Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Experiences of Peer Support Specialists Supervised by Non-Peer Supervisors
by Forbes, Joanne L., Ph.D., Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Health Professions, 2020, 149; 27964985
Abstract (Summary)

This qualitative study examines the experiences of peer support specialists (PSS) supervised by non-peer supervisors (NPS) in adult community mental health settings. Participants completed a demographic survey designed to address inclusionary criteria. From those eligible, a random number generator was used to select participants who would be interviewed using a semi structured interview guide. The critical incident technique was used to elicit memorable experiences of supervision. Data was analyzed thematically. Twenty interviews were completed before saturation was reached.

Thematic analysis revealed eight major themes which are best understood in the context of the ongoing transformation of mental health services from the traditional medical model to a recovery-oriented model. Those eight themes were supervisor attitudes, role integration, trauma informed supervisory techniques, facilitative/supportive environment, perspective taking, mutual learning, opportunities for peer networking and the desire for a supervisor who was a more experienced peer support worker. The supervisor’s attitude was a critical factor in providing what PSS perceived as adequate supervision. An attitude of respect for the peer role combined synergistically with positive nonjudgmental communication to create a facilitative/supportive environment. That environment supported autonomous functioning which in turn worked to address role integration and suggest trauma informed supervisory techniques.

Peer Support Specialists are integrating into a mental health service system transitioning from a medical model to a recovery-oriented model of care. PSS are the embodiment of recovery. The experiences of PSS reflect the challenges inherent in role innovation. NPS are the necessary guides who assist the PSS in navigating a system not yet aligned with peer values. If the mental health system is going to successfully become recovery oriented, then NPS need a unique skill set to support those with lived experience whose recovery can help point the way.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Pratt, Carlos W.
Commitee: Eubanks, Robin, Rothpletz-Puglia, Pamela, Spagnolo, Amy
School: Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, Rutgers School of Health Professions
Department: Psychiatric Rehab & Counseling Professions
School Location: United States -- New Jersey
Source: DAI-A 82/1(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Public policy, Psychology, Counseling Psychology, Mental health
Keywords: Peer Supervision, Peer Support, Peer Support Specialist, Peer Support Worker, Recovery
Publication Number: 27964985
ISBN: 9798662438804
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