CORE Training for Peer Specialists

The CORE training is a 24 hour, facilitated and interactive webinar via Zoom. This training is a prerequisite to the Mental Health Peer Specialist (MHPS) and Recovery Support Peer Specialist training (RSPS).


The CORE training is a prerequisite to the Mental Health Peer Specialist and Recovery Support Peer Specialist training. This training is intended for individuals who have lived experience with mental health challenges or substance use disorders and wish to use their personal experiences to help others on their recovery journeys.

What You’ll Learn

  • Exploring the concept of lived experience, sharing personal stories, and understanding the different pathways to recovery.
  • Acquiring the principles of peer support and applying them through activities and scenarios.
  • Understanding the role of a peer professional, distinguishing it from clinical services, and exploring ethical considerations.
  • Gaining insights into equity, justice, and the impact of oppression, understanding trauma-informed peer support, enhancing communication skills, and learning about validation, asking questions, and reflection in peer-based communication.


Day 1

Module 1: Orientation

Provides an overview of the training, establishes basic group guidelines, and addresses technology considerations.

Module 2: Lived Experience

Explores the concept of lived experience, encourages participants to share their stories, and offers additional resources on storytelling.

Module 3: Recovery

Examines various definitions of recovery, explores multiple pathways to recovery, engages participants in activities to compare and contrast recovery scenarios, and provides additional resources on recovery and multiple pathways.

Module 4: Principles of Peer Support

Covers the definition of peer support, explores the principles outlined by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, emphasizes self-determination and dignity of risk, engages participants in scenario-based activities, and provides additional resources to apply peer support principles in practice.

Module 5: Role of a Peer Professional

Discusses the core components of a peer professional’s role, outlines common tasks associated with peer professionals, clarifies what peer support is not, highlights the role of peer professionals as change agents, and provides additional resources on advocating with one’s organization.

Module 6: Ethics

Explores the common ethical requirements for peer professionals, delves into ethical decision-making in the context of peer support, engages participants in ethical scenario activities, and provides a handout on the ethical decision-making triangle.

Day 2

Module 7: Equity, Justice, and Peer Support

Explores the basics of oppression, the history of systems and peer support, unpacks the concepts of privilege, equity, and justice, discusses the seen and unseen elements of culture, provides tips for approaching cultural difference as peer professionals, and offers additional resources on ethics, justice, and culture.

Module 8: Trauma-Informed Peer Support

Provides an understanding of trauma and its definition, examines individual and collective experiences of trauma, explores trauma responses and the subjective nature of trauma, discusses post-traumatic growth, emphasizes trauma responsiveness in peer support, identifies what truly helps in trauma-informed peer support, offers additional resources on trauma and trauma-informed support, and engages participants in an activity on how peer professionals may unintentionally reinforce trauma.

Module 9: Peer-Based Communication: Listening & Holding Space

Covers the concept of holding space, explores listening as an integral part of holding space and common listening roadblocks, emphasizes unconditional support in holding space, and provides additional resources on effective listening and holding space techniques.

Module 10: Peer-Based Communication: Validation

Focuses on the communication strategy of validation and engages participants in scenarios to practice validation techniques.

Module 11: Peer-Based Communication: Asking Questions

Explores the art of asking questions as a peer-based communication skill, highlights the importance of being careful with “why” questions, warns against leading questions, and provides additional resources for effective questioning techniques.

Day 3

Module 12: Peer-Based Communication: Reflection

Teaches the skill of reflection in peer-based communication and provides an activity using an observer sheet to practice reflection.

Module 13: Peer-Based Communication: Informed Consent

Covers the importance of informed consent as a peer-based communication skill, addresses informed consent in practice with a focus on mandatory reporting and considerations for peer professionals, discusses the duty to warn as another reporting law, explores the use of the Ask-Share-Ask model in informed consent, engages participants in an activity on skillful sharing of information, and provides additional resources on informed consent and mandatory reporting.

Module 14: Crisis Situations

Explores the understanding of the crisis and its relation to peer support practice, clarifies the limits of peer professionals in crisis situations, and provides additional resources on crisis and peer support to ensure participants know they are not alone in handling crisis scenarios.

Module 15: Self-Care & Wellness

Focuses on self-care practices for peer professionals, addresses compassion fatigue and its warning signs, explores options for building an easy professional self-care practice, takes a nuanced look at self-care, provides additional considerations for self-care and wellness, and engages participants in an activity to put self-care into action.

Module 16: Conclusion

Provides an overview of organizations in state infrastructure for peer services, offers an overview of the certification process for family partners, mental health peer specialists, and recovery support peer specialists, as well as reentry peer specialists.


Path to MHPS & RSPS Certification


Virtual (Zoom)


24 Hours ( 3 Days x 8 Hours)


9 am to 5 pm


Completed Orientation


Lived Experience in Mental Health or Substance Abuse


Laptop, Desktop or Tablet with Webcam

Registration End Date

7 Working Dates Before the Start Date




Peer Academy Scholarships

At Peer Academy, we firmly believe that money should not be a barrier to education. Therefore, we offer scholarships to students in need. Our goal is to find people interested in using their personal lived experience with mental health challenges and turning them into the best possible Peer Specialists.

  • 

    CORE and MHPS Supplemental Training Scholarships

  • 

    Access to our Peer Career Mentors

Why Choose Peer Academy?Β 


Online Training

Peer Academy’s training sessions are conducted entirely online, making them accessible from anywhere with a computer and reliable internet connection.


Certified Trainers

Our trainers at Peer Academy are certified and experienced peer specialists, dedicated to ensuring your success in the training program.


Exclusive Financial Aids

As a student enrolled in Peer Academy, you’ll have access to exclusive financial aid, stipends, and internship opportunities.

Student Story Highlights


β€œI went through the MHPS program at Peer Academy and I can’t say enough amazing things about it. Working in a healthcare setting with mental health and substance abuse clients, the Peer Academy provided me with multiple new resources and healthy ways of navigating communication with these clients. I have also found new relationships with others in the program as well as a safe space to express myself and ask those uncomfortable questions.

Each individual trainer, group leader, supervisor was always readily available to help and answer any questions I may have had. The most rewarding part of going through the Peer Academy was I was able to learn more about myself and how I can be that vessel of hope for others that may need it.

I am truly honored to have gone through this program and I highly recommend it to anyone wanting to grow within the Peer Specialist program.”

Cassidy Goodrum Lambert


β€œJoining Peer Academy was a transformative experience in my journey to becoming a great peer and supporter. The comprehensive training and hands-on activities provided me with the essential skills and knowledge to connect deeply with others. The supportive community at Peer Academy fostered a sense of belonging and encouraged continuous learning and personal growth.

Thanks to their guidance, I am now more confident, empathetic, and effective in my role, equipped to make a meaningful impact in my peer interactions. Peer Academy truly set me on the path to success.”

Rodney Brown


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