Heal One, Heal Many

Heal One, Heal Many

How certified peer specialists are impacting recovery

Healing House is proud to announce that former participant Charles Lindsay, has successfully completed his certification to become a peer specialist.

After two years of sobriety, Charles is now officially able to work one-on-one with others who struggle with substance abuse. He credits his own peer counselors with helping him make it to where he is today, and now he wants to do the same for others. Healing House proudly employs 19 Certified Peer Specialists and Missouri Recovery Support Specialist credentials.

What is a peer specialist?

A peer specialist is an individual who has been successful in recovery and now uses their past experience as a tool to help others achieve sobriety through counseling. Certification requires 40 hours of training, followed by a proctored exam. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), centralized this training around the idea of five core competencies. Peer specialists are recovery-oriented, person-centered, voluntary, relationship-focused, and trauma-informed.

Why do they matter?

According to the SAMHSA, peer specialists are essential to the recovery process because they have a shared understanding of the participants’ situation and are better able to cultivate trust and mutual respect within their peer relationships. These statements are supported by research (Davidson, et al., 2012), which concludes that having a peer certified specialist involved in the recovery process:

  • Increased the likelihood of the participant staying sober and completing the  program.
  • Increased participants’ self confidence, empathy, sense of control and hope.
  • Decreased overall substance use, depression, and psychotic symptoms.

 Healing House sees evidence of these findings everyday. Charles believes that more than anything else, peer counseling should give participants hope that recovery is possible, no matter how dire the circumstances. At Healing House we are a family, where giving back becomes part of the journey. This chain reaction means that when you give to help one person heal from addiction, you are actually helping to heal many, many more.