RECOVERY AND WELLNESS in MENTAL ILLNESS
Creating Wellness – Mary Ellen Copeland
Précis: This three-part series is based on a workshop Mary Ellen Copeland and presents simple,
effective, and non-invasive self-help strategies for those dealing with emotional, behavioral, or
psychiatric challenges, how to get well and stay well.
• Key Concepts for Mental Health (Video No. 2314.1) 52 min
Mary Ellen Copeland introduces the underlying principles of her recovery model. Lively and
insightful discussions with participants include: hope, personal responsibility, education, self-
advocacy, support, health care, and medication.
• The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) (Video No. 2314.2) 32 min
W.R.A.P. is the acronym for a simple system for monitoring and managing emotional and
psychiatric symptoms, as well as avoiding unhealthy habits or behavior patterns. In this session,
Ms. Copeland discusses with her group the steps to developing a "WRAP". In order to arrest
symptoms of relapse and support efforts toward remission and recovery, participants learn and
share personal strategies for dealing with threats to wellness.
• The Wellness Toolbox (Video No 2314.3) 28 min
The concept of "wellness tools" consists of simple actions that anyone can apply to feel better
and to stay well. Participants discuss ways to create a personal "toolbox," a set of practices to
use in times of unusual stress or increased symptoms. The workshop is organized into various
topics including knowing when to reaching out for support, peer counseling, focusing, relaxation
exercises, and stress reduction, and maintaining a journal.
Crisis Survival Skills, 2003
• Distracting and Self-Soothing (Video No.2350.1) 57 min
Marsha Linehan is noted for her work on Borderline Personality Disorder and this group of
instructional programs were developed with that in mind – users will note there are wider
applications. Some causes of emotional distress have no simple remedy, or cannot be changed
at all. Most crises are short-term crises but what we do about them and how we do it can affect
our ability to get through them. This video provides in a low-key patient manner a set of crisis
survival skills that are simple, easy to remember, and readily to put into practice. Part One
identifies a crisis, and ways to treat oneself that help get through it more comfortably.
• Improving the Moment and Pros & Cons (Video No. 2350.2) 48 min
When a crisis happens, great difference between "getting through a crisis" and bearing so much
pain, indecision, and anxiety that the crisis masters you. This part of the series provides more
practical, tested self-training methods that can help survive personal crises. Help to control the
moment can be simple; using a pencil and piece of paper to discover insights that forestall
reactions and urges that could hurt instead of help.
• From Suffering to Freedom: Practicing Reality Acceptance (Video No. 2350.3) 50 min
In witnessing others react to painful life events, some it seems appear to be strengthened by
pain, while others are literally destroyed by suffering. Linehan outlines the reason for different
outcomes and explains four possible responses to potentially devastating pain. Three skills are
presented that have enabled ordinary people to cope with extraordinary problems. Reality
Acceptance demonstrates readily learnable skills and proven techniques for dealing with life
circumstances and happenings that “shouldn’t be,” but are.
• This One Moment: Skills for Everyday Mindfulness (Video No. 2350.4) 55 min
We escape the present moment through insecurities and fears, dwelling in the past or worrying
about the future. Through seeking comfort from old habits and behaviors, our uneasiness and
discomfort linger as a background to our lives. In this final video of the series, Linehan present
techniques of Dialectical Behavior Therapy an amalgam of Eastern and Western practical wisdom
for finding joy, self-understanding, and freedom by living fully and consciously in the present. With
anecdotes, exercises, and demonstration, Linehan offers step-by-step, six fundamental
mindfulness skills that prepare the foundation for a “Wise Mind.”
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Different from You: Unfulfilled Promises to the Mentally Ill (Video No. 1624) 2002; 60 min
Audience: adult; post-secondary students
Synopsis: In the 1970's there were 35,000 people in California mental institutions. Today almost
all have been discharged into the community, but the promise of services to help them re-
integrate into society has turned out to be an empty one. As elsewhere in the United States,
people with psychiatric disorders make up a majority of the homeless. Milt Kogan, a family
physician at the City of Angels Hospital in Los Angeles, is responsible for the medical
management of mentally ill patients who are living on the streets or in the city's inadequate board
and care facilities. On his medical rounds, he tends to the needs of clients with schizophrenia,
bipolar disorder and other major mental illnesses. The testimony of the mentally ill homeless
illustrates how patients cope with their symptoms, as well as with drug abuse and social stigma.
