The CARES Toolkit — the Essential Skills Training Program

The Struggle is Real…

Being a peer supporter is a tough role to navigate alone. The system is based on clinical principles and hasn’t completely caught up to the need for people like us who have lived recovery and know what it takes to get well.

Peer Supporters provide a unique service and point of view that has been previously missing in the clinical environment. We have lived through the treatment experience and are in active recovery. We know what our clients are going through in a way that clinical experts cannot. Unfortunately, many of us are working in isolation and may not have received comprehensive training in all the skills required to successfully manage the many unique situations we face.

Because we are on the front lines supporting our peers, it is essential that we have a proven set of skills and techniques we can rely on to help our clients succeed. 

That’s why we created the CARES Toolkit —Essential Skills for Peer Supporters.
It’s the first online toolkit created by peers for peers

Pre-Order the CARES Toolkit

Discounted $299 Price has been extended!

Order Now Before Price Goes up to $599!

Essential Skills for Peer Supporters

Training and techniques for providing strengths-based recovery support for your clients.

Why It Works

The CARES toolkit was created by two Washintgon state Certified Peer Counselors who also happen to be expert trainers specializing in Peer Support basic and on-going education.  The toolkit relies heavily on studies of peer support services conducted by the University of Washington .

The 5 Categories of Peer Support Work

Five general categories were identified in the studies and we worked with specialists in these areas to create twelve training modules that fit into these 5 categories essential to every Peer Supporter. They include:

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Advocacy Skills
  3. Recovery & Resiliency Skills
  4. Empowerment Skills
  5. Skills Specific To Working In A Professional Environment


The CARES Toolkit Modules

Inside each module are 1-hour training sessions complete with supporting resources and materials. The specific topics include:

  • Advocacy For Peers You Support
  • Strengths Based Peer Support
  • Ethics & Boundaries
  • Group Facilitation
  • Culturally Informed Peer Support
  • Relationship Building
  • Suicide Safe Peer Support
  • Advocating For Yourself At Work
  • Documentation
  • Wellness & Balance For You & The Peers You Support
  • Trauma Informed Peer Support
  • Telling Your Story

See full details on each of the training modules and see the bios of the trainers

Course Details

Each of the 12 modules covers the hard and soft skills training specific to recovery coaching and support. They include:

  • A purpose statement as to why the skill is essential to the Peer/Coach relationship
  • An overview of terms to deepen your understanding and insure clear communication
  •  A 60-minute training video with a subject matter expert who has tested these techniques in the field with specific information on:
    • How this topic plays a role in relapse prevention
    • How to use an approach that is accessible and works with existing substance use disorder and mental health issues
    • Including a Youth and Youth in Transition perspective  when possible
    • Use of culturally and linguistically inclusive language
  • Tools to transmit the information to the peer you are supporting or coaching
  • Exercises for skill-building practice
  • Quick tips
  • Relevant literature or apps for further learning


The CARES Toolkit

With Subject Matter Experts sharing their knowledge in a webinar format.

Laugh It Off

Speaker: David Granirer Join us as David brings his extraordinary wit and wisdom to start off our day of extraordinary learning.

Trauma Informed Peer Support

Speaker: Leah HarrisHealing from trauma happens in relationship: we know this from both neuroscience and from lived experience. And it’s why peer support is at the center of any trauma-informed program or approach. But what does it mean to provide...

Advocating for Yourself at Work

Speaker:  Maggie Taylor  Self-advocacy is vital to this relatively new field; providers within the clinical setting may struggle to incorporate peers in a meaningful way. It is the responsibility of the RSS to educate and raise awareness, as to not only...

7 Keys to Success: Ethics and Boundaries for Peer Specialists

Speaker:  Beth Gould Experience a solid overview of Ethics and Boundaries for Peer Specialists using real scenarios. This lively workshop was created using the ethical guidelines created by the International Association of Peer Supporters (iNaps), which...

Culturally Informed Peer Support

Speaker: Julianne Gale As peer counselors, we can be strong advocates for culturally specific recovery. This workshop will explore some ways to draw upon cultural strengths, increase cross-cultural understanding, and move towards healing justice in order...

Building Ethical Relationships in the Behavioral Health Field

Speaker:  Stephanie LaneThis workshop caters to certified peer counselors in rural areas. Come learn how to effectively begin, nurture, and end a peer relationship(s). Learn how to integrate into a clinical team in a non-clinical manner in order to prove...

