RSPS Specialty Training

The RSPS Training is a comprehensive HHSC-approved program. Students who complete the course and pass the knowledge assessment can apply for their state certification. Peer Academy hosts this training in collaboration with other training entities.


The Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS) Training is a specialized program designed to provide individuals with the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient in recognizing that there are multiple pathways of recovery and supporting the people they serve to discover what pathway works best for them by using their lived experience of recovery with substance use challenges. They do not act as a sponsor or a guide, and they do not push people to embrace abstinence or the recovery pathway they chose.

What You’ll Learn

  • Introduction and Recovery Foundations: Learn about the spectrum of attitudes towards recovery, defining and validating individual recovery experiences, and exploring the 10 guiding principles and core values of recovery.
  • Peer Roles and Ethics: Understand the roles and duties of peer specialists, including the distinction between peer specialists, counselors, and sponsors, along with ethical decision-making and maintaining role clarity.
  • Communication and Motivational Interviewing: Develop key communication skills, active listening techniques, and engage in motivational interviewing to support long-term engagement and initial recovery stages.
  • Recovery Planning and Resource Management: Assess recovery capital, create strengths-based recovery plans, map and provide resources, and engage in local and national advocacy for recovery supports.
  • Cultural Competence and Trauma-Informed Care: Gain insights into cultural competence, supporting under-served populations, addressing co-occurring disorders, managing trauma, and providing trauma-informed services.


Day 1:

Unit 1: Welcome and Introductions
– Introductions
– Creating a Safe Place for Learning
– Working Agreements
– Validating the individual recovery Experience
– Spectrum of Attitudes (William Lofquist)
– Group Discussion- Spectrum of attitude wrap-up
Unit 2: What is Recovery?
– Definition of Recovery
– SAMHSA Definition of Recovery
– 10 Guiding Principles and Core Values of – Recovery
– The roads to recovery
Unit 3: Peers and Peer Roles
Defining Peers and Peer Roles
– Brief History of Peer Roles
Unit 4: The Peer Specialist
– Activity- Creating a Peer Specialist Definition
– Bill White’s Definition of a Peer Specialist
– Peer Specialist Duties (Ethics)
Unit 5: Ethics and Homework
– Peer Specialist, Counselor, or Sponsor? (Ethics)
– Homework: Role Clarity: Case Study of Roberto

Path to becoming a Recovery Support Peer Specialist (RSPS)


Virtual (Zoom)


40 Hours ( 5 Days x 8 Hours)


9 am to 5 pm


Completed Orientation & CORE Training


Lived Experience in Substance Recovery


Laptop, Desktop or Tablet with Webcam

Registration End Date

7 Working Dates Before the Start Date



Day 2:

Unit 1: Effective Communications
– Day One Review
– Role Clarity Case Study Review – Communication Skills Quiz
– Active Listening – Keys to Engagement
– Glossary for Active Listening
Unit 2: Stages of Change/Motivational Interviewing
– Overview of the Stages of Change
– Decisional Balance
– Peer Specialist Work for Long Term – Engagement
Unit 3: Motivational Interviewing
– What is Motivational Interviewing?
– Motivational Interviewing and Initial Engagement
– Role Playing: Active Listening Skills
Unit 4: Recovery Oriented System of Care
– Definition of ROSC
– Benefits of ROSC
– Group Activity
Unit 5: Ethics
– Basic Ethical Decision Making
– Ethical Dilemmas
– Closing and Homework

Day 4:

Unit 1: Culturally Competent Recovery Support
– Day Three Review and Homework
– Warm Up Exercise-Definition of Culture
– Cultural Competence
– Self-Assessment
Unit 2: Understanding Differences
– Under-Served Populations
– Privilege and Equity
– Why Is Talking About Privilege Important
– Exercise
Unit 3: The Individual Recovery Experience
– A Note About Medication-Assisted Recovery
– Pathways to Recovery Activity
Unit 4: Co-Occurring Disorders
– Mental Health Conditions
– Recovery Support for People with Conditions
– Occurring Conditions
– Supporting Peers with Co-Occurring Challenges
– Homework Report Out and Role Play
– Stigma and Labels
– The Power of Labels
Unit 5: Continuing Ethical Standards for Peer Specialists
– Crisis Management
– Mental Health First Aid
– Response to Immediate Emergency
– Homework and Closing

Day 3:

Unit 1: Recovery Capital
– Day two Review
– Assessing Recovery Capital
Unit 2: Recovery Planning
– Strengths Based Assessment
– Documentation of the Recovery Plan
– Examples of recovery plans
Unit 3: The Peer Specialist as a Resource Broker
– Mapping and providing resources
– Referral Skills
– Resource Race Activity
– Local advocacy
– National Recovery Supports
Unit 4: Continuing Ethical Standards for Peer Specialists
– Trauma
– Types of Trauma
– Trauma informed services
– Homework and Close
– Supporting Peers with Co-occurring
– Challenges Activities

Day 5:

Unit One: Self Care
– Day Four review
– Self Care
– SAMHSA Dimensions of Wellness
– Self-Assessment
Unit Two: Using Recovery Messaging and storytelling
– Recovery Messaging
– Storytelling
– Storytelling Role Play
Unit Three: Advocating for Self and Individual
– Everyday Challenges
– Tobacco Cessation
Unit Four- Continuing Ethical Standards for Peer Specialists
– Value Based Decision Making Activity
– Harassment
– Relationship dynamics
Unit Five- Legal Issues and Peer Based Recovery Services
– Core Recovery Values and Ethical Conduct
– Role Boundary Integrity Chart
– Peer Specialist Ethics Checklist
– Next Steps


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, MHPS and RSPS 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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