Peer to peer counseling is a strategy that is used by treatment facilities to assist clients in the 12-step programs and beyond in order to overcome substance abuse issues. This strategy brings in people who have been through the recovery process as certified counselors that are qualified to provide support, advice and resources to those currently in recovery. They are an invaluable part of any treatment program.
Peer counselors have been there
Peer counselors are highly specialized because they have been through recovery before, and they have seen success. Despite the challenges with substance abuse and treatment they may have experienced, they feel compelled to return to the process as a coach, mentor and certified counselor to make it that much easier for others.
As someone who has been there, done that, a peer counselor shows a significant degree of empathy—connecting and empowering someone who is going through the recovery process. By relating on the level of someone struggling with treatment, a peer counselor can say, “hey, I’ve been there,” and clients feel a connection through their counselor’s empathic response.
Establishing trust is a cornerstone to effective counseling, and the ability to connect deeply with peer counselors is critical to their success in recovery treatment. Peer counselors are easier to relate to than others (professionals, doctors, etc.) who haven’t themselves been through substance abuse recovery. The initial bond of trust is established early on, enabling a faster avenue to recovery.
Even after treatment is over at the facility, peer counselors play a valuable role in aftercare. Often considered friends, per counselors are real people with real relationships with their clients—and this is why their work is so powerful.
Peer counselors are role models
Peer counselors serve as role models for successful recovery for those in need of hope and inspiration. Their personal stories are inspirational almost automatically, thanks to the nature of their role as peers, and their role as counselors establishes them as people who have achieved success. Seeing success in the flesh can be incredibly empowering to someone struggling with recovery.
Peer counselors have gone through the necessary steps to become sober and counsel others. That means that they have mastered the ability to tell their personal story without hiding from the truth, without shame, but with an aim to help others cope and overcome.
Peer counselors are certified specialists
This breed of counselors is unique. Yes, they can offer personal experiences that are incredibly empowering and move people to action. But, don’t be fooled, they are also recognized by a national certification that ensures they have the tools they need to help others. Peer counselors are equipped to be coaches and support clients in recovery.
Often, these counselors are advocates for recovery and treatment even outside the support groups they run, which means their lives are dedicated to helping others overcome substance abuse.
They are not just sounding boards for those in need. Rather, they are certified professionals who offer sound, effective advice and strategies that are firmly grounded in personal experience.
There are few recovery tools stronger than the peer to peer counselor when it comes to recovery and substance abuse treatment. Having a shoulder to lean on, a sounding board who has been there, done that, and a truly dedicated and certified professional on your side is invaluable. Peer to peer counselors reinforce the number one theory of treatment facilities: when it comes to recovery, you don’t have to go it alone.
For more information about peer to peer counseling, contact the Genesis Project confidentially at (408) 500-6229.