Peer support specialists act as mentors to their clients as they manage their recovery from behavioral health disorders. The broad definition of recovery that is currently in practice means that peer support specialists also help their clients to deal with practical living skills and social development. In the context of the peer relationship, many domains of life functioning are addressed. The peer support specialist is not expected to be an expert in all of these domains. However, the peer support specialist should be able to recognize when the client is functioning well in these domains and when the client needs additional skill development or resources in order to be successful in recovery.
Much of the mentoring work done by peer support specialists is done in support groups or education groups. Good communication and group facilitation skills include active listening, managing conflict, and eliciting constructive participation from group members. As a peer support specialist, you are responsible for setting the tone of the group, managing the process and monitoring the progress of the participants. Knowing what techniques to use to address specific problems within the group will help you to ensure success.