Peer Support

The term peer support is an umbrella for many different peer support titles and roles, such as peer advocate, peer counselor, peer coach, peer mentor, peer educator, peer support group leader, peer wellness coach, recovery coach, recovery support specialist, and many more….02_recovery_wordle

In general, a peer supporter is an individual who has made a personal commitment to his or her own recovery, maintained that recovery over a period of time, taken special training to work with others, and is willing to share what he or she has learned about recovery in an inspirational way.

In many states, there is an official certification process (training and test) to become a qualified “peer specialist.” Not all states certify peer support providers, but most organizations require peer support providers (who are employed) need to complete training that is specific to the expected responsibilities of the job (or volunteer work). Often, a peer supporter has extra incentive to stay well because he or she is a role model for others.

Those who provide authentic peer support believe in recovery and work to promote the values that:

  • Recovery is a choice.
  • Recovery is unique to the individual.
  • Recovery is a journey, not a destination.
  • Self-directed recovery is possible for everyone, with or without professional help (including the help of peer specialists or peer providers).

A peer support provider is caring and compassionate for what a person is experiencing. True to the Independent Living philosphy, Independent Living Peer Support offers persons with disabilities the support of a peer, somebody who has been in a similar situation, as a powerful example in assumipara to parang responsibility for one’s life, analyzing one’s situation, and developing coping strategies.

As peer supporters offer wisdom gained through personal experiences to inspire hope, support personal responsibility, promote understanding, offer education, and promote self-advocacy and self-determination, individuals with disabilities work to develop skills which allow them to live as independently as they desire.  This includes finding work, or continuing their education, or raising a family, or voting, or whatever each individual deems valuable in their own life.

iNAPS: InterNational Association of Peer Supporters