COURSE description

75 hours, 10 days

Mental Health Partnerships is home of the Institute for Recovery.  The Institute has been authorized by the State Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services to train and certify Peer Support Specialists and Peer Support Supervisors in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania since 2007.  We have trained over 3500 Certified Peer Specialists and 1200 CPS Supervisors.  

The Certified Peer Specialist curriculum focuses on the principles and philosophy of recovery and, throughout the course relates to individuals by applying their personal lived experiences to the core skills, knowledge and beliefs of peer-to-peer support. 

Both the 10 day/75 hour CPS curriculum and the 2 day/13.5 hour CPS Supervisor course are constructed within a three-part framework, emphasizing:


Delaware County CPS Graduation

Delaware County CPS Graduation

1.    Recovery as Liberation and Independence
The content of the CPS and CPS Supervisor courses centers on the recovery model of behavioral health and on the core values and practices guiding peer-to-peer emotional and psychological wellness. By relating these concepts to the learner’s personal experiences, the courses ensure a deep and personally meaningful understanding of peer support as a tool for ongoing recovery and development. The courses are trauma informed, and rooted in an anti-oppression/liberation framework.  We believe that this training structure promotes independence, advocacy and activism, self-awareness and reflection and, a critical analysis of the impact of social determinants on the health and wellbeing of self and others.   

2. Essential Skills of Peer Support and Peer Support Supervision
The two courses promote knowledge acquisition, skill development and practice and, reflective practice as the explicit focus of the classroom experience.  The course designs incorporate adult learning strategies and principles, promote critical thinking, and self-directed and experiential learning to replicate the practice of recovery and peer support.   Additionally the CPS Supervisor course introduces recent research on core principles of peer support and peer support supervision as demonstrated through administrative, educational and supportive functions.  

3. Experiential Group Process
The primary learning modality is experiential and much of the learning occurs through direct, personal experience, rather than by lecture. The curriculum is implemented through dynamic and engaging methods, which include student teaching, individual reflection, simulation of peer support interactions, small and large group process, and instructor feedback. 

The Institute for Recovery & Community Integration offers the two day Copeland Wellness Recovery Action Planning® Seminar I training as part of the 10 day CPS course. This two day training meets the prerequisite for the 5 Day Copeland Wellness Recovery Action Planning® Seminar II Facilitator training.  

How do I get into a CPS training?

The most recent Bulletin, OMHSAS-16-12 identifies the following criteria to be trained as CPS:
(a) Be self-identified individuals who have received or are receiving mental health services for a
serious emotional disturbance or serious mental illness.
(b) Eighteen (18) years of age and older.
(c) Have a high school diploma or general equivalency diploma and
(d) Within the last three (3) years, have either maintained at least 12 months of successful work or
volunteer experience, or earned at least 24 credit hours at a college or post-secondary educational
Serious Emotional Disturbance (SED) – A condition experienced by a person under 18 years of age who currently or at any time during the past year had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or
emotional disorder of sufficient duration to meet diagnostic criteria specified within the current
Diagnostic and Statistical Manual; and that resulted in functional impairment which substantially
interferes with or limits the child’s role or functioning in family, school, or community activities.
Serious Mental Illness (SMI) - A condition experienced by persons 18 years of age and older who, at any time during the past year, had a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder that
met the diagnostic criteria within the current DSM and that has resulted in functional impairment
and which substantially interferes with or limits one or more major life activities. Adults who would
have met functional impairment criteria during the referenced year without the benefit of
treatment or other support services are considered to have serious mental illness. Substance use
disorders and developmental disorders are not included.


The Institute’s curriculum and course completion process has been reviewed and certified by the Commonwealth's Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services. The Institute’s training program ensures that Certified Peer Specialist graduates have a solid foundation to begin their careers in behavioral health. Graduates are trained and prepared to inspire and provide peer support to others in their recovery journey.

 In completing the Certified Peer Support course, participants also meet the prerequisites set by the Copeland Center for becoming Certified WRAP® facilitators.