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Thinking Well Activity Series: This Participant’s Poem Looks at Cognition from Within

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The following untitled poem was written by Betsi, a 54-year old participant in Laurel House’s Thinking Well program.  Thinking Well is a group activity that helps people with serious mental health conditions practice and improve their thinking skills for better functioning at home, work, school and the community.

During her time in Thinking Well, Betsi completed 61 sessions of cognitive remediation, a classroom-based approach that combines individualized computer-based skills training with group discussion and support.  Her poem shows the influence of Thinking Well in her life, as she describes a process for collecting information from the outside world, processing it internally, and communicating the result to other people.

The poem is an example of “metacognition” – thinking about the way we think – and is a good illustration of how the Thinking Well program helps people understand their thinking processes so they can set goals, solve problems, and relate with others more effectively.

So far, the Thinking Well program has helped 72 people living with schizophrenia and other serious mental health conditions improve their cognition and achieve meaningful gains in life, such as getting a job, going to college, making new social connections, and acquiring skills.  Since Betsi completed Thinking Well, she has worked at a part-time job, participated in a writers group, and is about to embark on a new major life adventure.

Being able to express oneself in a poem is also an accomplishment – especially when one’s thoughts have been clouded by a mental health condition.  Betsi’s untitled poem, presented here for our Thinking Well Series, is an exploration of what recovery feels like from inside.


Start at one place, finish at another.

The speed, the concentration, the organization

It takes a lot to hold my attention.

This is what I found to be happening.

How my thoughts stay in one place, move to another.

And scatter when I try to speak.

I guess that’s when I hear my own thoughts

And if you are there, I’ll share.

Betsi, age 54
January 2015


If you would like to share your story of mental health recovery, visit our Shared Story page.

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