wHAT IS a certified peer specialist?

A Certified Peer Specialist (CPS) is someone who has had mental health struggles and who has undergone training to use their lived experience with intention to inspire hope and to help others with similar experiences. Peer Specialists play a vital role in changing and improving the mental health system in ways that promote equality and reduce stigma thus helping people to feel heard and be treated fairly.
Our recovery stories are one of our greatest tools to offer hope, connection, support, and to create mutuality. Peer Support is an emerging field and one in which more research needs to be completed. I’ve begun writing about my own experiences as a peer specialist and here are some of the articles.


Dynamics of Sharing Lived Experience 
Oxford Academic Schizophrenia Bulletin, June 2021

Talking About Work as a Peer Specialist
Psychiatric Services, July 2021

Peer support podcasts

Psychiatry and Society – Peer Work

In this segment, Steve sits down with his good friend and former student Doctor Reuben Hendler, and discusses some of the nuances of Peer Specialist work and how to provide good care as a peer specialist.

Listen to the Psychiatry and Society Peer Work Podcast


Mutual Mental – Holding the Hope

In this podcast, Steve sits down with his good friend Patrice (CPS) and co-host Hassan (CPS) to collectively discuss peer work as peer specialists and the nuances of care and stigma within society.


  • Human experience language
  • Cross-cultural partnering
  • Group facilitation and self-help skills
  • Power, conflict, and integrity
  • Creating the life one wants
  • Dealing with fear
  • Mutuality
  • How to be a change agent and be “in” but not “of” the system