What is Peer Support?

Having a peer supporter on your team is like having a partner in recovery who is there to validate your experience and walk with you through the dross of institutionalized oppression and misconception. The main thing that sets peer workers apart from the medical treatment team is that peer workers uphold the basic understanding that each person is the expert in their own lives and should thus be in charge of their own recovery. The peer supporter’s role is to assist people with finding and following their own recovery paths, without judgment, expectation, rules, or requirements.

Peer Support: What is Trauma Informed Care?

Trauma informed care is centered on the basic understanding that most people who seek mental health and addiction services have experienced some form of trauma in their lives. The trauma informed approach attempts to eliminate retraumatization in the healthcare settings by implementing a culture of trauma awareness across all levels of the clinical and organizational structure.

Peer Support: Principles of Trauma Informed Care

One of SAMHSA’s 10 Guiding Principles of Recovery is that “recovery is supported by addressing trauma.” Trauma informed care is thus an intrinsic aspect of peer support. Understanding a person’s situation, both past and present, is critical for providing trauma informed supports. A peer worker’s ability to share lived experience and validate peer feelings, perceptions and experiences is often more of a healing process for people in recovery than the rigid and controlling therapy programs that are thrust upon people seeking help.