Working the workbook

Dr. Ashear originally developed Self-Acceptance: the Key to Recovery from Mental Illness as a group-therapy psycho-educational tool for clients living with schizophrenia, bipolar depression, and recurrent major depression. In its current format, the workbook is appropriate for individuals and groups and has received positive reviews from users and mental health experts.

In general, this tool:

  • Fosters feelings of hope,
  • Increases users’ acceptance of their respective diagnoses while increasing their self-awareness and self-acceptance, and
  • Improves concentration and organization of thinking.

In group settings, this tool:

  • Provides a structured format to maintain a coherent focus for each session,
  • Maintains self-acceptance as a constant theme across a variety of topics relevant to recovery from mental illness,
  • Creates an atmosphere of authentic sharing and meaningful exchange.
  • Deepens connections and support among group members, and
  • Nurtures growth and accomplishment as sessions proceed.

 Workbook structure

The workbook opens with a foreword by Dr. Fred Frese, associate professor of psychiatry at Northeast Ohio Medical University. The subsequent Orientation to Self-Acceptance discusses the importance of the self in recovery and includes contributor Vanessa Hastings’ recovery story.

The rest of the workbook is divided into five “skill areas”:

  • Factors that Promote Self-Acceptance
  • Factors The Undermine Self-Acceptance
  • Building Healthy Relationships
  • Self-Acceptance and Recovery
  • Developing Personal Recovery Goals

The orientation and each of the first four skill areas are divided into subsections. Each subsection features a brief introduction to help users start thinking about the topic at hand. Then plenty of space is available for users to respond to questions and exercises designed to help them increase their understanding of the topic and how it relates to their self-acceptance and their recovery.

Group users can share what they wrote with each other if they wish. Individual users may wish to review Vanessa’s responses to the questions, which are included in the back of the workbook.

Guidelines for group facilitators are available here.