Peer Recovery Specialist Support Services

Recovery Process

Recovery is a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential. The belief that recovery is possible for all who experience psychiatric, traumatic, or substance use challenges is fundamental to the practice of peer support. The likelihood of long-term recovery is increased with effective support. Peer support has been demonstrated through research and practical application to be highly effective (SAMHSA).

"Peer support is when people who share these comparable experiences offer each other encouragement, empathy, hope, consideration, respect and empowerment from the vantage point of experiential understanding. The “been there, done that...” connection creates a unique understanding and eliminates the power and authority typically associated with other behavioral health roles. When people find affiliation with others they feel are “like” them, they feel a connection. This connection, or affiliation, is a deep, holistic understanding based on mutual experience where people are able to “be” with each other without the constraints of traditional (expert/patient) relationships." 

 -- SAMHSA Working Definition of Recovery, Last updated in 2011)

Certified Peer Recovery Specialists

In Virginia, an individual may support another person’s recovery (peer support) with or without Certification or Registration. The MPNNCSB Peer Recovery Services program employs Certified Peer Recovery Specialists (CPRSs) or CPRSs in training. The Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) is designed for individuals with personal, lived experience in their own recovery or experience as a family member or loved one. Peer support services are an important component in a recovery oriented systems of care. By offering insight into the recovery process based on their own experience, peers are able to provide a unique perspective to those with similar life issues. CPRSs share their own lived experiences to help others identify resources and supports that promote recovery and resilience, affirm the rights and dignity of peers and are guided by the principle of self-determination to assist others in achieving their needs, goals.

Learn more about the role of CPRS.