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 development of the peer support worker roles is one part of wider efforts to develop recovery-focused mental health services. The drive to create these roles comes from a recognition of the unique role that peers can play in promoting and supporting recovery. Let’s now take some time to examine the relationship between peer support and recovery in more


Peer support values lived experience


Valuing lived experience is an important principle of recovery approaches. It is unique in that it asks us to apply our lived experience of mental health and recovery in support of others. This means people with experience of mental health problems are seen as part of the solution with a role to play in promoting and supporting recovery. This can promote hope as well as
strengthen a sense of purpose and a positive identity for people affected by mental health issues.


Peer support is based on a belief in recovery


A belief in recovery is vital and peer support workers demonstrate that recovery is possible to the people around them. They can also generate relationships that show other peers they also have the power to recover.


Not being the expert


Peer support is a way of offering help and support on a more equal footing. It’s about people finding a way forward together, where people are recognised as experts in their own experience. Good peer support also works in a way that acknowledges that both parties can learn things
from each other and support each other’s recovery journey. They are not based on trying to fix people or one person being the ‘expert.’ This is a long way from the expert-patient dynamic that has been developed over a long time. It’s especially important for recovery given as we have seen it is such a unique and individual experience.


Peer practices are informed by recovery


Peer supporters are trained to share recovery based principles and approaches in their work with other people. These include adopting strengths-based and empowering approaches which focus on what people can do as much as on their needs and deficits.

Exercise Files
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