Clinical Services vs. Peer Specialist Services

Clinical Services vs. Peer Specialist Services

Clinical services include diagnosis, different types of therapy, or possible prescription of medication. These services are provided by clinically trained and licensed individuals. Historically the clinical perspective has been more focused on stabilization and maintenance, but with the current transformation of the mental health system, their perspective is largely changing to focus on wellness and recovery. Clinical professionals therefore may increasingly seek to support people in achieving goals, using treatments to overcome barriers to those goals.

Peer specialist services are provided by trained and certified individuals who identify as having personal lived experience with a mental health or substance use condition. Peer specialists use their own recovery stories to provide hope, to support people in finding their own inner wisdom, and to set personal goals for recovery. Peer specialists assist individuals in developing skills and finding resources to overcome barriers to the self-identified goals.

The services of peer specialists complement, but do not replace, clinical services.