Colorado Peer Support
Peer recovery is experiencing rapid growth, whether it is provided by a peer recovery coach, peer recovery support specialist, or peer recovery mentor. Peer support services – advocating, mentoring, educating, and navigating systems – are becoming an important component in recovery oriented systems of care. Sharing recovery experience is deeply rooted in the addiction field, but it is a newer concept in mental health.
Inclusion of peers with practical experience on teams with degreed clinicians is increasingly being emphasized by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) – in both addiction and mental health settings. Outcomes include decreases in morbidity and mortality, as well as empowerment of service recipients.
Credentialing provides much-needed standardization to the rapidly growing profession of peer recovery support. Becoming credentialed demonstrates competency, by having professional expertise and qualifications verified by an independent evaluator. It recognizes achievement of a standard of ethics, education, and experience necessary to provide quality recovery support services.
The Peer Recovery (PR) credential is designed for individuals with personal, lived experience in their own recovery from addiction, mental illness, or co-occurring substance and mental disorders.
The certification is administered on a jurisdiction level by an IC&RC Member Board. Each IC&RC Member Board has unique procedures, requirements, and documents – so specific questions about pursuing a Peer credential should be directed to your local board.
it would seem that taking a chance with an idea is not just a single move. as part of the process of developing a peer to peer training mechanism to add to the community knowledge here, it becomes apparent that more than one chance is offerred and at more than one time. the process could be compared to a game board of some sort where moves are consistently appearing and decisions need to made and chances taken. it is certainly more intricate than imagined and more engaging than originally conceived.
this month’s moves have not completed, but thus far september has seen rushing consulting make the following moves:
- register the name “recovery coach academy colorado”
- inquire with an organization that offers family peer support trainings about collaborating.
- met with a samhsa grant funded organization to discuss employing and supervising a peer.
- met with a recovery coach about expanding the trainings to include individuals that don’t “need” jobs.- expanding the scope of the perception and purpose of recovery coach trainings (no doubt another blog post here)
- discussed joining the board of another organization for peer support for musicians.
as a participant with the advisory board for the peer credentialing committee for colorado, received the following update:
As most of you are aware, at the last large peer stakeholder meeting we agreed to form two subcommittees to help push the peer credential forward. One subcommittee will help develop a list of trainings that the peer board will accept for completion of the credential training requirements. The other subcommittee will help develop a marketing plan. If you would like to be involved in either of these subcommittees and have not already volunteered, please let me know. We are planning to start subcommittee relatively soon, so I’ll be finalizing each of these groups.
For those of you who have not been directly involved in peer board meetings, a quick update on our activity. The Board examined standards of the peer credential in other jurisdictions and finalized the standards for Colorado. We kept pretty close to the standards discussed in the large group, but will be changing the name of the credential based on some flexibility that IC&RC is likely to grant jurisdictions next month. I will keep you posted on the developments.
We are planning to use a stand-alone web site and are examining several web site options. I’m also working with our programmer to modify our existing database to accept the peer credential. Hopefully, this should all happen fairly soon and our target is to start a grandfathering period for the credential by the end of the calendar year.
if you are interested in ic&rc and the credentialing concept, you can learn more about what they do at their site.
the film “groundhog day” is a fairly well-known metaphor for addiction because the lead character is stuck in a world with the same events and the same outcome every single day. commonplace dogma in the recovery world is that it’s insanity to do the same thing over and over expecting different results i.e. if your life is in disarray from your partying, and continue drinking and using in the same manner, all the while believing a different outcome will happen is a form of insanity. it’s not until bill murray starts to make changes that the outcomes start to change too and when he changes everything, his whole world and the outcomes transform.
in working in the treatment community for about a decade, an irony has revealed itself to me. treatment providers and the governmental organizations that oversee those services seem to be living in that very same “groundhog day”. the federal monies commandeered to address coloradans with behavioral health issues continue to be dispersed in mostly the same same way as earlier years even when the outcomes do not show improvement. certainly that is how mass incarceration became such an easy solution. putting someone in prison becomes an illusion which gives the appearance that the problem has gone away when the problem has really only been hidden from plain view.
so the insanity is revealed when the treatment provider community keeps doing the same things every day expecting a different outcome. there is dialogue that peer involvement (proven success) is important from every level of our state officials. but there is little evidence of anything more than talk. our mental health and substance programs may have bits and sprinkles of peer support, however the system remains unchanged and continues to do things in the same fashion expecting different results.
rca colorado remains committed to a more foundational change to our system of prevention, treatment, and recovery. we fully believe that people who have found personal success have equally important input into our system as do the folks who are trying to run businesses and manage p & l’s. and we are excited about this challenge.
in moving forward with the recovery coach training process and the collaboration with colorado mental wellness network, it becomes clear that there are volunteer needs on many levels. it is going to be interesting, and challenging, and exciting to begin and take part this process. we hope to meet some fantastic folks along the way. we need you.
rca colorado needs:
- a space/building to house meetings, coaching, job support, trainings, board meetings.
- board members with business or development savvy.
