Project Enable is a BPSR (biopsychosocial recovery) clinic that works with adults with a severe mental health diagnosis. I interned with the TAY (transitional age youth) program. One of the main components of this program is their TAY group. This is an open-ended group that is specifically for TAYs to teach them independent living skills, coping skills and provide them with peer support.
As a facilitator of this group, it was my job to provide discussion topics and create a safe, comfortable environment for the group members. During the spring semester, some of the group members requested a more structured curriculum to learn to identify their triggers, better manage symptoms and develop coping techniques in order to implement the independent living skills they have learned. My supervisor allowed me to put together this curriculum and I jumped on the opportunity to use RecoverMe, a workbook created by SAOL Project, an agency we visited while in Ireland during the summer 2014 study aboard trip. This agency works with females who have addiction problems and provides them support and guidance to utilize their strengths in order to reach and maintain sobriety. This workbook is an 8 week curriculum assisting clients to reach sobriety and teach them coping skills. Although it was written to work with addition, the workbook is diverse and unique; it can be tailored to work with any population.
I created a 4 week curriculum focusing on 4 different topics by combining sections from multiple modules to fit our participants’ needs. Week one’s focus was on identifying both positive and negative emotions and their triggers. Week two, participants focused on automatic and negative thoughts. Week three was coping skills in real life situations and week four focused on goals and time management. The participants engaged in open discussions sharing personal experiences and used worksheets to create a visual each week.
I received positive feedback from the participants stating they enjoyed the 4 week curriculum. They felt they learned a lot about identifying what triggers their symptoms and how to utilize coping skills. It was also a positive experience for many of them because they were able to share their struggles while receiving feedback from each other. Participants shared that they liked that topics touched on areas they weren’t aware of. Participants especially enjoyed automatic thoughts because they did not know what they were but it provided them insight to how to identify and cope with them. They also enjoyed the use of the worksheets as it provided them a visual representation of what they wanted to change.
Overall, the workbook was well received and a very useful tool to have. I want to thank Barry Costello, the writer and creator of RecoverMe, Gary Broderick, the director of SAOL Project and everyone at SAOL Project for allowing us into your agency and providing us with this amazing resource. If you would like to access the RecoverMe workbook, it can be downloaded for free at http://www.saolproject.ie.
Jacquie Hernandez is an MSW student.