Peer Support Specialist Counseling Course – Fundamentals
This course is only open to attendees in the Reentry Peer Support Program. In addition to this
course, you will be provided with practicum opportunities and a mentor.



Course Objectives
At the end of the course, you will be able to:
  • Provide peer support counseling using common strategies such as active and empathetic listening, summarizing, and reflection in a trauma-informed manner
  • Apply the basic principles of motivational interviewing
  • Develop SMART goals and recovery plans 
  • Distinguish peer support from clinical care 
  • Be able to respond effectively to crises and know how and when to provide referrals to professional or emergency services
  • Set appropriate boundaries and know how to use appropriate self-disclosure 
  • Create a plan to manage your own wellbeing 
  • Describe the signs of bias and (counter)transference and how to respond to them 
  • Outline the main categories of the peer support model



Dr. Kirk Hopkins;  Dr. Stephanie Kutzen, &   Lauren  


Course Timeline and Syllabus
Orientation - Dec. 6

Introduction to the peer support specialist program

Discuss the course syllabus, objectives, and benefits

Review the evaluation tools for the course 

Session 1 - Dec. 13 Peer support role, limitations, and crisis management 
Session 2 - Dec. 20

Peer support counseling principles and techniques:

  • Agenda-setting, active listening, and empathetic responses 
Session 3 - January 3 

Peer support counseling principles and techniques:

  • Collaboration, two-way feedback, and summarizing 
  • Maintaining personal recovery as a peer support
Session 4 - January 10 Setting boundaries, using self-disclosure, and responding to bias, transference, and countertransference 
Session 5 - January 17 Stages of change and motivational interviewing
Session 6 - January 24 Wellness, goals, and recovery planning
Session 7 - January 30
  • Evaluation
  • Presenting recovery plans 
  • Practice modeling counseling techniques
Session 8 - February 7 
  • Evaluation:
  • Presenting recovery plans 
  • Model counseling techniques
  • Wrap-up, reflection, and next steps
  • Apply the principles of peer support counseling under real-life observation
  • Create sample SMART goals and a recovery plan
  • Counseling sessions and observed and evaluated using CTS-R
  • Peer evaluates the sessions using SRS V.3.0 
  • Peer support specialist can measure his client’s outcome using Recovery  Oriented Systems Indicators, (ROSI)