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

The way we interact with others is often motivated by psychological needs outside of our direct awareness or consciousness. To meet these needs we tend to play certain roles in relationships, although the role we take on can change in different situations and with different people.


Being aware of this can help us as we try and develop mutually empowering peer relationships. There are some commonalities in the roles that appear in people’s relationship dynamics and two different models have been developed by psychologists to help us understand and be aware of those roles.


Stephen Karpman, a Transactional Analyst, recognised a pattern of interaction that he called the ‘Drama Triangle’. The Drama Triangle model, includes three roles:


  1. Victim: The victim either takes on or accepts the role of a mistreated, persecuted person. A victim is someone who usually feels overwhelmed by their own sense of vulnerability, inadequacy or powerlessness, and does not take responsibility for themselves or their own power. In this role, a victim would look to a rescuer to take care of them.
  2. Persecutor: The persecutor pressures or bullies the victim. This is an unconscious stand where the person is not aware of their own power, which they use in a negative and destructive manner.
  3. Rescuer: The rescuer rushes to defend the victim, protecting them from the persecutor. A rescuer is someone who doesn’t own their own vulnerability and instead seeks to ‘rescue’ others whom they see as vulnerable.


The Drama Triangle is usually represented as a triangle with its point facing downward, with the persecutor and rescuer at the top and the victim at the bottom. This shows that the persecutor and rescuer both assume a position of power over the victim. Each of these three roles needs the others to function and together they play a game. The roles do not necessarily represent the reality of each person’s place in the situation, or their true level of power. Each of these positions is a way of taking power when we feel uncomfortable.


Drama Triangle



In fact, we often go through all three at various times and in various circumstances. A second model of the roles people unwittingly assume in relationships was described by another transactional analyst. In his book ‘The Games People Play’ Eric Berne describes parent, adult and child roles in relationships. Being aware of our tendency to slip into these roles can help in forming mutually empowering relationships. Berne suggests that negative experiences in relationships can be linked with people assuming certain roles or switching between roles.


We are all familiar with these roles from our own life experience and we commonly assume different roles.


For example, one person may assume the role of adult in a relationship. In this role we might act as the voice of authority and behave in a directive manner. This role can be connected to that of helper. A peer supporter might unwittingly adopt a controlling parent type role in a relationship.


Alternatively they might assume the role of a nurturing parent and try and smother the other person with concern. In both cases a possible response from the other person is to respond in a childlike way.


We can all at times assume the role of child in a relationship, perhaps most often when we are feeling vulnerable. In this role anger or emotion can dominate reason. Another childlike response is to allow the other person in the relationship to take over. Both create an imbalance of power in the relationship with the person assuming the childlike position will be less likely to take responsibility.


When we assume an adult role in relationships we are basing our actions on the information we have before us – in other words we stick to the data we have in a relationship. In mutually empowering peer relationships we are seeking to establish adult to adult type relationships.


Relationship Types

Exercise Files
No Attachment Found
No Attachment Found