Knowing your own unique attributes, skills and abilities is vital as a peer supporter. This exercise provides an opportunity for you to discover your own strengths and skills.
Divide a sheet of paper into four sections:
- Interest and Passions
- Skills, Talents, Resources and Gifts
Now take some time to fill in each section. Make it as colourful and creative as you like! Remember to use recovery language, and reframe any negative comments while drawing out strengths.
Some of the things you might include in your poster are:
- Identity – age, gender, work, other important life roles
- Hobbies, interests and passions – how do you relax, what engages you in your spare time, what do you really care about?
- Skills, talents and resources – what can you do, what do you enjoy, education, friends, family, supporters?
• Gifts – what do others like about you, what is special about you, what are your best qualities and attributes?
This is a useful tool, and an activity you can use with someone you are supporting. By using this strengths-based approach we can work with the individual to recognise and highlight the positives about who they are. You are empowering them to understand what they need and want from services and to have the power, choice and control to achieve this.
Empowerment is about taking control of your life and managing experiences in a way that is beneficial and desirable to the individual. By listening to the individual and showing empathy and understanding, we can validate that person and their personal experiences. This should have a positive impact of their view of themselves and, as a result, promote hope that things can be better.
It will help them to understand that they are not their illness, and that they can change and manage more positive outcomes for themselves. You are encouraging them to change from a ‘can’t do’ to a ‘can do’ perspective.