Peer Services Implementation: Training & Support for Organizations

Peer Services Implementation: Training & Support for Organizations

The Peer Services Implementation (PSI) program works to educate people about the role of professional peer support and assist organizations as they establish and grow their peer support program. We offer webinars, public workshops, individualized training, and technical assistance to a variety of professionals and organizations. 

Learn more about Peer Services Implementation:

The Peer Support Role

A professional peer provider is someone who uses their own lived experience with a particular challenge, and their experience navigating certain systems, for the primary purpose of promoting another person’s wellness. Peer support is happening in behavioral healthcare (supporting people living with mental health and substance use challenges), reentry programs and courts (supporting people navigating the criminal justice system or returning to the community after incarceration), physical health programs, and much more.

As person-centered, trauma-responsive practices emerge as the standard for quality behavioral health care, the roles for people providing support are expanding. We no longer think of professionals as having all the answers. Increasingly, people in recovery have come to expect partnership from their supporters and know that they should be able to make their own decisions about their life and the services provided. Therefore, the demand for peer support is increasing, and it’s critical that others working in the system understand the unique contributions of this role.

The Value of Lived Experience

The value of a person’s life experiences – something separate from professional titles and educational backgrounds – is core to the peer movement and to achieving a recovery-oriented environment of healing. Via Hope facilitators model the use of their personal lived experience and support organizations as they find ways to leverage both the personal wisdom of people receiving services and those employed by the agency in all aspects of day-to-day operations.

Amy Pierce, Peer Services Field Liaison, shares some of her recovery story:

“Amy sharing what her life was like before and after hope was born…she really brought to life how differently people’s perspectives of the same situation can be. The entire first day was like a bright light shining on the potential of every human being.”
Demystifying Workshop Participant, 2018

Implementation Support

As the value of peer support has become recognized and the interest in hiring peer specialists has increased, so has the demand for effective consultative support for the implementation of the valuable services they provide. Organizational leaders must work to address the following domains:

Domains of Peer Services Implementation

  • Organizational Culture
  • Funding Peer Specialist Positions
  • Recruitment and Hiring of Peer Specialists
  • Peer Support Staff Role Definition and Clarification
  • Supervision and Career Advancement

Via Hope provides site-specific support, working closely with organizational teams to support implementation in a way that reflects the specific needs and priorities of that agency. Via Hope can also provide direct training, coaching, and consultation, along with behind-the-scenes support to key groups over a period of time. Activities to achieve organizational assessment, planning, training and other support include:

  • On-site training for staff
  • Supervisor training and consultation
  • Facilitated planning sessions focused on implementation efforts
  • Professional development and mentoring for peer providers
  • Surveys and focus groups

To connect with us about getting agency-specific support, contact [email protected].

“It reminded me of not only my worth but the worth of what we are doing and why it is important.”
2020 PSI Participant

Learning Communities

Organizations interested in workshops and site-specific implementation support, may also wish to be connected with a network of other agencies navigating similar challenges. This type of support can be offered through Learning Community Programs. In a learning community, some activities are offered to a single site, allowing the deep exploration of issues and goals specific to that agency. Other activities bring people together from across agencies to facilitate collaboration and learning throughout the system. 

Learning communities can also bring together a specific group of people to focus on one area of change. For instance, the 2019-2020 PSI Learning Community for Supervisors was designed to bring together supervisors of peer specialists to deepen their understanding of peer support services and develop the skills necessary to support people working as professional peer specialists. Furthermore, this program sought to expand the number of field-based leaders who can serve as subject matter experts on peer work at their agency.

“Knowing I am not alone was the biggest relief and also realizing that we might need different people on the core team, and as a result we are looking to change up our core team.”
2020 PSI Participant

Peer Provider Professional Development

Peer programs are also strengthened through learning opportunities for peer professionals, as they obtain new skills and expand job roles over time. Via Hope offers a variety of peer specialist continuing education offerings, on topics such as leading groups or becoming a Wellness Recovery Action Planning© (WRAP©) Facilitator. To see a complete list of Via Hope trainings created for peer providers, go here.

Learning Opportunities for Supervisors

Quality supervision is vital to peer professionals and to the successful implementation of a peer support program at any agency. Whether supervisors are peer providers themselves or in another professional role, they have an opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the professional development of those they support. 

Via Hope’s Recovery Institute offers the mandatory 2-day training to become a certified Peer Support Supervisor in Texas, along with continuing education opportunities for supervisors around the country.

“Always learn new ways to present things to my groups and I came away with some great ones. Most of all the impact the visual aids had in keeping my attention and as memory aid.”
2020 PSI Participant
Scroll to Top