- board members with mental health, recovery, family involvement, legal system, insight and experience.
- diverse community participation at all levels.
- empathetic recovery coach mentors .
- internet tech and internet design gurus.
- passion for recovery and recovery support.
- healthy desire to change the system.
- creative brain(s) to document the next chapter of our story.
- fundraising champions.
this is certainly a very first step in mapping out the future of rca colorado. if you are interested in starting a conversation with us or participating, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. our community deserves a change and we hope to be a positive part of that evolution.
in lieu of posting a clip of “groundhog day” i am opting for the video for “love on the run” by chicane- it’s good 90’s electronica, and the video is really cute.
the committee assembled to push through the peer credential for colorado has deemed that 60 hours of education is the minimum requirement. as a peer run organization, colorado mental wellness network has committed ourselves to delivering peer run trainings for peer support specialists. cmwn has developed its own curriculum for peer specialists in the mental health field.
i was fortunate enough to bring the recovery coach training from ccar to round out their offerings more. the ccar training runs about 40 hours and is certainly short of the 60 required for credentialing. i have been in discussion with ccar and am bringing on 2 additional trainings- ethical considerations for coaches and spirituality for recovery coaches.
here is ccar’s description of the ethical considerations:
Ethical Considerations in Recovery Coaching: Version 2.0 Description:
Recovery coaching as a peer-to-peer recovery support services has grown exponentially over the past four years. Over 2000 coaches have been trained using the CCAR Recovery Coach Academy alone. The issue of ethical consideration has been discussed in many circles yet formal training has been lacking. This two day training addresses this critical need. Using presentations, small group work, role play and a decision making matrix many areas will be addressed including: defining the coaching service role and functions, coaching standards, issues of vulnerability, ethical decision making, performance enhancement and legal issues. Space is limited.
- Understand what ethics are and why ethics are so important when performing Recovery Coach Services
- Learn how to stay in your lane as a recovery coach
- Understand the decision making process
- Develop guidelines for making ethical decisions
- Apply the new learning to your every day work as an RC
and here is the published description of spirituality for coaches.
Spirituality for Recovery Coaches
CCAR is thrilled to announce a new training program as a supplement to our nationally recognized Recovery Coaches Academy, entitled. Spirituality for Recovery Coaches. While training the RCA, CCAR has been gathering feedback and making plans to offer additional training opportunities for Recovery Coaches. Deciding on which topics to cover for follow-up trainings has been difficult. As the role of the recovery coach begins to take shape across the country, it became evident to us that recovery coaches need to would like to know more about themselves before fully supporting and mentoring someone else.
The purpose of this session is to help you as a recovery coach understand what spirituality is and how you would help someone in their own process of discovering spirituality. This two day course will help you explore your own beliefs and values as it comes to spirituality. This training will provide you with the tools and resources needed as a recovery coach so you can speak about spirituality in a way that is accepting of others.
Just like the RCA, this training is going to challenge you in a way that helps to promote your own understanding of spirituality. We believe that spirituality plays a large part in recovery and hope that by completing this course, you will be able to help those you serve understand, accept and embrace spirituality for themselves.
We will be working to adapt the offerings we currently have to meet the requirements for the new colorado credential. my desire is to include several hours of record keeping and documentation- or perhaps we will just create a separate class. there is also a need for family support ideals and nuances to be included, especially since our official credential will be multi-disciplined.
either way- we have some work ahead- and sometap dancing to do. and in the meantime, we will continue to change the conversation from treatment issues to re-integration issues. long term recovery is re-integration.
stay tuned- www.coloradomentalwellnessnetwork.org
Colorado is currently in the completion stage of introducing the Peer and Family Support Specialist Credential which will encompass 3 types of peer supporters-/recovery coaches, peer support specialists for MH and Family Support Specialists. The credential is a collaboration with IC & RC and will have rereciprocity for professionals with other states that are IC & RC accredited.
This process brings some sense of standardization of skill levels and expectations for PSS to bring to the table when working with people and organizations. PSS for MH are already approved to be rendered payment for services through CO Medicaid programs. It is hopeful that the other types of peer support will also qualify for payment through those same Medicaid programs and create more employment access for PSS through State funded agencies.
COPA- The Colorado Providers Association is hosting the PSS credential. Input in the development of the credential was given through an Advisory committee made of up providers and peers from multiple modalities around the state. A smaller alternate committee has been created to see the credentialing process through to virtualization.
Here is the latest update about the process and where it stands.
- We agreed to keep the standards for the credential the same as decided by our larger group.
- It was decided to slim down the name because the acronym was very big. Peers will be called Certified Peer and Family Specialist.
- We are looking for individuals who would be interested in creating a “stand alone web page.” We are looking for a full commitment from an individual. If you are good at this and have had experience, please send to Matt Sundeen some web portals you have created. Think about what a bid might be for you.
- Matt will be reaching out to ask for 2 committees to be put together. One for “Marketing” and one for “Acceptable Trainings”. If anyone is interested please let Matt know which committee you would like to participate on. Matt’s e-mail address is email@example.com if interested. \
- The next meeting is September 30th.