Friday, January 27, 2023

Comments by Lael

Showing 1 of 1 comments.

  • I’m currently involved, in a small way, with helping to revise the peer support certification process for the State of Kansas, and I have been involved with training peer specialists in the past–and I probably will be in the future as well.

    The question of whether or not one can get paid and stay peer is one I contend with literally every day. Rather than getting defensive about it, I chose to address it directly in the training, for a couple of reasons: first, as an educator I believe in an open and transparent pedagogy, and second, our trainings were also attended by those who work and volunteer in our state’s independent consumer-run organizations (CROs), and I beleive it is right to honor their experience.

    And I can certainly understand Mr. Hendry’s taking offense at having one’s “peerness” questioned. I went through the same thing when I started doing capacity-building work with CROs. But these folks had a point. I’m a middle-class, middle-aged, white male with a good education, entirely unlike most members of our state’s CROs. But I discovered something: peerness cannot be asserted; it must be established. So I acknowledged my privilege, and then I told my story. And then I shut up and listened to the stories of those I was serving. Peerness is relational. It’s about doing the work to create a space you can share.

    As far as the assertion that a national certification is necessary because that’s how we get taken seriously by insurance companies and professional organizations goes, that’s a textbook case of cooptation by (not exactly) subtle coercion, and it helps make Ms. Davidow’s case. Rather than bowing to this pressure, we must create a set of values and principles truly our own, rooted in lived experience, and honoring what we know to be right. And we must live by those principles and values to the best of our abilities.

    For me, that means having some uncomfortable and possibly career-limiting conversations with clinicians and administrators, and coworkers and advocates as well. I know I won’t always win their hearts and minds, but I feel I’ve got a duty to try.