Advocating for Others, With Attention to Young People

Speaker:  Michaela I. Fissel  This webinar will provide a basic overview of what it means to engage in advocacy when delivering peer services, approaches that enhance confidence, self-efficacy, and personal agency; along with self-care strategies...

Suicide Safer Peer Support

Speaker:  Mary JadwisiakThe peers we work with are at increased risk of suicide.  This workshop will provide you with the skills you need to identify when a person may be at risk of suicide and how to respond.  You will learn how to C.A.R.E.  Connect, Ask,...

Work Life Balance and Wellness

Speaker:  Mia CoxAs a parent partner in community mental health, being a working professional and single mom, I have learned the importance of having tools to create appropriate work/life balance and maintaining wellness. In this brief introduction to Work...

Telling Your Story

Speaker: Lorrin GehringYour story of recovery is what gives you authority. Knowing how and when to disclose your story is a big part of the effectiveness of your work as a peer. This workshop will help you sort out the power of telling your story.

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Need Some Help With Financing?

How To Get Support From Your Agency or Association

Sometimes we all need a little help with getting the boss to pay for training, so we created this template you can copy & paste in an email, so they can get the Toolkit for you and your department.

Dear Boss,

I would love to be more successful in my job and I think I’ve found a way to do that. I’d love to get this training designed specifically for Peer Supporters to give me the skills and techniques I need to be more successful with our clients.

As you know, Peer Supporters provide a unique service with the agency.  We are people who have personal experience of what works and why. We also understand what it takes for an individual to succeed in the system. Unfortunately, it is not always possible to receive comprehensive in-depth training in all the areas of competency we are required to work in to fulfill our role.

The CARES training toolkit will ensure all peer advisors have a solid set of basic skills around the five core competencies that have been identified as essential to every Peer Support Specialist.

  1. Communication Skills
  2. Advocacy Skills
  3. Recovery & Resiliency Skills
  4. Empowerment Skills
  5. Skills Specific To Working In A Professional Environment

What that means for our department is that Peer Counselors will be more efficient and better able to deliver service to our clients. Because of these efficiencies we can:

  • Increase billable hours
  • Reduce staff turnover
  • Reduce liability
  • Increase our clients’ success rates

We’ll be more knowledgeable and equipped with an array of tools to support our clients. Because some of the essential skill training includes sections on ethics and boundaries, your liability risk will go down. In addition, one of the training sessions is dedicated to documentation and clinical notation which will ensure Medicaid records are properly documented which will reduce billing issues.

Studies show that well-trained peer advisors help reduce the chance of relapses, increase adherence to treatment plans and reduce the risk of rehospitalization of our clients.

But, most importantly, this toolkit will help us support the clients as they work toward gettiing their lives back!  Recovery is possible and this toolkit will give me the tools I need to support people in achieving recovery.

The toolkit is on sale for $299 for a limited time. Please check it out.

Pre-Order the CARES Toolkit

Discounted $299 Price has been extended!

Order Now Before Price Goes up to $599!

Essential Skills for Peer Supporters

Training and techniques for providing strengths-based recovery support for your clients.

About the Creators of the CARES Toolkit

Mary Jadwisiak

Mary JadwisiakMary Jadwisiak graduated magna cum laude from Washington State University. She is an internationally sought out consultant and trainer for her expertise in behavioral health recovery and suicide prevention. Mary provides insightful and practical workshops based on 20 years of advocacy work, 14 years of work in the field of suicide prevention, and her personal recovery journey. Her consultation services provide practical tools for systems, agencies and front-line staff to apply to their work. The power of Hope is infused throughout her work.  Mary understands the power of hope because her life has been transformed by it. Her personal story of recovery from PTSD, addiction, poverty and isolation is woven though out each keynote, workshop or consultation that she provides.

Stephanie Lane MSW, MHP, CPC

Stephanie LaneStephanie Lane has been a youth engagement specialist for 15 years and works within the boundaries of system of care values and principles. She is currently the Program Director for the Workforce Development Collaborative. She has expertise in creating and licensing Behavioral Health Agencies, writing policies and procedures, training on certified peer counseling and she facilitated the creation of the Youth and Family Certified Peer Counseling training. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for CVAB, a Washington state peer run organization, Cascade Pacific Advisory Board for Medicaid Integration and Transformation and is a member of the Office of Consumer Partnerships Certified Peer Counseling Ad Hoc Advisory Committee.