activities or job training would you like to participate in in the future?

    What kinds of jobs have you had in the past and what kinds of job skills do you have related to those jobs?

    What is the best job you ever had? What made it the best job?

    What is your ideal job? What would make it your ideal job?

     

    Supportive relationships:

    Tell me about the people (and pets) in your life who support you in your recovery.

    How does (name the person or pet) help you through rough times?

    What does (name the person or pet) appreciate about your efforts to maintain recovery?

    What kinds of social connections and activities support your recovery?

    What do you mean by family?

    How is family support important to you in your recovery?

     

    Health & wellness:    

    What are some of the strategies you use to manage your health issues?

    What does wellness mean to you?

    What activities help you reduce stress; feel physically, emotionally, and mentally well; and support your recovery?

    What social connections/activities help you feel physically, emotionally, and mentally well?

    What are some ways you imagine you could improve your health and enhance wellness (as you understand it)?

     

    Leisure and recreation:         

    What do you do for fun?

    How do you play?

    Tell me about some of your favorite activities that help you relax.

    Tell me about the activities that help you enhance your social life.

    What are some of your favorite creative pursuits?

     

    Spirituality and culture:        

    How are spiritual or religious beliefs, values, customs, and community important to you?

    What brings meaning and purpose to your life?

    What sustains you during difficult or stressful times?

    What kinds of cultural customs, rituals, values, and beliefs are important to you and support your recovery?

    Tell me about some of the spiritual or religious practices or activities that are important to you and support your recovery.

    Tell me about how being a part of a spiritual or religious group or community might be important to you and your recovery.

    Source: Rapp, C. A., & Goscha, R. J. (2012). The strengths model: A recovery-oriented approach to mental health services (3rd ed.). Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.

     

    Now reflect on the hopes and dreams for growth or change in this domain of your life. Identify one hope or goal and do a 5 minute mindful write (i.e. write down your thoughts without editing) on how the strengths you have identified can help you achieve a recovery or wellness goal in your own life.

     


    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 this exercise of identifying strengths and reflecting on how a strength can help you achieve a recovery or wellness goal?
    2. What did you discover about your own strengths that might have been previously hidden from view?
    3. How would you or have you used a strengths assessment to help consumers identify their strengths and uncover their hopes and dreams?

     

    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

    #35818
    Diana James
    Participant

    My general reaction to most of the questions asked in each domain, reflects my own style in counseling. I was very privileged in the long internship I received, with 2 mentors/ supervisors. One was a Bowen systems/ Narrative minister/ counselor, and the other was a Jungian Psychiatrist. I had been trained/ educated to think that my own journey, reflections, individuation, and mature growth was the grounding from which I could best help my clients in their journey to wellness; to discover their own strengths and purpose in life, as they moved closer to their own well being and recovery.
    My journey helped me understand that my strengths were shaped by my life experiences, and the understanding of those experiences within the context of my family, culture and choices I made. I learned to listen differently, and ask different questions. I became a philosopher and curious about my clients and who they were-what shaped them, asking about the stories of their lives-what moved them, what gave them purpose, and how they expressed their pain and joy.

    Helping clients identify their strengths often takes time. One has to build the therapeutic relationship, to build trust and respect. Sometimes, if a client is not able to articulate or acknowledge that this or that is a strength, I will ask “what would your best friend, partner, parent (whoever is appropriate) say about you-what do you think he or she would say they value in you?

    #35841
    Patty Morini
    Participant

    My experience has been to approach strengths with respect and care. Like some of the reading above suggests, focusing too much on strengths and dreams can cast a shadow on recovery work. I can easily rely on my upbringing as a solid foundation of respect and love (strength) and totally ignore my vulnerability and times when I really need to stop just “looking on the bright side”. Some people did not come into the world with that type of safety and support. It takes time to even help someone understand that what they have to say is real and real important.

    As I think about it, strengths are useful as grist for the mill when I work on my own healing. I can have a whole bunch of YUCK in the mill and if I don’t mix it up with strengths, I’ll get stuck in the YUCK. If I apply this to work with clients, it is like inviting them to practice showing up for themselves using whatever strength they can identify. It might be a strength outside their ‘personality traits’ like a distracting activity. Not always going for the insight card has been a lesson I’ve learned through the years.

    As an art therapist by training, I have used fine arts, music, poetry, movement as a tool to give voice or make something visual when it might be hard to describe in conversation. Realizing with art, for example, that the strength is NOT the finished product…but the courage to even put anything down on paper and tear it up if the moment calls. The whole phoenix rising is an analogy that I think about a lot. Even when someone is in the flames, we can work together for them to identify what strengths they have to put something around the fire to prevent it from spreading. Have you ever experienced a client’s “aha” moment when you’ve said something like “wait…did i just see you take a deep breath just now”? It is an honor to behold when holding up a mirror helps someone see strength in their own reflection.

    #35890
    Canswim
    Participant

    Generally, I find and feel it difficult to indicate and express my own strengths whereas it can be much easier to see and explain strengths within the individuals we work with daily.
    I discovered that I am a good active listener and do provide insight, somewhat, positive to assisting clients in seeing or experiencing something different from their own perspectives.

    Something I have started doing more in my professional then earlier is now is I give situational examples that I have either experienced or colleagues have.

    #35891
    Carrie Baker
    Participant

    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 thought this exercise was a good way to reflect more in depth on identifying personal strengths and supports. It was a good reminder of who/what my personal supports are, and why they are important to me and my wellness.

    What did you discover about your own strengths that might have been previously hidden from view?
    My own strengths that were identified included loyalty to friends and family, being authentic, trying to be non-judgmental and having forgiveness and/or trying to look at situations from others perspectives. These are strengths that I do not think about often, by but by thinking about the questions that the assessment asked, it made me think about why I have the supports that I do, and how they have become an important part of my life and wellness. Most of the people I identified as being supports for me, also tend to have a lot of similar values that I have as well.

