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Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS)


The Maine Department of Health and Human Services Office of Behavioral Health (DHHS/OBH) (formerly SAMHS) worked for several years with consumers from throughout Maine to create the State of Maine’s Intentional Peer Support (IPS) training program.  On behalf of OBH, the USM Muskie School of Public Service, Center for Learning (CFL) provides administrative support for the certification program (CIPSS). 

Intentional Peer Support is a philosophy based on four tasks used to develop and maintain relationships. Relationships enable thinking about help in a new way. Rather than focusing on problem-solving and looking at what people don’t want in their lives, peer support challenges individuals to discover their hopes and dreams. People in peer relationships learn and grow together.

Three Principles of Intentional Peer Support

  1. Learning
  2. Relationship
  3. Hope

Four Tasks of Intentional Peer Support

  1. Building connection
  2. Helping each other understand how we’ve come to know what we know (worldview)
  3. Re-defining help as a co-learning and growing process (mutuality)
  4. Moving towards what we want, rather than away from what we don’t want

Peer Support 101

Peer Support 101 is an opportunity to look into Intentional Peer Support, learn about the tasks of peer support, and hear about peer support in Maine. Peer Support 101 is a three-hour class offered to anyone interested in learning more about peer support. It is also a requirement for participation in the CIPSS certification program.

Certified Intentional Peer Support Specialist (CIPSS) Training Program

The CIPSS training program uses a trauma-informed curriculum developed by Shery Mead and the (former) Office of Consumer Affairs called “Intentional Peer Support: An Alternative Approach.”

The eight-day training is a requirement for peer Support Specialists working on the  Maine warmline, in emergency departments, Behavioral Health Homes, Riverview Psychiatric Center, Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center, and all ACT teams and Peer Centers. Topics covered include Creating Learning Environments, First Contact, Language, Listening Differently, Challenging Situations and Working in the System.

For more information about the training program, email:
If you email or call The Center for Learning, you will be redirected to contact the above email.