OPDI Training

 Overview of training content

OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ Program involves five full days face-to-face in the classroom with two trainers. There are many individual exercises, group exercises and role plays in class time, and daily written reflections assigned as homework. Prior to classroom training, a required introductory module is delivered via one webinar by OPDI staff. Then, some content from other modules is introduced in subsequent webinars with trainers. Homework (information gathering) is assigned to be brought for use in class. Participants are evaluated by the trainers, and can earn Level 1 or 1R recognition document. Level 1 means the person successfully completed the classroom training. Level 1R means the trainer recommends them to continue on and do an internship in order to earn their Level 2, or “OPDI Certified Peer Supporter”.

Introductory Webinar: “Beginnings”

  • Introduction
    • The policy backdrop of peer support in Ontario
    • The operative word is Peer
    • Peer support in consumer-run groups
    Ontario Peer Development Initiative
    Build your reference library
    Homework Assignment: Your Local C/SI or PSO
    • OPDI Peer Support Training Project
    • OPDI Peer Support Training Program

    Participant Workbook
    • Participant Expectations
    • Confidentiality Agreement
    • Participant Profile

    Participant Reflection
    • Comfort Agreement
    • Training Program Content Outline

Module #1: Peer Supports

  • Defining Peer Support
    • Various definitions, OPDI definition
    • Describing peer support

    Sharing experiences of peer support
    • Benefits of receiving
    • Benefits of offering
    • Peer’s perspectives on benefits of offering/receiving

    Establishing peer support
    • Recognizing PS
    • Our vision
    • Our intention

    Journal reflection



Module 2: “Role of the Peer Supporter”

  • Peer Supporter Core Competencies
    • Distinguishing Attributes, Knowledge and Skills
    • Core Competencies of the Peer Supporter

    Module Journal Reflection

Module 3: “Exemplifying Peer Support”

  • Exemplifying Peer Support
    • Introduction
    • Principles

    Cornerstones of Peer Support
    • Self Awareness
    • Self Responsibility
    • Self Care

    Module Journal Reflection



Module 4: “Recovery Inspired Peer Support”

  • Introduction to Recovery
    Recovery Concept
    • Meaning of Recovery Exercise
    • Vision
    • Definition
    • Describing Recovery
    • Evidence

    Supporting Recovery
    • Elements
    • Personal Medicine
    • Wellness Recovery Actions Plans
    • Pathways to Recovery
    • Recovery Workbook
    • Other Resources

    Journal Reflection

Module 5: “Becoming Informed Peer Supporters”

  • Becoming Informed Overview
    • Becoming Informed vs Being an Expert
    • Becoming Informed Peer Supporters
    • Knowledge Topics and Strategies
    • Core Knowledge Areas

    Becoming Trauma Informed
    • Exercises
    Becoming Suicide Prevention Informed
    • Exercises
    Becoming Substance Use Informed
    • Exercises

    Journal Reflection



Module 06: Community Minded Peer Support

  • Meaning of Community
    • Community Connections

    Cultural Competency

    Cultural Diversity
    • Diversity within Peer Communities
    • Enhancing Cultural Competency
    • Community Services and Resource
    • Gaps in Services, Programs and Organizations
    • Becoming more Informed about Communities

    Module Journal Reflection

Module 7: “Core Connecting Skills”

  • Core Connecting Skills – Listening
    • Overview Listening
    • The Experience of Being Heard
    • Skilled Listening
    • Preparing to Listen
       • Minimizing Distractions
       • Attending
       • Observing
    • Hearing the Words
    • Hearing the Feeling
    • Hearing the Message
       • Skills Practice
    Feedback Loop
    Core Connecting Skills – Sharing
    • Skilled Sharing
       • Best Ways to Share
       • Steps
       • Identifying Opportunities
    • Determining Intention
    • Self Disclosing
       • Skills Practice

    Module Journal Reflection



Module 08: “Peer/Peer Supporter Relationship”

  • Peer/Peer Supporter Relationship Overview
    • Relationships with Helpers
    Beginning the Relationship
    • Creating a Path for Peer Support
    • Making the Connection
    • Guiding the Initial Meeting
       • Core Activity Skills Practice
    Building the Relationship
    • Finding a Focus
    • Encouraging Steps Forward
       • Supporting Peer Action
       • Accompanying the Peer
       • Advocating with the Peer
    Overcoming Challenges
    • Sharing Power
    • Setting Limits
    • Overcoming Challenges
    • Resolving Conflict
    Concluding the Relationship
    • Identifying Point of Closure
    • Supporting Transitions
    • Reflecting on Experiences
       • Exercise

    Journal Reflection

Final Webinar: “Planning Your Internship”

  • Proceeding to an internship is optional, but it is required to earn the certificate. An internship is a self-negotiated arrangement to complete 50 hours giving peer support under supervision of a CSI or other mental health program. The supporter submits an internship plan to OPDI and, upon approval, sends written reflections after each ten hours is logged. Their supervisor and five participants also evaluate them. The internship webinar is offered periodically by OPDI staff to explain the process and provide the necessary forms. This allows flexibility so the learner has the information fresh when they are ready to start an internship.

    Individuals who have completed training receive a signed 1 or 1R document of Recognition, and after successfully completing their internship, an “OPDI Certified Peer Supporter” certificate. OPDI keeps a database of participants and their achieved levels, so job seekers can show their signed recognition/certificate as proof of their training, or they can invite the prospective employer to call us for confirmation they have been trained.


Test or Exam Planned

An effort, growing out of the Mental Health Commission of Canada’s Peer Project, is under way to create a national peer support certification and accreditation. This will involve creating standards, and a test or exam. OPDI remains involved with this group to contribute to the important work of creating standards, and to ensure that our training offerings meet what is needed to prepare for national certification. It is likely that for this, and for other reasons, OPDI will develop its own final test for participants.



OPDI Peer Support Core Essentials™ Program developer:
Christine Grace and Community


Participant and Trainer Manuals designed by:
Mouth Media