Yesterday and today, PEERS has been hosting an eCPR certification training at our office. The Emotional CPR program is a hope-based approach to building strong, resilient, cooperative communities. Practitioners of eCPR are experts in guiding others through emotional crises. There are three simple components of the eCPR curriculum:

C stands for “Connecting” in which the peer support specialist provides a safe environment for the person currently experiencing a crisis. This is accomplished through deep listening skills, mutual respect, sharing one’s feelings.

P stands for “emPowering” wherein participants explore various wellness options with an open mind, in order to connect with a natural state of wellness.

R is for “Revitalizing”, the process of creating new life in the present moment. This can take many forms, and leads to a more engaged, hopeful existence.

In contrast with the Wellness Recovery Action Plan, which focuses on helping oneself, eCPR is used to help others through non-judgemental support, empathy, and deep listening. This training can be quite emotionally intense for participants, since it involves role-play and scenario situations that trainees must respond to successfully.

A central component of the eCPR ethos involves creating a supportive and safe space for the person who is experiencing a crisis. To this end, an eCPR practitioner seeks to engage with others as a peer, not as a health expert or professional. This helps facilitate the healing process, since it validates the crisis experience rather than suppressing or pathologizing it.

The eCPR program is facilitated and promoted by peers with lived-experience of mental health recovery. Under this program, each person — practitioner or recipient of support — is viewed as an individual with unique desires and requirements. All involved in eCPR are considered with compassion and empathy.

Interested in learning more about eCPR at PEERS? Visit our eCPR program webpage or contact karrington@peersnet.org.