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



Tim started to volunteer as peer supporter to months ago and while he is enjoying the experience he sometimes he doubts his capacity to help others. He has been working with Robert since he started, and as Tim’s own level of expectation grows he feels that he needs to see Robert make progress to be sure he is a good peer supporter.


Tim’s father abandoned him and his mother when he was only 5 years old. Since then, memories of abuse have started to appear in his mind, mixing fact and fiction. Tim is not sure if they really happened and he’d rather prefer to think that they are only figments of his imagination.


At a peer support session, Robert looked more downcast than in previous sessions. Tim immediately felt disappointed, and when he asked him what was new, Robert commented, in a very general way that he had broken up with his girlfriend. He had lost control and insulted her in public. He had tried to call since then but she refused to answer the phone.


This made Tim feel very angry and he accused Robert of being an aggressor and manipulated. He advised that the best thing he could do was to stop calling his girlfriend and leave her alone. He then stopped the meeting.




Consider how both Robert and Tim felt after the meeting ended. It is
likely that Robert is confused and wondering what happened. Tim may also be feeling confused about his reaction and probably is feeling that he had done badly for himself and Robert. Tim realises that he identified with Robert’s girlfriend and that resulted in him becoming angry and unable to communicate with Robert.


By trying to ignore or avoid an important aspect of his experiences and wellbeing Tim thought that he had it under control. However this shows that he needs to acknowledge these experiences and feelings, no matter how difficult and uncomfortable, and work on how to respond better to certain situations.


Reacting in this way will further damage his confidence in his ability as a peer  supporter which is detrimental to his recovery and wellbeing and not good for the people he is supporting.


It would be more appropriate for Tim to have asked Robert what had made him lose control and to establish a list of proper answers to similar situations. Robert would feel safe and more able to take decisions that would not endanger his relationships.

Exercise Files
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No Attachment Found