Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP)

The Wellness Recovery Action Plan (often known as WRAP) is a tool for managing your health and wellness. It is founded on the idea of self-determination and offers a set of structured strategies that individuals can use to create personalized wellness systems.

Similar to holistic therapy, WRAP doesn’t focus on just one aspect of your well-being--it helps you create and maintain systems for managing mental, social, physical, and spiritual health.

WRAP occurs in a peer-led groups, in which everyone works together to form their own plans for wellness and recovery from mental health symptoms. It’s designed to focus on the individual and help you determine--and work toward--your own personalized goals.

What can the Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) help with?

WRAP is designed to be useful to anyone looking to increase their own well-being. In particular, it can be helpful for a wide range of mental health concerns, including:

Does the Wellness Recovery Action Plan work?

WRAP has been certified as an evidence-based mental health treatment by the United States Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Some studies have suggested that it leads to positive outcomes including improved self-care, fewer psychiatric symptoms, and more positive thinking.

However, some critics have noted that there is not yet enough evidence to know for sure that WRAP is helpful for most people.

How does the Wellness Recovery Action Plan work?

WRAP is based on the idea that you understand your mental health and overall wellness better than anyone else. You’ll work with others in peer groups to create your WRAP, but the idea is that you’ll be more able to create and maintain positive habits if you develop your own individualized plan.

This approach to mental health emphasizes developing hope, taking personal responsibility, and learning to ask for help as key components of ongoing wellness. It also relies on the idea that becoming more educated about mental health leads to more successful recovery.

How often are Wellness Recovery Action Plan sessions held?

WRAP is a very structured form of therapy. Its group sessions generally occur every week. Each group usually has 10-15 people in it.

How long does treatment using the Wellness Recovery Action Plan last?

WRAP groups meet for 8 to 12 weeks in total. However, some group members also stay in touch after the formal sessions end in order to provide ongoing support to each other.

How are Wellness Recovery Action Plan sessions structured?

The exact structure of WRAP sessions is up to the group members, since they are peer-led--no one in the group is in charge of everyone else.

That said, WRAP session do cover standard material over the course of the sessions. Each person in the group learns to include the following components in their individual plan:

  1. Wellness toolkit: This is a list of specific wellness tools that you can use as needed. This might include activities such as reaching out to friends, creative work, relaxation and mindfulness practices, and physical exercise.
  2. Daily maintenance plans: Your WRAP will include daily practices you plan to use to support your personal wellness.
  3. Triggers and stressors: Part of WRAP is learning to identify the things that tend to cause you trouble.
  4. Warning signs: You’ll learn how to keep an eye out for your own personal signs that you might need to seek support.
  5. Support networks: Each person’s WRAP includes plans for connecting with supportive friends, family, and peers.
  6. Crisis plan: You’ll make plans for how to cope if a crisis does occur, as well as what you’ll do after the crisis is over.

What happens in a typical Wellness Recovery Action Plan session?

Peer facilitators are trained to use a variety of tools to lead the group in the WRAP process. All WRAP groups are unique, but some of the activities and exercises you’ll encounter include:

  • Discussion: Talking about your challenges and plans for your individual WRAP is a key part of the process.
  • Education: You might learn more about mental health conditions and symptoms, as well as tools for working toward recovery and ongoing wellness.
  • Resource-sharing: Peer groups often share wellness strategies and recommend helpful resources to one another.
  • Practicing new tools: As a group, you might practice wellness strategies such as meditation, focusing exercises, journaling, and stress reduction techniques.
  • Peer support: Simply learning to rely on others for support– and to support them as well--is at the core of WRAP.

What should I look for in a Wellness Recovery Action Plan therapist?

WRAP groups are usually led by trained peer facilitators, so many groups operate without a therapist present. However, many therapists organize WRAP groups and serve to guide the process.

Therapists who do organize WRAP groups may be social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, or another kind of mental health professional. If you choose to join a WRAP group through a therapist, make sure that they meet the following criteria:

  • An advanced degree in a mental health field;
  • Licensure to practice in the state where you live;
  • Additional experience and/or training using WRAP;
  • Payment options, schedules, and session locations that work for your and your budget.