The Role of a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS)

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The Role of a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist

And Their Importance in the Recovery Process

In the multifaceted journey of recovery from substance use disorder (SUD), the role of a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) stands out as uniquely impactful. A CPRS is an individual who has lived experience with substance use and recovery, and who has undergone training to support others on their recovery journey. This peer-based support model leverages the power of shared experiences, fostering a sense of understanding, trust, and hope that is often unparalleled by other forms of support.

The role of a CPRS is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Shared Lived Experience: One of the most significant aspects of a CPRS’s role is their ability to relate to clients through shared experiences. This connection can break down barriers of stigma and isolation, creating a foundation of trust and mutual respect (Eddie et al., 2019).
  2. Empowerment and Hope: CPRS professionals model the possibility of long-term recovery, offering hope and demonstrating that recovery is attainable. They empower individuals by sharing their own recovery stories, which can be profoundly motivating and inspiring (Reif et al., 2014).
  3. Supportive Relationships: Building a supportive relationship with a CPRS can provide individuals with a consistent and reliable source of encouragement and accountability. These relationships often extend beyond the scope of clinical interactions, offering a more holistic support system (Bassuk et al., 2016).
  4. Resource Navigation: CPRS are well-versed in local resources and can assist clients in navigating the often complex landscape of treatment options, support groups, housing, employment services, and other critical resources that support recovery (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration [SAMHSA], 2017).

Certified Peer Recovery Specialists play an indispensable role in the recovery process. Their unique combination of lived experience, training, and empathetic support offers hope and a practical lifeline for individuals battling substance use disorders. By bridging gaps in traditional treatment models and fostering genuine, supportive relationships, CPRS professionals help pave the way for lasting recovery and a brighter future.

Richard, CPRS at Transformation House


Bassuk, E. L., Hanson, J., Greene, R. N., Richard, M., & Laudet, A. (2016). Peer-delivered recovery support services for addictions in the United States: A systematic review. *Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 63*, 1-9.

Eddie, D., Hoffman, L., Vilsaint, C., Abry, A., Bergman, B., Hoeppner, B., & Kelly, J. F. (2019). Lived experience in new models of care for substance use disorder: A systematic review of peer recovery support services and recovery coaching. *Frontiers in Psychology, 10*, 1052.

Reif, S., Braude, L., Lyman, D. R., Dougherty, R. H., Daniels, A. S., Ghose, S. S., Salim, O., & Delphin-Rittmon, M. E. (2014). Peer recovery support for individuals with substance use disorders: Assessing the evidence. *Psychiatric Services, 65*(7), 853-861.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2017). *Peer support and social inclusion*.

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