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Being an Effective Peer Support Specialist

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Presentation on theme: "Being an Effective Peer Support Specialist"— Presentation transcript:

1 Being an Effective Peer Support Specialist
Is passing a test and having the lived experience enough?

2 Introduction My experience as a consumer.
My perceptions from my experience with peer support in Texas. I don’t have the answers, but I can help with the questions and maybe make it better.

3 Ways to Define Peer Support Specialist
A Peer Recovery Support Specialist (P-RSS) is an occupational title for a person who has progressed in their own recovery from alcohol or other drug abuse or mental disorder and is willing to self-identify as a peer and work to assist other individuals with chemical dependency or a mental disorder. Because of their life experience, such persons have expertise that professional training cannot replicate.

4 Peer Support Specialist Definition
Peer Support Specialists are people living in recovery with mental health and/or substance abuse challenges and who provide support to others who can benefit from their lived experience. A Certified Peer Support Specialist is an individual who is or has been a recipient or is a recipient of mental health or substance abuse services with mental illness or addiction.

5 Peer Support Specialist Definition
Peer Support Service is an individualized, recovery-focused service that allows individuals the opportunity to learn to manage their own recovery and advocacy process. Interventions of Peer Support staff serve to enhance the development of natural supports, as well as coping and self- management skills. Interventions of Peer Support staff may also provide supportive services to assist an individual in community re-entry following hospitalization.

6 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Little data pertaining to peer support services. Most frequent answer: Survey says: I want to give back! Requires investigation. Nurses tend to respond the same. Social service workers refer to the work as a “calling”. Reasons for entering the field are intangible or difficult to put into words.

7 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Many test out on the Myers-Briggs as “Idealists”. The Idealists core needs are for the meaning and significance that come from having a sense of purpose and working toward some “greater good”. Idealists move more toward creativity, empathy, and focus more on feelings than facts.

8 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Personality types tend to be consistent throughout one’s life, even from childhood and temperaments rarely change. It may be possible that a counselor is born, or at least made as a child. It seems consideration comes at a very early age. Carl Rogers felt that people could not be taught to be counselors.

9 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Environmental factors may also have an effect on consideration to go into social service provision. Many in helping professions learned their helping roles before they began professional training. 2/3 of social workers studied, reported providing care-taking roles within their families, (Vincent, 1996), before receiving professional training.

10 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
50% reported optimal bonding experiences with their parents. 42% reported significant childhood separation from one or both parents during childhood. People in helping professions in general, tend to report higher amounts of childhood emotional neglect, abuse, and other adverse experiences from childhood DiCaccavo,2002) Many report role reversal in childhood.

11 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Those working in the helping professions are referred to in the literature as “wounded healers”. They report great dissatisfaction in their childhoods and their work in the counseling professions is not only an extension of childhood roles, but also an attempt to come to terms with their own hurts and disappointments. Understanding the pain of another who is seeking help for familial dysfunction may help them understand their own pain and allow them to recover from it.

12 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Hanson and McCullagh’s study in order of importance: Working with people. Contributing to individuals. Contributing to society. A belief they could be successful in this type of work. Effecting social change.

13 Why Do People Go Into Social Services Careers?
Although different, it may be assumed there is overlap and shared reasons for peer support specialists and social workers to choose to work in the field of social services. Research into what draws consumers to become peer support specialists needs to emerge as does what personality characteristics make one peer support specialist more effective than another or any other reason. Start the research early. How do we find the “best” people for the job? Carl Rogers had some ideas about personal qualities.

14 Why Study Providers of Social Services?
We are creating a new science, should we do it right? Historically, systems try the hurry up and we’ll fix it as we go. Maybe there’s a better way? Can we identify those people who are more suited to be mental health providers? Are there personality characteristics that make better, more effective, peer support specialists? How do find those people?

15 Texas Mental Health Consumers Peer Certified Specialist
Application process. Fill out application. Provide writing sample describing the applicant’s recovery and meaning of recovery. Take the Kersey Temperament Scale. Three person interview

16 Texas Mental Health Consumers Peer Certified Specialist
Eighty hour, two week, peer certification with tests. Included forty hours of peer support group training and twenty four hours of WRAP facilitation. We developed a form to gauge interaction and moods and participation of each enrollee. We wanted to learn about those in the class. Two weeks can be revealing.

17 Texas Mental Health Consumers Peer Certified Specialist
We allowed make-up tests and re-testing with further training. No one was declined participation due to their Kersey Temperament Scale Score. In fact, everyone who applied, was allowed to participate in the certification.

18 Evaluation of Services
We had the consumers evaluate each and every support group as well as the peer providers at the end of the session. We needed to do more. We need to evaluate if the person was growing and getting better. Were we actually helping? It’s more than evaluating the sessions and the service provider.

19 Evaluate Outcomes This is key to recovery. Scott Miller’s group, ICCE, has and does significant research in methods to evaluate how effective our services are and offers methods to improve services. His focus is on professional counselors, but his work can be useful in the peer support provider world.

20 Why Discuss Evaluation and Provider Quality
Why Discuss Evaluation and Provider Quality? Non-scientific, Mike’s world. scientifically, through research and evaluation, peer support services make a significant difference in a person’s life. We need to demonstrate as we go, that we are making a difference in people’s lives. Expectations will be higher for you. If you don’t have this, you become easily disposable. In Texas, when money gets tight, Peer Services are the first to go. It may not make a difference anyway. Old oilfield saying, “A thousand atta’ boys is replaced with one aw’ crap”.

21 Mike’s World Be honest, don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know, I don’t understand, I’m not making a difference, something needs to change, I can’t work with this person,...” This is part of culture change. We hide our mistakes, losing their value. Systems punish us for making mistakes, this inhibits growth and creates a dishonest environment. Mistakes may be more important than successes.

22 Mike’s World There are many peer certification programs available. Pick one or design one that you feel will be most beneficial. You can add to the certification or modify it or change it. Don’t make it a huge issue. You know what’s important. Keep learning. It’s more than counseling or peer to peer interventions. Learn about public housing, HUD, employment, Medicare, Medicaid, supported employment, work incentives, SSI, SSDI, food stamps, food banks, soup lines, transportation, etc. Talking and letting people know you’ve been there in one thing, but without basic needs being met, you will lose.

23 Thank you for allowing me to talk with you. I am honored
Thank you for allowing me to talk with you. I am honored. I hope I’ve provided some help in your journey. Mike Halligan

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