Sharing your experiences with someone else who’s going through similar things can often help your recovery, whether you’re dealing with mental health or addiction issues. When it’s part of an intentional, well-designed program, peer counseling can provide a very effective form of support.
Peer counseling is just one part of an overall focus on behavioral therapy. It’s not just about breaking an addiction or treating your mental health issues. It’s also about learning how to change the habits that may keep you trapped in negative cycles. In this blog, the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center explain more about the benefits of peer counseling.
What is peer counseling?
Peer counseling is a type of counseling performed in a group setting. It’s usually overseen by a counseling professional, just to make sure the conversation stays on track and is able to be the most beneficial to the participants.
Peer counseling is generally very effective because the other participants are people who deal with the same type of struggles you do. They’re often (but not always) people who are your peers in terms of life experiences, even if they may come from different backgrounds. Being able to get support from other people who have gone through the same things you have can help you to gain a unique perspective and make you feel “included” in the discussion.
The benefits of peer counseling
It’s not simply that peer counselors know what it’s like to live with the same struggles you do, although this certainly helps. It’s that peer counselors also may be able to offer insight into the situations you face.
For example, maybe you have a difficult relationship with one or more of your family members. You can “crowdsource” possible solutions with the other members of your counseling group.
You may also feel better supported by your peers. Although your professional counselors have experience and training, not all of them have been through similar circumstances. Getting support from your peers can feel less judgmental and make you feel freer to open up.
Provides potential lasting friendships
When you’re struggling with addiction or mental health issues, you may not have a lot of people around you who truly understand what you’re going through on a daily basis. The people you meet in peer counseling could potentially become friends you’ll continue to engage with once you leave treatment.
There’s something unique about the bonds that you share with the other people in treatment with you. You’ve gone through hardships together, and you may have seen each other at your worst. Now, they can share in your endeavors to pursue a healthier future.
Peer counseling improves your skills
One of the most important life skills is being able to relate to others. When you’re in active addiction or dealing with intense mental health struggles, you probably don’t get enough experience in active listening and relating to others.
But these skills will help all of your relationships once you leave treatment. You’ll learn how to communicate better and how to actively listen to others as well. It’s not uncommon for people to decide they want to help others who are experiencing the same things, so some people may pursue a career in helping people with addiction or mental health issues. Your participation in peer counseling may be the first step toward a new career.
If you have addiction or mental health issues, getting treatment is essential. Peer counseling is just one component of a well-rounded treatment plan. Call the providers at 2nd Chance Treatment Center today to learn more, or request an appointment online.