No matter what the person seeking services is recovering “from,” it’s important for peer specialists to be able to explain the nature and process of recovery to their clients. In the very basic sense the process of change flows from:
Other modules in this course series will provide specific examples of the strategies that are shown.
Stage 1. Not Ready
- Offer emotional support and understanding.
- Offer to help the client talk with or find relevant behavioral health care providers.
- Help increase awareness about the issues that are troublesome in the client’s life.
- Be patient and accepting.
Stage 2. Getting Ready
- Facilitate a discussion about the pros and cons of making changes.
- Help the client create a vision of what health would look like in the future, assisting the client with re-visioning his/her self-perception
- Instill hope by providing examples of how other people in similar situations have made positive changes.
Stage 3. Ready
- Empower the client to participate in recovery and wellness activities by taking small steps toward a healthier lifestyle.
- Identify capabilities and opportunities upon which to build enhanced health and wellness.
- Help the client identify things they want to change and things he or she wants to accomplish.
- Reinforce “baby steps” in making changes.
Stage 4. Taking Action
- Work on a client-determined recovery or wellness plan that includes:
- Things the client enjoys or feels passionate about
- Ways he or she can bring those things into their lives
- Ways he or she can address desired changes
- Skills, strengths and ideas that can help the client reach established goals
- Resources that can help the client build additional skills
- Help the client to be prepared for challenges to the new behaviors, such as a return of mental health condition symptoms or triggers for using substances.
- Encourage and support the client’s efforts.
- Advocate for needed services and supports or teach clients to be self-advocates.
Stage 5. Maintaining Gains
- Help the client use the strengths and skills he or she has.
- Help the client explore the positive changes in their situation that could contribute to a crisis or relapse (“I feel better so I don’t need medication anymore.”).
- Remind the client to keep expectations reachable and realistic without holding him or her back.
- Help the client find additional resources and supports to help reach established goals step-by-step.
- Continue to support the client as they set new goals and focus on life beyond illness.
- Help the client identify and overcome negative or defeatist thinking that may crop up.
- Encourage the client to take it easy on him or herself and celebrate accomplishments.
- The Peer Specialist continuously checks personal values and attitudes about recovery, and remember that people can and do overcome the internal and external challenges, barriers, and obstacles that confront them.
- The Peer Specialist avoids the imposition of his or her own assumptions about what matters in recovery and in life, and instead focuses on the life goals and purpose as defined by their peer.
- The Peer Specialist views the person seeking services in multiple realms of their life.
- The Peer Specialist can ensure that the services they provide encompass the fundamental building blocks of recovery – CHIME.
- The Peer Specialist listens carefully to determine which stage of recovery the peer is in and tailor support and strategies based on his or her stage of change/recovery