Options for Southern Oregon, Inc
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  Peer Counseling

One of the day program's most successful components was Peer Counseling, in which consumers provided significantly meaningful services to others with psychiatric disabilities. A logical extension of the caring that developed among consumers at Options, the peer counseling program was based on the belief that these individuals have a unique perspective and great insight into the effects of mental illness. The project involved teaching basic lay counseling techniques in conjunction with practical applications in increasingly complex situations.

Because we could not locate appropriate teaching resources, Options created a training manual offering group and individual activities and published it in 1991 utilizing grant funds from The Meyer Memorial Trust. The tenets of the program have been presented at numerous conferences, and Options received a grant to produce a three-hour EdNet presentation, broadcast to more than 30 sites around Oregon. A presentation at a national conference in Albuquerque, NM in June of 1994 received positive response from mental health professionals from all over the United States.




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