Homework Week 4 (Wellness and Recovery Promotion)

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    Kristen Erickson

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

    Watch this 14 minute TED Talk: Hearing Our Voices: Peer Support and Mental Illness by Stefanie Kaufman. Stephanie tells her own story of “mental illness,” how she was treated in a pathology-based system of care, and the importance of peer recovery support in her journey of recovery.




    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.

    • What are your general reactions to Stephanie’s personal narrative?
    • What are your thoughts on the difference between the medical model, pathology-based approach and a person-driven, recovery-oriented approach to helping as embodied by a peer recovery support approach that Stephanie describes in her story?
    • What are some strategies you have or would use to link consumers to peer recovery support services in your community and develop collaborative relationships with peer specialists?
    • Take a moment to reflect on the course material over the past four weeks and the new insights you have gained about wellness and recovery promotion. How do you envision bringing these new insights into your work with consumers?


    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 the course and complete the lesson: back to course

    Robin Green

    Stephanie’s video was powerful,I actually watched it.more than once, she seemed not be managing well despite the pressures of her illness college and family ANF appeared to be a very brave young woman.
    I have worked throughout my career in a vatiety of settings, and in doing so have seen some methods work better than others. I have had really good experiences connecting folks with NAMI through various groups and their warm.line, I currently have a niece struggling with severe depression and anxiety the warm.line has been of significance to her, while she has professional help the peer support has been a great help, one wonders if the reinforcement that there are better days ahead is of use.I also sit on a board of directors for a mental health agency these meetings.not.only focus.on the fiscal wellness of the agency, which is a significant factor in running , but well also interact with the consumers engaged in the agencies programs and strive to always have a consumer sitting on the board.
    This course has been interesting for me, while my work is with folks who are at the end of their lives I still see the need.for.knowledge on wellness and recovery,sometimes in the client I am.working with and also with their family members, people react differently to.the news of a loved ones life coming to an end, and.often need some guidance in positive methods of.coping.

    Amy Mihill

    Stephanie’s personal narrative was a pleasure to watch and very informative. She presented as articulate and was a good self-advocate, explaining that she is the authority on what kinds of help she feels would be of the most benefit to her as she works to meet her goals while also living with significant mental health health symptoms.

    I agree that the person driven, recovery orientated approach to recovery that Stephanie describes with the support of a peer is going to be more effective than the medical model. I believe that the person looking for support is able to establish a more trusting relationship with someone who has “been there” and found their way through similar situations and life experiences. If the person offering support and/or suggestions seems to have shared experiences with the person needing support, the peer’s concern, understanding, advice, and suggestions are probably viewed as being more credible. The person in need of support is probably then more like to be honest about their experiences and MH symptoms, not feel as judged, and may be more likely to take suggestions based on the peer’s experiences and successes with recovery.

    This course has taught me to spend more time talking with clients about their past successes when helping them to consider future goals. I am going to be making an effort to help clients break their goals down into smaller and more manageable action steps that are more easily attained. I think too that this last lesson reinforced for me my believe in the power of 12 step peer lead groups.


    I loved Stephanie’s ability to share her real story. She was vulnerable and honest and provided an opportunity to hear the shifting story of working within the mental health and SUD field. For so many years the focus has been on providing support and “managing symptoms/illness” and with the inclusion of peers it seems as though there is a real movement towards empowerment and believing truly that those who struggle are the expert in their own recovery and have a tremendous capacity to support others who share similar struggles.
    I am so grateful that as time has passed we are moving more away from this “power over” model of treatment and learning more to sit with people while they write their own destiny. As we step out of that “expert” role and allow opportunities for connection among peers we are creating a truly compassionate community for people to heal.
    Here at the treatment program we spend a great deal of time focusing on the connection to others as a means of support and to learn from one another better coping skills and grace for the journey of recovery. We work to expose the clients to peers as part of our model and encourage communication that involves compassionate listening versus giving unsolicited advice. Creating a space that is safe for all to share regardless of experiences allows community members to see themselves in one another and find comradery in the journey to include all of the highs and lows.
    For me, the most impactful part of the training was the focus on peer connection. I have been working for some time to implement a peer structure that is sustainable and offers the opportunity for social capital that is so important in the recovery process. I also think that the focus on development of goals that are truly generated by the client and not as a means of satisfying licensing requirements allows an opportunity for connection between counselor and client, as well as meaningful goals that the client believes will have a positive impact on their recovery was helpful as well.


    It was a great video. I was impressed with how honest and open she was

    I work in MMT and this can be very challenging as patients come into treatment when they are at such a low point in their lives, that they have a very hard time getting past the “not using” vs. recovery. Once they get on a stable dose and start getting their lives back, they tend to forget the other things that they should be doing in order to continuously improve their quality of life. A lot of patients have had bad experiences with 12 step programs so the idea of a recovery coach and peer recovery would be great for them and I will definitely be encouraging them to utilize those resources.

    Robert Hussey

    Stephanie had the strength to describe her experiences. Over time Stephanie realized what she needed when the right model to fit her needs was presented. The pathology-based approach focuses on the problem. Recovery-oriented approach focuses on the person. Setbacks could be seen as detrimental within the pathology-based approach and the individual would feel shame and failure. Whereas setbacks within the recovery-oriented approach setbacks would not be seen as detrimental and the individual would be encouraged to try again even amidst the setback. Having material available for information and potential referrals would be helpful for information gathering and sharing. The individual seeking help is the expert of their own life. The individual seeking help might see the benefit of having a mentor or peer to speak with who has already gone through the process of getting help. The community approach might be seen as beneficial by the individual for collaboration and support.

    Stacy Ladakakos

    The authenticity of Stephanie’s experience articulating what helps and what can hurt, even if well intentioned stands out to me. I am appreciative of the discussion related to the stigma as well as misinformed beliefs centering around individuals experiencing severe and persistent symptoms as being unable to participate in a higher level of education.

    Person centered recovery, not only informed consent but informed decision making in personal treatment and recovery has increasingly become the focus of a growing number of treatment models and being encouraged in an increasing number of professional settings. The approach of maintaining an individual in the center of their personal treatment and recovery continues to feel like a natural course of treatment.

    I learned of a few new resources I was unfamiliar with in this section. There are a few manners of introducing strategies to link consumers to peer recovery services. These can range from posting information out for individuals to review, offering to support attendance, reviewing interests and past experience and trouble shooting any possible barriers while exploring any hesitation. Providing clear guidance on how to obtain the information should it be something the individual would like to explore at a later time. I work in a residential setting so additionally having peer groups talk within the program has been coordinated on occasion.

    I found this course very useful and of benefit to my work for not only individuals we provide services for but additionally for staff. I have save all of the links for ongoing exploration and use. The youtube videos were well chosen. Thank you.

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