Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) Training
75 hours, 10 days
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. It is constructed within a three-part framework, emphasizing:
1. Recovery as Liberation and Independence
The content of the CPS course 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 course ensures a deep and personally meaningful understanding of peer support as a tool for ongoing recovery and development. The course is 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 course promotes knowledge acquisition, skill development and practice and, reflective practice as the explicit focus of the classroom experience. Its design incorporates adult learning strategies and principles, promotes critical thinking, and self-directed and experiential learning to replicate the practice of recovery and peer support.
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 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.