The mission of The Mental Health Association of Westchester County, Inc. is to promote mental health in Westchester, New York through advocacy, community education and direct services.




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Sterling Community Center Peer Specialist Training Curriculum

Course Title:  Peer Specialist Training

Frequency and Duration: Twice per week for twelve weeks, one and a half hour per class

Internship: Twelve week placement, six to ten hours per week

Course Overview:

    Description: The Peer Specialist Training will cover 24 classes, each of which is designed to impart knowledge regarding the recovery process and to teach engagement and reflective listening skills.  Additionally, the course will cover the psychosocial dimensions of a psychiatric disability and an overview of the mental health system where many participants receive services. Other topics that will be covered will include; self-care, life and WRAP planning, trauma informed care, and working within a human service agency. The Peer Training will emphasize counseling skills using the OARS approach which is a major focus of Motivational Interviewing.  Participants will engage in a variety of activities as they learn to master the “how-to” aspect of these counseling skills.  Some of these classroom activities will include warm-up exercises, handouts, homework assignments, role playing training exercises, and discussion.

    Goals:  The training is designed to assist participants in determining if becoming a Peer Support Specialist is a vocational area they would want to pursue.  Through interactive trainings and hands on experiences through an internship placement participants will learn counseling skills and the knowledge to determine their own readiness to become a Peer Specialist.  Additionally, the training can assist seasoned experienced peers in helping them fine tune their skills and add to their knowledge base.

    Expected Outcomes:  The participants who complete the training, will gain the foundation skills to become more effective listeners and responders in assisting them in becoming peer specialists.  Participants will receive a training certificate after completing the training from MHA of Westchester and be placed in an internship placement either at a mental health provider agency or an adult home.  For some participants there will be paid opportunities to work as a peer in the community as past graduates of our training who currently work as peer specialists.  The training does not guarantee paid job placements, although participants who did not pursue paid work, have indicated the training was helpful in their own recovery.

For more information on the training, please contact:
Bob Litwak, or 914.949.1212 x 7105 or Jeff Zitofsky, or 914.949.1212 x 7115.


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