Did you know that peer recovery supporters have a code of ethics? Across Ohio, our staff is asked the same question again and again – “Can I date someone I am giving peer support to?” Our hosts, Juliet C. Dorris-Williams and Gabe Howard, explain exactly why it is a bad idea (and unethical) to become personally involved with the people you serve.
There is a line between clients and providers. In addition to being unethical, crossing boundaries with those you are supposed to be helping can put your job, your certification, and even your agency at risk. Peer recovery support is still new in Ohio, and we are all responsible for helping it to grow and thrive. The misbehavior of one peer recovery supporter reflects poorly on all of us, and on the entire concept of peer support. Don’t be a hindrance to our community. Listen now as our hosts explain the importance of maintaining high standards for all of us in the field.
Highlights of PEER Voices Episode Three
4:26 – “They are vulnerable. And right in that moment there is a power differential.” (We are all peers, but we aren’t all on equal footing.)
5:14 – “That person should forever be [out] of your pool of “datable” people.” (It is never acceptable to become personally involved with those you are serving.)
7:06 – “Maybe you overstepped. What should [you] do to make it right?” (What should you do if you now realize your behavior crossed the line?)
15:00 – “Help me understand. Tell me how I am missing it.” (If you aren’t successfully connecting with a client, don’t be afraid to ask how you could see things from their point of view.)
17:22 – “I am more able to assure that they are safe and secure in the context of this building.” (Clearly defined rules and boundaries keep everyone safe, both emotionally and physically.)
20:41 – “If we have one “bad apple” peer supporter, that reflects on all peer recovery supporters.” (Our field is still new and our credibility is easily damaged. The poor behavior of a single peer recovery supporter potentially impacts the credibility of peer support as a concept.)