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Posted Monday January, 18th 2021

Peer Support: A Model for People Helping People Heal

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One of the biggest problems with good psychotherapy is the cost. It’s expensive. Yet the need for psychological help and healing grows every day. Although therapy is necessary—especially for people who suffer from major trauma, depression and other psychiatric illnesses—many of us can improve how we feel with peer support.

When we can’t afford therapy, or if we live in rural communities without access, we need other solutions that work. Just as 12-step group programs like Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Co-Dependents Anonymous, and other support groups help millions, we can come together to support each other’s mental health and emotional growth.

Releasing Core Emotions
One of the most important aspects of supporting someone’s mental health is helping them work through their emotions. As a trauma and emotion-centered psychotherapist, I help people feel better by helping them recognize, name, validate, and safely release core emotions. Core emotions are the universal, inborn, survival emotions of anger, sadness, fear, disgust, joy, and excitement.

When these emotions become blocked or suppressed (for a variety of reasons) they can cause or worsen symptoms. Releasing stuck emotional energy helps the brain become more integrated, which reduces stress and symptoms. This is a key component of how people can help one another in peer support groups.

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