The stepped model of peer provision practice: capturing the dynamics of peer support work in action
The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice
Article publication date: 10 December 2018
Issue publication date: 20 March 2019
In recent years, the employment of peer providers (PPs) has grown with the wider acceptance of lived experience expertise in recovery-oriented service provision. Although its effectiveness, theoretical foundations and factors influencing outcomes have been studied, a framework accounting for the dynamics of the PP–peer relationship has yet to be formulated. The purpose of this paper is to employ a qualitative approach to explore the journeys undertaken by PPs with their peers and form it into a cohesive framework of understanding.
In-depth interviews were conducted with PPs who were employed specifically to use their lived experience in supporting someone through mental distress. These interviews were recorded, transcribed and coded using a framework approach. To enhance rigour, this framework was verified with the latter author and three other participants recruited after data analysis.
A stepped model of peer provision practice was crafted to capture the non-linearity of recovery, as well as the PP–peer relationship. This model is founded upon trust in the milieu of shared experience and involves: creating a safe place – a stage of building trust and rapport to a point where a PP is given permission to enter into their peer’s headspace; a working partnership – stage of setting and working towards goals collaboratively; and stepping out – a stage marked by the termination of the PP–peer relationship.
This paper proposes a tangible framework underpinning the dynamics of peer provision practice, which furthers our understanding and complements current practice models in peer provision services.
The authors would like to acknowledge the contribution of an Australian Government Research Training Programme Scholarship in supporting this research. The authors would also like to thank Adjunct Professor Beverley McNamara for her input into formulating the framework for this paper.
Zeng, G. and Chung, D. (2019), "The stepped model of peer provision practice: capturing the dynamics of peer support work in action", The Journal of Mental Health Training, Education and Practice, Vol. 14 No. 2, pp. 106-118. https://doi.org/10.1108/JMHTEP-09-2018-0052
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