Peer support is a type of encouragement, advice, and emotional help provided by someone who has experienced the problems you are currently experiencing. They have “been there, done that” and can provide a unique perspective from someone who understands what you’re going through.
The primary advantage of peer support is the deep relationships that are formed. The shared experiences serve as a common foundation on which the support relationship is formed. Many times peer supports turn into deep friendships.
How is Peer Support different from counseling or therapy?
Peer support can come from anyone who has a common experience. Peer supports could be a professional relationship, but it could also come from a member of a therapy group, a friend met via online support forums, or even an already-established friend or family member. In this way, a peer support may or may not have professional training; the important part is the honest and real shared experiences.
Peer support is about conversation, dialog, and mutual understanding. There is comfort in knowing that someone else has been through the struggles you are experiencing. It focuses on the art of connecting with others, both in our joys and in our pains.
Peer support focuses primarily on assistance in daily management, social and emotional support, bridging the gap between individuals and community resources, and extended ongoing support over time.