Kogan also visits some successful self-help programs as well as board and care facilities.
Interviews with mental health professionals offer additional perspective.
Inside Outside: Building a Meaningful Life after the Hospital
(Video and DVD No. 2607) 2004; 68 min in two segments
Audience: general adult
Synopsis: Former psychiatric patients and filmmakers Pat Deegan and Terry Strecker put
together this film depicting the lives of eight people with significant histories of institutionalization.
As they transition from nursing homes and psychiatric hospitals into the community, the film puts
forth the message that recovery and a better life in the community are possibilities even for
people who are viewed as the most chronic or impaired. Following is a twenty-minute
introduction about the people in the film and the process of transition. Pat Deegan discusses the
film before an audience of people with psychiatric disabilities at the Pilgrim State Hospital. The
creation of the film is presented within the context of the United States Supreme Court “Olmstead
Decision.” Each of the individuals featured in the film are introduced, including some information
about their psychiatric histories. Deegan then introduces her concept of four inside-outside stages
that people in the film go through as they learn to make the transition from institutions and adapt
to actually living in the outside community. The Introduction provides the viewer with information
to engage groups in discussions about topics related to recovery and community integration.
Introducing TJ (Video No. 1400) 2000; 27 min
Synopsis: Therapeutic Jurisprudence represents an approach to meeting the needs of mentally ill
people confronting a judicial system which frequently sends them to jail for minor offences when
they would be better served by referrals to mental health programs. Featuring Judge Ginger
Lerner-Wren of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, this video examines the first Mental Health Court in the
U.S. This video focuses on “TJ” as an example of how the system works. Under the judge’s
direction, people suffering from severe mental disorders are separated out from the general
criminal population and given referrals to therapy, rehabilitation, and housing.
The Interpretation of Dreams (Video No. 2304) 1996; 52 min
Audience: general adult
Synopsis: Donald Sutherland narrates this "Great Books" overview of dream interpretation
focusing largely on the work of Sigmund Freud. Using dramatic re-enactments and a collage of
dream narratives the development of dream theory as described in Freud's book The
Interpretation of Dreams is described. Excerpts from the Alfred Hitchcock film Spellbound act as
a springboard to the idea of wish fulfilment in dream. Freud used the expression "the Royal
Road" as the way to understanding the unconscious mind. Freud's classic dream of "Irma" gave
focus to his understanding of meaning in dreams and how this meaning is disguised in manifest
imagery. Robert Altman speaks of his film to be Three Women that arose in dream. A general
biographical treatment of Freud is presented especially his family and sometime stormy
professional relations with Jung, Fliess and Breuer. Other parts of psychoanalytic theory are
discussed including the theories of seduction and infantile sexuality. A current perspective is
presented on sleep studies and psychotherapy. The concluding synopsis reviews the
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contributions of Freud and is stated: "we make sense of our past because we need to be more
free in the present to manage conflict."
Journey of Journeys (Video No. 2271) 1993; 52 min
Synopsis: Starting off by presenting dream analysis from a Jungian perspective, imagery,
symbolism and narrative are used here to begin a consideration of the life journey. A number of
people here present their dreams and talk of their life situation, which often was in crisis in some
way. Connections are made between the dream imagery and other symbolic devices with the
process of psychic growth.
Opposite Action: Changing Emotions You Want To Change (Video No. 1465) 2000; 26 min
Audience: health professionals; BPD clients
Synopsis: This program, Opposite Action, was developed specifically for the use of clients in
therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder. Marsha Linehan narrates the step-by-step process of
Dialectical Behaviour Therapy (DBT) for people who wish to change specific emotional states.
