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Each module in this course series addresses how peer specialists can support recovery. For this module, it is important that peer specialists take a look at their own values and assumptions about recovery for both substance use and mental health conditions. Reversal of some traditional assumptions is at the heart of a modern recovery approach.

Recent concepts of recovery change the focus from behavioral health conditions to the wellbeing of the client in all life dimensions. Recovery is not a single event, or a goal to be achieved, but an ongoing process that can be effectively managed by the client and those who support him/her. Even though it is not a linear process, there are distinct stages to recovery and the needs of the person seeking services will vary depending upon the stage of recovery that they are in.

Peer specialists play a critical role in helping others to attain and maintain recovery. While there are many actions the peer specialist can use in this role, of prime importance are their actions that:

  1. connect their peer to supportive people and communities
  2. instill hope
  3. help a peer rebuild a positive identity
  4. contribute to those things that give meaning to a peer’s life
  5. empower the peer to take control of his or her life.