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Evaluation of an evidence-based practice training for peer support workers in behavioral health care

Service provision by peer support workers (PSWs) is growing within the US behavioral health care system and research is needed to determine appropriate training and support. This study examined responses of 15 PSWs and 20 licensed behavioral health practitioners (BHPs) who participated in a one-day training of seeking safety (SS). PSWs and BHPs provided post-training feedback on satisfaction with the training and their perceived comfort level in implementing SS. Overall, PSWs and BHPs reported high satisfaction and comfort, and except for one significant difference, PSWs benefited from the training to the same extent as BHPs. Compared to BHPs, PSWs reported significantly greater improvement in their counseling ability within the SS model as a result of the training. Considering the varying levels of education and training within the field of PSWs, our results suggest that a “one-size fits all” approach to professional training may be acceptable; however, further research is warranted.