Article summary

This content analysis of open-ended survey responses compares and contrasts perceptions on supervision from supervisors with experience providing direct peer support services (PS) and supervisors without experience providing direct peer support services (NPS).A 16-item online survey was distributed via the National Association of Peer Supporters (N.A.P.S.) listserv and through peer networks and peer run organizations. Responses from 837 respondents, across 46 US states, were analyzed. Four open ended questions assessed supervisors’ perceptions on differences supervising peer support workers (PSW) as compared to other staff, important qualities of PSW supervisors, roles when supervising a PSW, and concerns about PSWs in the organization. Among NPS and PS, three major differences in themes emerged: the knowledge required of supervisors, understanding of the role of the PSW, and supervisors’ beliefs regarding PSW competencies. PS have a more nuanced understanding of the peer support worker role and the impact of lived experience in the role.

Authors: Dana Foglesong, Amy B. Spagnolo, Rita Cronise, Joanne Forbes, Peggy Swarbrick, Jonathan P. Edwards & Carlos Pratt