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Principles of practice

Principles of practice for a peer supporter include:

  • Encourage self-determination by working with each peer to co-create and explore options rather than simply providing direction.
  • Interact in a manner that keeps the focus on the peer rather than themselves and maintains a peer relationship that is open and flexible, making themselves available as necessary to a reasonable extent.
  • Use appropriate language and interact in a manner that focuses on the peer’s requirements.
  • Share aspects of their experiences in common in a manner that is helpful to the peer, demonstrating understanding.
  • Practice self-care, monitor their own wellbeing and be aware of their own needs for the sake of their mental health, recognising the need for health, personal growth, and resilience when working as a peer supporter.
  • Use appropriate communication skills and strategies to assist in the development of a relationship that cultivates trust and openness.
  • Empower peers to work towards identifying an appropriate time for ending the relationship with the peer supporter.
  • Respect professional boundaries of all involved when exploring with the peer whether engaging with other professions, for example, occupational health might be appropriate.
  • Facilitate connections and refer peers to other resources whenever appropriate.
  • Know personal limits, especially in relation to dealing with crises, and ask for assistance when appropriate.
  • Maintain high ethics and personal boundaries and this includes being clear between supporters and each peer about what are those boundaries, the limitations to confidentiality that need to be in place and who else in the organisation is to know about each peer’s use of the service.
  • Participate in continuing education and personal development to learn or enhance skills and strategies that will assist in their peer support work.

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