Somewhat similar to a cognitive behavioural model, Opposite Action requires the client to
approach the feared or troublesome situation and learn to let go of inappropriate emotional
responses. Other skills to be learned are mindfulness - focussing awareness in the moment;
interpersonal effectiveness - assertiveness; distress tolerance – self-soothing techniques to help
avoid dysfunctional reactions.
Pat Deegan, The Politics of Memory
(Video and DVD No. 1627) 2004; 55 min
Audience: psychiatric survivors; health professionals; general adult
Synopsis: The Politics of Memory, Pat Deegan states "was created for consumers/survivors who
are, or who would like to be, leaders in the movement for justice for people with psychiatric
disabilities." She will argue that to be an effective leader, one must know the history of the patient
in the mental health system. Crucial for her is who gets to tell the story and who is silent. This is
what she calls the "politics of memory". Pat photographed, researched, wrote and narrated this
film to challenge conventional accounts the history of mental health services. Deegan argues that
story has often ignored the experience, voice and perspective of people receiving services, the
patients. This voice is heard from first person accounts dating back to 1436, to messages written
on the back of old asylum postcards; from initials carved on the walls of seclusion rooms, to pleas
for help embroidered onto state hospital sheets; and from self-published first-person accounts of
asylum injustice, to organized protest.
Pat Deegan, Recovery: The Experience and the Evidence
(Video and DVD No. 1628) 2004; 92 min
Audience: psychiatric survivors; general adult
Synopsis: Pat Deegan speaks here to an audience of consumers and mental health providers.
Drawing from both from her personal experience of recovery from schizophrenia, as well as from
her research, she discusses key turning points in the recovery process and describes useful self-
help strategies. She makes the point that recovery is not the privilege of a few exceptional
people, and reviews research literature which shows a majority of those diagnosed with major
mental disorders will recover.
The Treatment of Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults (Video No. 2198.6) 1995; 27 min
Audience: general adult
Synopsis: This introductory overview from “The Doctor is In series” contains client interviews,
discussions of biofeedback, medication and other therapies, with background information from
psychiatric professionals. The fact that ADD diagnosis is ten times the rate in Europe is given
We Don't Live Under Normal Circumstances (Video No. 1485) 1999; 59 min
Audience: adults, psychiatric survivors
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Synopsis: Created to look at the dominant view in North America that mental illness is mostly
caused by biological or genetic disorders, this video chronicles a three-day discussion group on
social factors in depression. This diverse group of six initially starts the discussion with
depression and branches into suicide and social isolation. Because the group is culturally
diverse, issues of race, sexuality, gender and power relations figure prominently, as do
medication and confinement. One participant points out that when an "invisible person suddenly
make a lot of sound" they run the risk of being treated as deviant. The argument with psychiatry
is exemplified in the DSM that when first published contained sixty disorders, the fourth edition
recognised 374, an attempt it is suggested to sharply narrow the bounds of "normal" behaviour.
A follow up conclusion closes the program. Filmed two year later, each member of the group has
enlarged perspectives and has taken different paths in recovery. One remarks that he measures
his journey by the compass rather than the clock. "Knowing where I am going is more important
that how long it takes."
Understanding The Dream World: Moving Beyond Freud (Video No. 2305) 2305; 13 min
Audience: general adult
Synopsis: This Jim Lehrer "News Hour" briefly examines dream interpretation from the classical
psychoanalytic approach of Sigmund Freud and the current biological model of brain function.
Interviewer Terence Smith speaks with psychoanalyst Robert Pyles and psychobiologist Robert
Stickgold. Each perspective is presented and areas of controversies are addressed as Smith
attempts to encourage debate. There is in fact a great deal of concurrence and hope for a future
where greater understanding of the human mind will provide a synthesis of biology and
Spirituality in Mental Health Care (Video No. 1598) 2003; 26min
Audience: general adult; health care workers
Synopsis: This program is an introduction to the reasons for incorporating spirituality into mental
health care. Clients in care may already have a belief system with a spiritual dimension that can
help nurture mental health. The impact of illness on the person’s whole way of life, including the
spirit, is explored.
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