Module 1: Contexts of Peer Support Copy



The purpose of this module is to define peer support and to help participants understand the roles and responsibilities of peer specialists within substance abuse and mental health treatment and recovery services. The module also provides guidance to peer specialists to help them be successful in the workplace.


  • Definition of Terms
  • Historical Contexts of Peer Support
    • Introduction
    • Then and Now–Models of Addiction and Approaches to Treatment
    • Defining Peer Support
    • Role of Peers
  • Social Contexts of Peer Support
  • What Peer Specialists Do
  • Environments Where Peer Specialists Practice
  • Benefits of Peer Support Services
  • Workplace Considerations for Peer Specialists
  • Peer Specialists as Part of a Team
  • The Impact of Bias and Stigma

Learning Objectives

After completing this module, participants will be able to:

  • Define peer support
  • Explain what qualifies someone to serve as a peer
  • List three roles performed by peer specialists
  • Describe the limits of the peer specialist role
  • Identify three benefits of peer support services
  • Describe two things that peer specialists can do to be effective as part of a team
  • Explain the difference between bias and stigma
  • Explain the role of the peer specialist in reducing stigma

Module Activities

  • Module 1 Reflection Activity: Your Own Peer Specialist Profile
  • Module 1 Activity: Peer Specialist Roles

Workbook Activities

After you have completed all of the module 1 lessons below, complete the following activities your course workbook:

  • Workbook Activity 1: Challenging Internalized Stigma (60 minutes)
  • Workbook Activity 2: Role of the Peer Specialist (90 minutes)

Module 1 Quiz

After you have completed all of the module 1 lessons below and the workbook activities, click the button at the bottom of this page to complete the Module 1 Quiz and Advance to Module 2.