Peer Support

Washington State's Peer Support Program has trained and qualified mental health consumers as Certified Peer Counselors since 2005.  A "consumer" is someone who has applied for, is eligible for, or who has received mental health services.  This also includes parents and legal guardians when they have a child under the age of 13, or a child 13 or older and they are involved in their treatment plan (WAC 388-865-0150).

Certified Peer Counselors work with their peers (adults and youth) and the parents of children receiving mental health services. They draw upon their experiences to help peers find hope and make progress toward recovery.  Because of their own life experience, they are uniquely equipped to provide support, encouragement and resources to those with mental health challenges.

The peer support program is managed by the Office of Consumer Partnerships - OCP.  The OCP is guided by adult, youth and family representatives with behavioral health concerns.  Read about the goals and priorities of the Certified Peer Counselor program.

For more information contact: Jennifer McDonald, Peer Support Program Assistant, (360) 725-1718.

Join the Peer Support and Office of Consumer Partnership's Listserv.

Peer Support

Announcements
  • Beginning July 1, 2016, you must complete the new online course before being accepted into training.  Please note that:
    • You will need to send the online completion certificate along with your training application
    • You will need to complete the online course before you will be considered for training.
    • If you have an invitation to a training, you must complete the online training two weeks before any training class. 
    • The online course is required for both the Standard and Youth and Family trainings.
    • The online course is full of information you will need as a working CPC.
    • Anyone can take the course, which is posted on the Washington State University webpage. See the tab with instructions for help with completing the online course.
  • In 2017, there will be two statewide trainings. Participants from rural areas or who travel long distances will be provided lodging and meals during the week.
  • There will be a new standard CPC curriculum test beginning July 2016.  The trainings beginning in July (including the Youth/Family trainings) will include an online course. You will send in your training certificates with your application for approval. We are working hard to make the transition as easy as possible, but please be patient as we bring these pieces together.
  • The CPC course was revised in 2016 with the assistance of Boston University, and the help of many peers and providers. It is more activity and skill-based, as much of the informational part of the training will be online.  Another part of the new training is the inclusion of skills checks, designed to make sure you have the skills you need to prepare you to become a CPC.
Standard Certified Peer Counselor Trainings

Standard trainings are offered by DBHR or by BHOs to prepare consumers to become certified peer counselors.  Adults, youth and parents are eligible for these trainings.  Parents and youth on WISe teams must take a Youth/Family training.

 

2017 Trainings

  • Jan. 16-20: Spokane BHO
  • Feb. 6-10: Tacoma
  • Feb. 27 - March 3:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only) CANCELLED
  • March 6-10: Yakima (Statewide - East)
  • April 10 - 14: Great Rivers BHO - (Grays Harbor, Pacific, Lewis, Wahkiakum and Cowlitz Counties only)
  • May 8-12th: N. Seattle
  • May 22-26: Spokane BHO 
  • June 5-9: Vancouver
  • June 26-30:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only)
  • July 17-21:  Optum Pierce BHO - (for Pierce County residents only)
  • Aug. 14-18: Tumwater (Statewide - West)
  • Sept. 11-15: North Sound
  • Sept. 18-22: Spokane BHO
  • Sept. 25-29:  Burien, King County BHO - (for King County residents only)
  • Dec. 11-15:  Optum Pierce BHO - (for Pierce County residents only)

Application Process

  • Please read all the information on this web page to understand the application and certification process. 
  • To be accepted, applications must be sent with the online course completion certificate.
  • Submit applications to:
    • Jennifer McDonald
    • PO 45330, Olympia, WA 98504-5330; or
    • Fax:  360-725-2280; or
    • Email mcdonja2@dshs.wa.gov 
  • If you need other information, please call Jennifer McDonald at (360) 725-1718.
  • Applications must be revised and resubmitted one year after the original submission date.
  • We cannot predict when you will be invited to a training.  We fill trainings as possible during the year (no calls, please).
Youth and Family Certified Peer Counselor Trainings

These trainings are focused on preparing youth and parents to be certified as peer counselors.  The trainings cover the same material as the standard training, and the state test is required for both.  

Beginning in July, an online course will be required as a pre-requisite for training and there will be a new test.

Washington State University provides youth and family training.  If you are a parent or youth working on a WISe team, you may only apply for a youth/family training.  Other adults, parents and youth may apply on a space-available basis.  

2017 Trainings

  • Jan. 9-13:  Vancouver (Cancelled)
  • Feb. 6-10:  North Sound
  • March 13-17:  Kennewick
  • June 12-16: Spokane (Regional)
  • July 31 - August 4: Tacoma
  • October 16-20: King County

Where to send applications:

  • Jennifer McDonald
  • POB 45330, Olympia, WA 98504-5330
  • email: mcdonja2@dshs.wa.gov 
  • Fax:  360-725-2280

Local applicants will be prioritized for regional trainings, but all completed applications will be reviewed for consideration.

