Frequently Asked Questions
I am a "PEER" consultant... what does that mean?
Peer Work Hub describes a peer worker as "someone employed on the basis of their personal lived experience of mental illness and recovery (consumer peer worker), or their experience of supporting family or friends with mental illness ( peer worker)."
Peer work is not a new concept, but it is currently considered more of a cultural norm - and is thus more popular - in Britain and Australia.
Peer workers are not considered mental health professionals per se, although they typically have chosen the field due to having a lot of experience with mental health professionals. They are people who have experienced struggling with - and overcoming - various challenges in areas associated with mental health.
What are the advantages of using a peer worker?
I am able to focus on you, understanding your perspective, and not merely hunting for a diagnosis. Diagnoses can be helpful when medical treatment is needed, but many times people just need someone to listen to them and empathize with them, rather than pathologizing their struggles.
A peer worker is also typically more affordable than the average therapist.
I spent long hours during some of my mental health struggles trying to find a therapist I could afford. The options were nonexistent. I intentionally try to keep costs low so that this is a feasible option for people who want to invest in their mental and emotional health, but cannot pay the $150+/hour fees of licensed therapists.
Another advantage is the flexibility of having phone, video call, or online chats instead of meeting in an office. You don't have to take time off work or away from your family to come and see me. I am a phone call or keystroke away and sessions are only 45 minutes, scheduled at times that work for both of us.
Some find that they simply are in need of some additional emotional support for something they're experiencing, but the person does not feel the need to seek the formality of the therapy room.
What makes me qualified to help you?
In the end, you get to decide that. Yes - YOU! My lived experiences, and self-education, are the assets that I have to offer. But the bottom line is that you are in charge of your healing journey. So you get to decide if you think talking with me is helpful or not.
For what it's worth, I've been trained in faith-based inner healing methods - although I DO NOT use those in peer work - and I am familiar with the neuroscience regarding trauma and emotional attachment.
I have survived sexual assault, navigated difficult family relationships (including going no-contact with one of them), and escaped spiritual abuse within conservative, evangelical/ fundamentalist religious groups, as well as a smaller, cult-like setting. Healing from these things have formed the basis for the principles I live by and the concepts I can help impart to you.
Why Not Face to Face?
Firstly (and mostly), I am not set up to see people face to face, and most of my clients don't live nearby in any case. Secondly, having phone, video call, or online chat sessions makes it a lot more convenient because we can talk anywhere and at any (booked) time. Also, due to the types of trauma some people have experienced, keeping it limited to phone calls, video calls, or online chat may feel safer to them.
How does this work?
In the end, this is YOUR time. We can explore together whatever you need to. Nothing is off limits.
I do have a good deal of knowledge in various mental health issues, but like anyone, there are some areas where I will be out of my depth. If so, I'll let you know and won't pretend to have suggestions about something I don't know anything about.
To be blunt: this is about you. 100%. What keeps you up at night? What gets in the way of you living the life you want, or functioning the way you would like to?
I'm here to listen, and I'll ask questions to understand and help us move forward together.
If we're at a loss as to which way we want to go, I do have a specialized trauma recovery course that I've developed over the years that we can walk through together. We would only do this if you find it to be helpful to your situation.
I'd love to show you the ideas within it, and see if you're interested. If it isn't helping, we can go another direction.
This is your time, and we can work together to find the best way that I can be of service.
Sometimes those who support another trauma survivor (whether it's a parent, spouse, loved one, etc,) need a place to process. If this is the case, I can be there to listen to your struggles and successes, your highs and lows.