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The NetherlandsKees van Rest

Workshop Peer Support by Kees van Rest and Rob Versteegt

Presenter: Kees van Rest

Title: 'Peer Support: better than professional care?'

In this 60 minute workshop, we'll be telling about what peer support actually is: a group of people who had similar experiences, listening and thinking along, using their own experiences to help the groupmembers. It's important to realise that this peer support is not a professional care institute. 

There's no psychologist present or anything. This makes it a safe, equal environment for all involved.

We'll be talking about what a peer support group does:

  • Sharing experiences with those who've had similar experiences,
  • Helping, guiding and offering advise with daily lives,
  • Helping, guiding and offering advise with social / emotional issues,
  • Listening!
  • Making a connection to professional organisations.


In this workshop, we want to bring across the importance of peer support. After all, this is what happens during participating in peer support groups...

  • People feel safe and understood: they're with people who had similar experiences.
  • It's about the person, not the disability, affliction or addiction.
  • It's not professional help: no 'I am the professional, and you are the client'.
  • An important part of peer support, is finding your own strengths! 
  • Finding your strengths and seeing that there are others with similar problems, helps the recovery process.
  • There's a lot of freedom involved in these peer support groups: there's a relaxed, casual atmosphere.

The workshop won't be just a lecture, though. We plan to have interaction with the audience, we'll be showing the difference between the 'professional' and the peer support groups, and we'll most likely do something to upset everyone. Think about throwing statements into the audience, or showing exactly the wrong kind of professional behaviour. There's definitely be some acting involved, where we take on the roles of other people, for instance.


In conclusion:

This workshop will be approximately 60 minutes long, and will deal with the importance of peer support groups. We're both very enthusiastic about this subject, and we hope to make the audience as enthusiastic.


Kees van Rest ( 

Rob Versteegt