The reImagine Workbook is a curriculum-driven program developed to aid people who are struggling with extreme life circumstances and mental and behavioral health difficulties. This workbook is a unique tool to use when working with individuals as it offers tools and skills to practice weekly that will help in managing stress and improving overall health.
This program is based on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach aimed at eliminating negative beliefs and behaviors while replacing them with positive ones. CBT has been shown to be helpful for people with low self-esteem, negative beliefs about themselves, and/or those struggling with chronic mental health conditions.
reImagine contains four main sections: Physical Wellness, Mental Wellness, Spiritual Wellness, and Relational Wellness. As Dr. Matthew Stanford, CEO of the Hope and Healing Center & Institute, mentioned in his reImagine Training, we need to think about people in a holistic way.
What is a holistic approach to mental health wellness and recovery?
We are “fearfully and wonderfully made”; created in the very image of God (Genesis 1:26). Humans are complex beings, unlike any other living creature: the union of a physical body with an immaterial mind and spirit. The four facets of the self are clearly outlined in Luke 2:52. Describing the development of the young Christ, Luke writes “and Jesus kept increasing in wisdom (mental) and stature (physical), and in favor with God (spiritual), and men (relational).” So you and I, like the incarnate Christ, are a unity of physical, mental, spiritual, and relational facets with each aspect affecting and being affected by all others.
We exist in a physical body, so we can interact with the material world around us. Our bodies have been designed by God to take in information from the environment and relay it to our brains. We see, hear, taste, smell, and touch the world around us. The first section of the workbook focuses on your physical wellness by implementing changes that will have positive influence in your physical health.
There is also an immaterial, non-physical aspect to our being; what some would call our mind. Our thoughts, feelings, and emotions are more than simple neurochemical changes and electrical discharges in our brain. Mind and body are intimately connected and each affects the other. The second section of the workbook focuses on your mental wellness to bring awareness to areas of emotional distress that have caused a negative impact in your life.
The scriptures teach us that we also have a third and even more amazing level of being, a spirit. God created us as a three part being, much like Himself. As a being with a spirit, it is possible for us to be in an intimate, spiritual union with our Creator who is also a spirit. The third section of the workbook focuses on your spiritual wellness to increase your understanding of how to foster and deepen your relationship with God.
We weren’t created to be alone, we are meant to build relationships with others. While our first and greatest relational need is to know God, we should never underestimate the importance of being in fellowship with others. The fourth and final section of the workbook focuses on your relational wellness and offers techniques to create healthy relationships with family and friends.
The brain, via the body’s sensory systems, is in contact with the earthly environment and relationships (outside) and the mind within. The middle circle listed “mental” is the mind, which is connected to the body through the functions of the brain and nervous system but is also in contact with our immaterial spirit (the inner most circle). The body senses and reacts to the external environment and the mind uses that information to perceive, understand, and interpret our surroundings. The mind also forms our thoughts and plans our actions. The spirit, when connected to God, works to transform the mind into the very image of Christ, which results in an ever-increasing display of godly behaviors through the body.
When an individual is struggling with a mental health difficulty or disorder, they are affected at every level of their being: physical, mental, spiritual, and relational. Since we are by nature holistic in our make-up, we require a holistic approach to mental health recovery in times of distress. A holistic approach to recovery takes into account how we have been created; relieving physical and psychological suffering while revealing the unconditional love and limitless grace that is only available through a personal relationship with Jesus.
The beauty within the holistic view is how scripture backs up each of the four components. We can master one area of our lives while also experiencing a lack of wholeness because we are only engaging in one section of us. This is largely due to the neglect of other components. When we look at our mental health, we want to make sure we engage the four components of what makes us whole.
How can Mental Health Coaches use the reImagine Workbook?
The reImagine Workbook offers a recovery approach to care, allowing Mental Health Coaches to give individuals freedom on how to approach each session. In the reImagine Training, Dr. Matthew Stanford recommends sharing the Table of Contents with the individual you’re helping to determine what they feel they struggle with the most. This will allow them to have some autonomy over their sessions and will give the Mental Health Coach a clear starting point. Each session starts by identifying the goal and finishes with techniques to look forward to as they continue to improve their quality of life. As a curriculum, reImagine will take six to seven months to complete if you are consistent in working through the curriculum on a weekly basis.
How can the reImagine Workbook be delivered?
Individuals can complete the workbook under the guidance of a trained Mental Health Coach.
Mental Health Coaches can use the workbook in group coaching or in a support group.
Family members (caregivers) can complete the workbook under the guidance of a trained Mental Health Coach and then incorporate the material into the daily lives of their loved ones.
Individuals can complete the workbook on their own as a personal study. However, without the guidance of a Mental Health Coach, the workbook won’t be optimized to its full capacity.
As you find the best way to use reImagine with you are those you are helping, remember the goals you’ve set in place to aid those who are struggling. While you don’t have to be a mental health professional to use this workbook, the clinical staff at the Hope and Healing Center and Institute finds it to be highly effective in their therapeutic approach. The team at Gateway to Hope is always here to continue to support your efforts to bring hope to individuals struggling with their mental health and their loved ones. Contact us to learn more about our trainings and how we can be a resource to you and your community.