Course Content
This session will introduce students to the course and through the use of exercises promote general discussion encouraging the students to begin to get to know each other. The session will cover confidentiality, participation, commitment and a general overview of the course. 
What is Recovery?
The aim of this session is to explore the development of the recovery approach in mental health and to examine key concepts in recovery and a range of factors that support recovery.
Personal Recovery
The aim of this session is to explore personal experience of mental health problems and recovery and consider how the key concepts and factors supporting recovery (covered in session 2) have impacted on your own story of recovery.
What is Peer Support?
Now that we have been introduced to recovery characteristics and developed an understanding of the things that can help and hinder that process, we are going to consider the role the role of peer support in more detail. Firstly, we will examine what we mean by a peer and we will then go on to consider the relationship between peer support and recovery.
The Peer Relationship
In this session we will examine in more detail the processes and practices of establishing peer relationships. We will build on our earlier learning about the role of mutuality and empowerment in peer relationships. There will be a focus on issues of power, choice and control in peer relationships.
Review and Evaluation
The aim of this session is to give candidates the opportunity to reflect on learning to date; provide support and feedback on the assessment task and to review the content to date. The first assessment task is a written assignment in essay format where students consider their personal recovery story in relation to the recovery approach and the role of peer support.
Use of Language and Communications
As peer supporters, the language we use and how we communicate are key to building good connections with the people we are supporting. This session will focus on how we use the language of recovery and our wider communication skills in the peer relationship. The language of recovery is designed to bring out the strengths and abilities of those in recovery. The aim of this session is to introduce candidates to elements of effective communication, including verbal and non-verbal communication, active listening and the use of recovery language, and to enable them to use these to foster an effective peer support relationship.
Using Your Experiences Effectively
One of the most effective ways to explain recovery to others is by people sharing their experiences. It brings to life the reality of recovery. This session builds on previous learning to enable peer supporters to develop their skills and experience in sharing their experiences in ways that are helpful. This sharing is often described as intentional.
Surviving and Thriving
The aim of this session is to look at approaches to working with people which focus on their strengths and capabilities and on building resilience. This will include examining the ways in which strengths based approach might validate and reframe experience and how it uses role modelling and hope to help individuals build resilience. Strengths based approaches are at the heart of peer support practice.
Positive Risk Taking and Boundaries
The aim of this session is to examine the implications of formalised peer support, encouraging students to examine the related concepts of boundaries, role tension and working with risk. The session will introduce the concept of positive risk taking and the approaches that can be used to help in this process. This will include examining the balance between risk and responsibility in the peer relationship. As part of this, students will deal with the difficult topics of trauma, suicidality and risk.
Review and Evaluation
The aim of this session is to give candidates time to review and evaluate the course and their experience of it, and to finish off any outstanding work. it is an opportunity to reflect on learning, discuss experiences and discuss the final assignment.
Useful Resources
Peer Support Training
About Lesson

Take some time to consider your own recovery story, and begin to write it down. The aim is to write your story of experiences of mental health challenges and recovery, and to relate this to recovery concepts and factors supporting recovery. You will build upon this writing throughout the rest of the course, and it will form the basis of the first assignment if you are working towards the certificate.


You may find this activity challenging or overwhelming at first. If you feel you need guidance, please reach out to the tutor by emailing If you feel distressed at any time you can stop and come back to it later, and if you need to talk about any of the things in your story, you can call Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. 


If you are struggling to get started, there are some themes to help you to start to write your story, such as: 


My life… the move or the novel


This theme is light-hearted but can reveal truths about the way people view their life. Think about the title of a film or a novel of their life. This could be an existing film or novel or one created by them. Then think about all or some of the following:


• What type of film or novel it is – comedy, tragedy, action, romance, short story, ‘War and Peace…..?
• Who is playing the main role and why them?
• What is the ending like?
• What changes will make it better?


Letters from the Wise One


Cast yourself in the role of Yoda or the Wise One. This theme helps people to remember helpful strategies they have used in their life and journey of recovery. You can:


• Tell someone facing the kind of challenges you have faced how you coped and give them some tips.
• Write a congratulations letter describing the journey and the challenges you have overcome.
• Picture a good day – when you are at yourr best. What is different and what are you doing?


Fresh perspectives


This theme helps you try to see things from a different point of view. To do this you can try one or more of the following prompts:


• It’s easy to be your own worst critic. What would a good friend say about you?
• Meet your 85 year old self. What does this wise person who loves you, tell you?
• Our inner ‘persecution’ makes us feel bad. What does your personal world class defence lawyer have to say?


Surviving, Thriving and Recovery


Distress and loss feature in every life. But…you reading this means you’re surviving. It’s time to credit yourself for courage and resilience. What strengths and skills have you been using to keep the show on the road? Write about your power and strength, they’re going to come in handy.


  • Who has been there for you on your journey?
  • What gives you hope? Who or what inspires you?
  • What does recovery mean to you now and in the future?
Exercise Files
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