Workplace, academic and clinical settings
Peer Supporter training is an important part of the program implementation process. Basic training combines various learning modules to provide a well rounded curriculum based on the knowledge component of the Standards of Practice. Throughout this process, peer supporters acquire the necessary tools and skills required to anchor a natural tendency towards helping others into a bona fide occupational function.
The training syllabus contains the following:
Introduction and General Overview: Peer Supporters acquire a general understanding of program mandate, structure, and philosophical basis, while learning the key differences between peer support, social support and clinical care, as well as their respective challenges.
Overview of Peer Issues and Needs: Various subjects and concepts are touched on within this module, such as the well-being continuum; the impact of mental health on self and others; adaptation, change and learning; peer issues and problems; resilience and adaptation; self-determination; and the helpfulness zone.
Peer Supporter Role: Through this particular module, roles and responsibilities of the Peer Supporter are presented, along with the basic Principles of Practice in order to ensure a firm understanding of related expectations. Other topics touched on within this module include ethics and confidentiality, supportive relationship and communication basics, peer-to-peer relationship initiation, culture and values, communication barriers, and empathy, among others.
Tools and Techniques/Challenges: Peer Supporters can often be confronted with a wide variety of challenges ranging from boundary issues, criticism, and conflict, to crisis and suicide intervention. This module focuses on preparing the Peer Supporter for each of these situations, while providing guidelines and tools to help them better cope with such eventualities.
Supporting Hope, Change and Self-care: Key learning objectives of the fifth and final training module include a greater understanding of the potential impact of stress related to the peer support role, the importance of maintaining self-care and lifestyle balance, as well as supporting motivation and stages of change. Other important subjects include ending a peer support relationship, as well as a general reflection on the entire training process.