To whom it may concern,
I was until a couple of days ago, a participant in Marlene’s WRAP Class. I would like to say, first off, that she is a great person, and so was her trainee Elizabeth (Liz). They both had good attitudes, and offered a lot of insight and comments that apply directly to my life, and had what it takes to understand and relate to people. I am grateful for the time I had with them, and what I was able to share with them. I gave a great deal of my time, energy and thoughts to the class, and I promise you that those two facilitators know who I am, and notice now that I am not there.
With that in mind, I’d like to say that I am very dissatisfied with the curriculum the WRAP class promotes. I was only able to join after session 2, so I did not take lesson 1 until this Wednesday, after completing 80% of the program. My interpretation of lesson 1 (and later verified by peers and coordinators), was that: completing the WRAP is one large step towards RECOVERY: a word and idea indicating a final, unchanging state of permanent cessation of the symptoms of mental illness, and quite possibly, relief from the need for medications as well. Recovery is an EXCLUSIVE word, and it does not apply as a generic principal in treating the extreme variety found in the world of mental illnesses (Why is your DSM IV so thick?). I find it hard to believe that an organization that advances the idea of treating and caring for the mentally ill could be so ignorant, uninformed and subjective.
The failure of this program is that it attempted to conjure false hope from a philosophical and then factual representation of recovery as an achievable concrete goal. Promoting this idea, as done in your program, is wrong. I will never be fully “recovered” from bipolar disorder. My brain, like any living piece of organic matter, grows and changes every day. The disease that affects the re-uptake of neurochemicals in my brain WILL CHANGE OVER TIME as the organ grows, and the majority of mental health patients NEED TO CHANGE THEIR MEDS BECAUSE THEY OFTEN BECOME LESS EFFECTIVE OR STOP WORKING ALTOGETHER. Where in “recovery” do you talk about that? Where are the people who DON’T ever make it to your unrealistic idea of “recovery?” What happens to them when they are crushed by disappointment over their failure, because YOU TAUGHT THEM THEY COULD FULLY RECOVER AND NOW THEY STILL HAVE SYMPTOMS. Are you ever cured of Down’s Syndrome? Color-blindness?
The thesis of WRAP is flawed, exclusive and fundamentally incorrect. If you are serious about getting people to deal with their mental illness, you can’t go feeding them this information about “recovery.” The word you should be using is “perseverance,” because the struggle for good mental health is A CONSTANT STRUGGLE, and if lapses in vigilance occur, mental illness becomes worse, slowly but surely weakening quality of life. It requires a level of energy you seem afraid to reveal to these clients, because most of them won’t go for it, because it’s too hard. A real message SHOULD be hard to take, because NOTHING WORTH ANYTHING COMES EASY.
The format of the class makes the already limited information you disperse almost entirely useless, and the experience of enduring the 2 hour sessions, wholly frustrating. Either: have a lecture with slides, notes and explanations, or make it a group sharing class with some topics and discussion. Not both. The group becomes a melee of suggestions, inane comments and the nattering of those who enjoy hearing themselves “share” about the many things they do or have done with their lives. It’s not a therapy session, it’s a class where learning is done. You need someone in there who can get control. Right now, your lessons suffer because of “sharing” by participants consuming great stretches of time, and then people are hurt or offended when they are asked to stop talking so the next slide can be covered. You don’t get the information out there, and you alienate group members from their coordinators at the same time.
You want to make a difference? Get control of this program. It’s a joke, right now. Absolute waste of time, and I would not recommend it to anyone.You need an instructor who can get a message through to these people. We are in there for help. I felt not-helped. I felt misused, and as though I had been tricked into giving your program my time and energy. I bet I’m not alone, as was indicated by others in the group who spoke out with me when I called the program out on Wednesday.
I’m a UCSB English major, college graduate, amateur scientist and part-time scholar. I am charismatic, opinionated, caring and a truly honest and straightforward person. I am educated, savvy, very funny and kind. I think you people are doing REAL HARM with WRAP; sending that “recovery” message out to the mentally ill. It’s garbage.
I would prefer a dignified response from someone in a position to comprehend the nature of the problem. Your feedback is greatly appreciated on this important community matter.