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 Scottish Recovery Network developed the ‘Peer Values Framework’, a set of six values which underpin the peer relationship: 


  • Hope
  • Experience
  • Authenticity
  • Responsility
  • Mutality
  • Empowerment


Why develop a Values Framework?


The Values Framework aims to support and promote peer working, with the aim of:


  • Ensuring the role remains true to the peer support ethos.
  • Clarifying the role and identity of peer workers.
  • Creating a basis for the further development of peer worker roles and services.
  • Improving understanding of peer working.


Introduction to the six values


Hope: We believe in the reality of recovery for all and that:


  • Peer workers are powerful role models and evidence of the reality of recovery.
  • We are all unique individuals, with hopes, dreams and aspirations with the potential to be all that we can be.
  • The peer relationship offers a unique healing environment and powerful way of promoting hope and optimism.
  • It is possible to learn and grow from challenges and setbacks.


Experience: We believe recovery is a unique and individual experience and that:


  • We are all experts in our own experience.
  • There are many roads to recovery and different ways of  nderstanding and interpreting experiences.
  • The sharing of experiences can be a powerful catalyst for personal change and growth.
  • Peer workers use their lived experience intentionally to encourage and support recovery.


Authenticity: We believe being authentic is about being true to ourselves and that:


  • Empathy and compassion are at the heart of the peer relationship.
  • Authentic relationships are open, honest and mutual.
  • Peer support is about building connections that enable people to trust and to share their wisdom.
  • Having compassion for others is grounded in being compassionate towards yourself.


Responsibility: We believe wellness and recovery involves taking responsibility and that:


  • Supporting people to make changes is achieved through ‘being with’ rather than ‘doing for’.
  • Peer workers have a responsibility to ensure that the values of peer support are nurtured and developed.
  • Peer workers should take responsibility for their learning and development.
  • Peer workers have a responsibility to challenge stigma and discrimination encountered in their role.


Mutuality: We believe that mutuality is core to peer working and that:


  • We are interdependent and all have  something to contribute.
  • Mutuality is developed through respectfully sharing ideas, learning and experiences.
  • Mutuality develops through discussion and negotiation of what is helpful in the relationship.
  • Everyone involved in the relationship has a responsibility for making it work


Empowerment: We believe empowerment means being in the driving seat and that:


  • Recovery is the job of each individual and the peer relationship is based on learning together.
  • Empowerment happens as we draw on our strengths and abilities both individually and collectively.
  • Taking risks, trying new things and moving beyond our comfort zone are essential to personal growth and change.
  • Having power and control comes from identifying our own needs, making choices and taking responsibility for finding solutions.
Exercise Files
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