One thought on “What Is Peer Support in the Mental Health System?

  • January 23, 2017 at 8:54 pm

    I have worked in the state of Texas as a Professional Peer Specialist for more than three years. I love working as a Professional Peer because I never walk away from a peer session without more than I had when I walked in. I have slowly realized over these last 3 years that many of my co workers think of peers like an extension of themselves . There is often the misconception that the goal of peer support sessions is to improve the overall mental health of their client. My goal is not the health of their client but the health of the peer/client relationship. In a healthy relationship each person takes responsibility for their own wellness and recovery and the dynamic is much different than the doctor/ client relationship. There is no hierarchy like a parent/child relationship where one person is in charge of the others care. This dynamic which is the goal of the peer relationship, helps many people improve their level of wellness because it allows them to begin to see themselves outside of the sick role and realize that their diagnosis does not disqualify them from building a life they can be happy with. I believe the clients level of wellness is not the GOAL of a peer relationship but when the “health of the peer relationship” is the goal then “the higher level of wellness achieved by their client BECOMES THE RESULT. This dynamic is what is unique a within a healthy peer relationship. This dynamic is not often possible when one party is “in charge” of the other like a doctor/patient relationship. I recently found out that Texas is the only state that requires Professional Peer Specialists to teach skills and write a “skills note” for what we do to be a billable service. Now I understand why my co workers think that peers are mentally ill people who teach coping skills. Much more education is needed in my state to help correct this misconception about the role of Professional Peers in the Mental Health System. Gabe thanks for bringing awareness to what it is that peers are actually doing.
    Keep Being Awesome!

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