    How would you or have you used a strengths assessment to help consumers identify their strengths and uncover their hopes and dreams?
    I have used it in finding out more about their interests to incorporate that in how we approach things in session. I have also used it as a tool to “break the ice” and give them and/or their families a chance to reflect on some of the positive things happening. I like the other assessments given here, and the examples of how to expand on strengths based questions, and cover different areas that I have not thought about before.

    #35892
    Nicolyn Brown
    Participant

    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?

    It was harder than I thought it was going to be. Each of these questions has significant depth to it and I found I needed quite a bit more time than expected to give adequate reflection and identify a strength to build on.

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

    I loved the “how do you play” question. As adults I think we often feel the need to produce something even when it comes to recreation (like completing a puzzle, writing, painting, achieving an exercise goal). This question gives permission for leisure and fun to really be about the process, not an end result.

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

    I usually start with a simple “tell me about a time when things went well.” Just this simple reframing of questions about a person’s lived experiences really changes the tone and fosters engagement. I’ve had unexpected success in asking formal and informal supports (when able) this question about a client. Others often see the strengths we fail to see in ourselves and it can lead to tangible goals and next steps.

    #35912
    katie Varney
    Participant

    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?
    By taking the time to think about and jot down my strengths in wellness, I realized the growth that has occurred over the last few years. Wellness means a great deal to me, and living a full, energized life is something I take seriously. My awareness of change and change moving in the direction that is valuable to me, is a motivator. Sometimes, I don’t stop to think about the tiny little changes, and yet when you compile it all together its kind of amazing!!

    2. What did you discover about your own strengths that might have been previously hidden from view? Again, by identifying some of the small behavioral changes, I realized the value of those little tiny steps. It can be so overwhelming to think about giant changes or looking at the end results. But little baby steps that lead to bigger steps that eventually lead to much bigger changes, is amazing to discover. I have the strength to make little changes, it feels hopeful and manageable.

    3. How would you or have you used a strengths assessment to help consumers identify their strengths and uncover their hopes and dreams? Yes, I like the example of asking the client, “what has worked for you the past”? This statement allows the client to think about ways they have managed and builds on strengths they already have.

    #35915
    emilygarland
    Participant

    I found this exercise helpful in grounding myself in my own awareness of my strengths at this current moment in time. I recognized that they are different in reality than in practice and my actions presently do not fully reflect my perception or past behavior. As an example, I recently started a new position within a new company doing work that is familiar in some ways (leadership) and yet completely new in others (oversight of hospice care not psychiatric care). I often believe that I am aware of my strengths with regard to health and wellness and leisure and recreation and that I would, if asked, be able to describe them without much difficulty. When completing this exercise, however, I found that I have not been as attentive to these areas as I believed and that some of my “go to” strengths were not currently being employed at this moment- a casualty of dwindling time, energy and emotional resources. This exercise was useful in illustrating how this tool can help one to assess multiple life domains at a given point even if an individual feels certain that they “know” how they are doing or where their strengths “stand”. The opportunity for reflection allowed me to have valuable insight that I can use to reevaluate or reprioritize my actions and responses. I now have a more clear sense of the fact that I might benefit from attending to my own leisure and wellness activities as I move through this time of learning and growth. This awareness affords me the opportunity to assess whether changes are warranted and, if so, how to approach this and where to invest my energy. This same process would be valuable for a consumer and I have used similar assessments in the past. At times when one finds it hard to recognize strengths I often try to link them tangibly to a specific event or time that they identified as successful. Making this association can help them to access pieces of the puzzle even if they do not readily come to mind.

    #35924
    Natalie Lonstein
    Participant

    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.

    #35929
    Julia Foster
    Participant

    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?
    the language use feels very intentional and thoughtful. I personally found the section I picked to be challenging to answer because it is not an area I have put a lot of thought into. I was trained to use strength based language in assessment work and find creating plans from strengths vs deficits/’weakness” it allows the individual to feel empowered to make the change and encourages thinking about goals in a different perspective.
    What did you discover about your own strengths that might have been previously hidden from view?
    I found that I am more limited in how I spend my free time and how I structure my time than I thought, I know this is a strengths based questions but I feel like I spent a lot of time talking to other people about self care and wellness but at the end of the day I need to do better for myself. shifting the narrative to strength language: I am a great advocate for others.
    How would you or have you used a strengths assessment to help consumers identify their strengths and uncover their hopes and dreams?
    This is helpful to just begin a dialogue about goals and identifying small steps for change. I think anyone who has been in the ‘system’ or felt marginalized may see this as a challenge because it changes the conversation to look at what is good v the “what’s wrong with you” narrative that many often experience when seeking treatment and services. allowing someone to be thoughtful in how they may want their future to look may allow them to feel more in control of their life and the potential outcome of treatment or the ability to make change.

    #36039
    Kate Stearns Luce
    Participant

    1) I appreciate this activity as I often engage in identifying strengths both in my own life and in my work with others. I think we often are so encumbered by the challenges we face, that we forget we already possess a number of valuable strengths that have served us well in the past. Thinking about how an identified strength can help achieve a wellness goal is something I focus on in my work and personal life. I love to have discussions around identified strengths and then help map out what part of holistic recovery does that identified strength support.
    2) As for my own “hidden” strengths, I found that I have a genuine joy and excitement about life and while I know this intrinsically I often forget that this is a strength that I use daily to help maintain a sense of hope and awe in the power of change.
    3) Identifying strengths helps increase confidence in one’s ability to meet their goals within themselves and helps people realize we are the expert on ourselves and we can help shape and change our outcomes.

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