Peer Counselor Program

Who are we?

Safe Exchange Tampa’s Peer Recovery Project is a non-clinical peer-to-peer recovery support program that provides peer counseling services for people recovering from opioid addiction. “Peer-to-peer” means people in recovery from substance misuse and addiction. The purpose of our Peer Recovery Project is to inspire, mentor, and support substance users into and through recovery and away from substance misuse and related harm.

What is a peer counselor?

Our peer counselors provide support and advocacy with an ethic that is grounded in their own lived experience with substance use, addiction, and lasting recovery. Each peer counselor also receive specialized training and certification on providing recovery and support services. The spirit of recovery, we believe, is fostered through inclusion, community, and engagement, so many of our activities reflect these messages. Additionally, a peer counselor works with peers to connect them to resources within the community as well as mentoring peers about how to independently identify needs and access resources. Taken together, it is our goal to promote mind-body health and wellness in the healthiest ways possible.

With the empowered message of hope, wellness, and resilience, this program extends the clinical reach of treatment and dives directly into the lives of people struggling with substance use and recovery. We take a deeply personal approach to peer support in order to capture and respond to the complex and encompassing nature of the recovery process. Alongside a person-centered approach, our counseling program is also guided by a holistic understanding of addiction and recovery that involves social and cultural influences. This philosophy encourages us to be considerate of the social context and cultural systems as well as attend to the individual values that define health, life goals, and wellness. For this kind of holistic recovery, it is useful to think of recovery not as an absence of illness but as achieving health across a multitude of dimensions.

Our Philosophy— The Gold Standard Used to Measure Each Peer Conselor

Our peer counseling program is completely voluntary, mutual and reciprocal, transparent, and demonstrates equally shared power between peers. Our peer counselors are open minded, empathetic, respectful, ethical, and honest. Our peer counselors facilitate individual and social change to motivate peers to health and wellness and encourage peers to feel more comfortable in the world and with others.

We understand that recovery is individual, unique, and difficult. We also understand that the process or idea of recovery can feel impossible, scary, and isolating. Underscored in this vision is our effort to foster a sense of belonging, inclusion, and understanding to help mitigate the burdens of substance use and guide peers along their pathways to recovery.