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Peer Ethics and Personal Disclosure

Balancing self disclosure in a Peer Specialist role


The tools of a Peer Specialist are meant to inspire clients (and coworkers!) and demonstrate that recovery is not only possible, but probable. Working with clients from the position of a peer and using the specialized tool of personal disclosure creates rapport and helps destigmatize mental health concerns by focusing on the client as a unique and valuable person. This form of human connection allows clients to feel safe and reach their potential, but it also fosters potential for boundary crossings and risk of ethical dilemma. With some proactive practices and self-awareness, the Professional Peer can minimize the risks of dual relationships and prevent the emotional burnout that often accompanies personal disclosure as a therapeutic tool.

Learning Objectives

  • Identify concepts that assist Peers in providing trauma-informed and person-centered care services

  • Review practices of proactively setting boundaries and attending to boundary crossings once they occur

  • Practice the skills of effective self-disclosure for the client’s benefit

  • Define a structured decision-making process for managing boundary crossings and ethical violations.

  • Assess the signs and effects of compassion fatigue on a Peer Specialist and how to prioritize self-care

Board Accreditation

MN Board of Social Work   
     2.0 CEUs (CEP-275)

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