Integrating Peer Support Core Values, Ethics, And Competencies into Daily Practice
Alice WashingtonCIBHS Blogging Team
Just saying … Peer Support is a way for a person who has or is experiencing behavioral health issues to help others who are living the same experience. Oftentimes, the values, ethics, and competencies of peers lie in their humanity. This question came to CIBHS: how do you integrate peer support core values, ethics, and competencies into daily practice? In effect, the question aligns with how we practice cultural competence daily.
The values listed below align with my experience of providing peer support. I infused these in the daily practice of assisting people who are experiencing behavioral health issues.
Integrate Humanity into Daily Practice (Treat others, as you would treat yourself…)
Values – “Do no harm. Cause no pain. Do not cause trauma.”
Giving back – use your lived experience to model and help others in a positive manner
Courage – being able to share what you want to share
Kind – people who are experiencing behavioral health issues should receive comfort and care
Cautious – words can both hurt and heal, be careful how you use them
Helpful – practice being an advocate who teaches how to do, but does not do for
Creative – help people with behavioral health issues find their creative side that they can use in the healing process. Be creative and flexible in how you understand and work with people.
Gentle – being aggressive or overly assertive can cause more harm than good, gentleness rarely impedes recovery
Empathy – remember you have walked in these shoes, use this experience to understand how to help others walk towards recovery and wellness
Below are some ethical principles and competencies in a helping relationship that can guide our engagement process and daily practice.
Avoid a negative atmosphere that causes harm to all
Make sure your peer support is focused on moving towards recovery and wellness
Make sure the Peer Support Specialist is used appropriately and not just there as a token
Do not demean, ignore or push aside feelings, feedback, pain etc., and respect the human being either on the phone or sitting in front of you
Daily practice should be strength-based, where peer support acknowledges and rewards strengths; this type of competency can lead to trusting relationships that can lead to win-wins for all
Remember, ethical, value-based, and competent peer support involves tapping into your humanity because … it’s all about that hope.