For questions about the Youth/Family trainings, please call Jennifer McDonald at 360-725-1718 or WSU at 360-350-0893.

Peer Counselor Training Application

After completing this application, send it to the address, email or fax listed on the form.  If you are emailing the form, you may "sign" by typing your name on the signature line. 

 

Certified Peer Counselor Training Application

 

Online Certified Peer Counseling Course

How to Complete the Online Certified Peer Counseling Course

We hope you will find the online pre-requisite training course to be a positive and helpful experience. Completing the course will be important in gaining the knowledge and skills you will need as a Certified Peer Counselor - CPC.  There is much information in the online course, including material that is not covered in the 40-hour training. The CPC test will cover information from both the in-person and the online course.  Please complete the online course thoroughly, take notes, and review the information as you are able.

When you have completed the online course, please email a copy of your certificate to mcdonja2@dshs.wa.gov.  We must have a record of completing the course before confirming registration to any class beginning July 1. This applies to the youth and family training and the standard training.

Instructions

The link to the course is:  https://www.wabhwc.com/peer-initiatives

  1. Click on "ADD TO CART" to get started
  2. Click “CHECK OUT" (no credit card is required)
  3. Enter Customer Information and then click "Continue to payment method" (Your order is free. No payment is required, this course is free). 
  4. Click "Complete order" 
  5. You will receive an email from BHWC Training Center confirming your order, followed by two additional emails shortly after that will guide you through completing your registration and accessing your student Dashboard and the online CPC training modules. 

Scroll down to see each of the course modules.  Each module has audio, and there is a written script to read in Resources.  You may also print the script for further reference.  When you have finished the course, you may print the certificate or send a screenshot of the certificate, pasting it into a word document and sending it to Jennifer McDonald at DBHR by:

  • Mailing it to DBHR, PO Box 45330, Olympia WA 98504;
  • Faxing a copy to 360-725-2280; OR
  • Emailing it to McDonja2@dshs.wa.gov.

We appreciate your questions and comments about your experience with the course. If you have questions about course content please contact Jennifer McDonald at 360-725-1718.   

Peer Counselor Tests

 

  • Space is limited for each exam. Priority is given to participants in that weeks traning. 
  • Registration is accepted on a first-come basis.  
  • For information and to register for all tests, please contact Amelia Chirhart at amelia.chirhart@wsu.edu or (360) 350-0893. 
  • Let Amelia know if you need a reasonable accommodation to take the exam. You may be asked to provide written support for your request.

2017 Test Dates

February

10 Tacoma CVAB
10 Mt. Vernon Youth and Family

March

10 Yakima CVAB
17 Richland Youth & Family

April

14   Great Rivers BHO

May

12 North Seattle CVAB

June

9 Vancouver CVAB

July

10 Burien King County BHO
26 Optum Pierce County BHO

August

18 Tumwater CVAB

October

9 Burien King County BHO

December

20 Optum Pierce County BHO
Continuing Education for Peer Counselors

General Continuing Education

  • Co-occurring Disorders (Sharon Holmes): June 5-6, Centralia/ Aug 10-11, Burien/Sept. 21-22, Seattle
  • Co-occurring Disorders (Josh Wallace): August 10-11, 2017       Tacoma, WA
  • Ethics & Boundaries (Beth Gould): July 14, Mt. Vernon/Aug 14th, Seattle/Sept. 28, Olympia
  • Peers in Crisis & Suicide Prevention (Mary Jadwisiak): Aug 25th, Frontier Behavioral Health/Aug 28th, Mt. Vernon/August 30, Fife
  • Trauma Informed Peer Support (Helen Franklin): July 12, Spokane
  • Trauma Informed Peer Support (Nancy Dow): May 26, Yakima/Aug 29, Auburn/Aug 31, Fife

Wellness Recovery Action Plans (WRAP) Training

Intro to WRAP, Level 1

  • June 12-13, Bremerton
  • June 15-16, Yakima
  • July 24-25, Seattle

WRAP Refresher

  • July 17-19, Tacoma
  • Aug 29-31, WSU Extension
  • Sept. 5-7, Spokane
  • TBD, North Sound BHO

WRAP Facilitator Training (Level 2)

Requirements for Level 2 training: Participants must have completed a Level 1 Introduction to WRAP or have taken an eight week class and be using their own personal WRAP.  WRAP facilitator training is limited to peers only.

  • June 19-23, WSU Extension
  • Aug 14-18, Bremerton
  • Aug 14-18, Yakima
  • Sept 25-29, Auburn

For more information and to register go to http://holdingthehope.com/events/ or contact Odie@holdingthehope.com, (908) 484-4968

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Certification