Every community has its own natural change agents. Peer Recovery Specialists focus on individuals while Community Influencers focus on system-wide change. How can we mobilize these two groups as a bridge between professionals and community to increase the impact of the limited capacity of healthcare providers to deal with the challenges of current epidemics? Can they work together as a force of change and healing while honouring their own specific set of skills?
Creating a combined workforce of peers and natural community change agents allows us as professionals to enter and be effective when resistance is strong and in cross-cultural situations that would not normally grant us access. They know their individual, family, and community scripts and themes across time and can be coached to re-story them to choose resilience rather than vulnerability. This leads to positive connectedness across the generations and across the community.
Working with both groups as a bridge between professionals and the individuals, families, and communities we serve leaves the ultimate decision-making to the people whose lives will be most affected by it. These natural change agents are able to initiate, maintain and sustain the work, long after we, as outside professionals, have left.
This interactive workshop will explore how to create collaboration between Peer Recovery Specialists and Community Influencers capitalizing on their different skills and roles. Clinical vignettes and examples in different countries and cultures will be used in illustration. Experiential exercises will guide participants to develop the skills needed to select natural change agents who will be able to support the community’s direction of choice and change without driving their own agenda and outcome.
1. Learn how to identify effective community influencers to work with peers towards system-wide community change.
2. Be able to foster collaboration between professionals, peer recovery specialists and natural community change agents and influencers.
3. Understand and honor the significance of the community’s history, current situation and their goals and objectives and their importance in the design of an effective sustainable collaborative intervention.