Recovery Education And Creative Healing (REACH) Trainings

Quick links:

New to the Peer Recovery Community? View our Frequently Asked Questions page to learn more about the PRS and CPRS process in Virginia. View our Pathways towards Certification infographic here.

Looking for a volunteer or work placement? View our Peer Workforce document here.

Need some recovery resources due to effects of the coronavirus? Please see our webpage here.

Guidance from the Virginia Certification Board for Continuing Education during the Coronavirus situation:

In response to the unexpected, community-wide challenges of COVID-19, all late fees for recertification of the CPRS credential will be waived for the time being. Individuals with recently expired CPRS credentials have one year to return to compliance, without penalty.

View this information, along with some virtual continuing education options, here.

Creating Safer Spaces: Examining the Intersection between Mental Health & LGBTQ+ Identities

Please consider joining VOCAL Facilitators on September 29, 2020 for a 2 hour continuing education training for Virginian Peer Workforce. During this 2 hour training, facilitators will provide education surrounding some best practices for when working with members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and/or queer community. We look forward to sharing this material with all interested participants! Access the registration form here.

Peer Recovery Specialist Training in Virginia

VOCAL is one of the approved organizations which offers the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services’ (DBHDS) Certified Peer Recovery Specialist (CPRS) Training Curriculum. The 72-hour Peer Recovery Specialist (PRS) training is one step toward becoming a certified PRS. It is recommended that individuals have demonstrated at least one year of recovery from mental health and/or substance use challenges before taking this course.

To receive updates on future PRS trainings, please subscribe to VOCAL’s E-Digest. In this weekly emailed newsletter we will include all training announcements for PRS trainings that have been coordinated by VOCAL, in addition to PRS training which have been coordinated by other Virginia organizations and/or trainers. Once scheduled, information about upcoming VOCAL-coordinated PRS trainings will also be posted on this webpage.

For additional information on the entire CPRS process, please go to the Office of Recovery Services page of the DBHDS website and the Virginia Certification Board’s website. Becoming familiar with the information available on these websites can be extremely helpful to people who are new to the Peer Recovery Community.

Trauma-Informed Peer Support Training

This highly interactive, unique training brings together the values of peer support with trauma-informed approaches. Using a combination of presentation, discussion and individual and group exercises, attendees will emerge understanding how to effectively apply trauma-informed practices to peer support. The intended audience for this training are people who provide peer support, whether as paid staff or volunteers, in peer-run programs or in mainstream (non­­-peer-run) programs. As well as people who receive peer support services and/or engage in peer support that is not part of a formal program. To request this training at your organization, please contact Megan Sharkey, REACH Program Director.

Emotional CPR Training (eCPR)

eCPR is an educational program designed to teach people to assist others through an Emotional Crisis by three simple steps: C = Connecting, P = emPowering, R = Revitalizing. eCPR was developed with input from a diverse cadre of recognized leaders from across the U.S., who themselves have learned how to recover and grow from emotional crises. They have wisdom by the grace of first-hand experience. To learn more about this program, click here. To request this training at your organization, please contact Megan Sharkey, REACH Program Director.

Pathways to Recovery Facilitator Training

The Pathways to Recovery Facilitator training will be facilitated by Bonnie Neighbour, who has worked to develop this facilitator training for Virginia’s peers, and Ann Benner. This workshop will prepare experienced facilitators or group leaders in facilitating workshops with a strengths-based approach to recovery and resilience as found in the Pathways to Recovery: Strengths Recovery Self-Help Workbook. To request this training at your organization, please contact Megan Sharkey, REACH Program Director.

Peer Support Whole Health and Resiliency Training (PSWHR)

PSWHR is a training program designed to be taught to Peers who are in a position to then teach it to their fellow Peers, in individual or group settings. This approach is based on the belief that people with a chronic illness who are working to manage that condition and improve their overall health, are more effective than trained clinicians in helping others with similar experiences to make lifestyle changes. Once Peers have been through the PSWHR training, they are free to adapt the material to their local situation. To learn more about the program curriculum, view the Appalachian Consulting Group’s website here. To request this training at your organization, please contact Megan Sharkey, REACH Program Director.

SMART Recovery® Facilitator Training

Self-Management and Recovery Training (SMART Recovery®) is a not-for-profit organization with the mission to empower people to achieve independence from addictions. VOCAL, in partnership with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, invited 25 Peers from across the state to complete an online facilitator training by SMART Recovery® in 2018. To find a SMART Recovery® meeting group near you, follow this link.

WRAP for Housing Training

Housing is essential to health and well-being. With that said, getting and keeping housing is complicated. WRAP for Housing, a one-day workshop, will include discussions of: definitions of terms and existing services, tools and strategies to navigate housing options, and interview guides to help determine a person’s needs, wants, and assets in relation to housing options. The values of wellness and recovery such as, self-empowerment, self-awareness, choice, and personal responsibility, will be incorporated and highlighted throughout the workshop. This training is designed to prepare participants to support another person while they think through what they want and need in housing, utilize tools and strategies, and navigate the various systems. This event has been made possible through a collaboration between VOCAL & DBHDS: Office of Community Housing. Please contact Megan Sharkey ( with your interest.

Wellness Recovery Action Plan®(WRAP)

This program was developed by Dr. Mary Ellen Copeland and her peers in the 1990s. It can now be considered to be one of the most recognizable programs in the peer recovery field. If you are interested in learning more of the history of WRAPⓇ follow this link to the Copeland Center for Wellness and Recovery website.

Having completed a WRAP means that an individual has gone through a specific curriculum and created their personalized wellness and recovery plan. A foundational belief of the WRAP program is self-determination, and thus everyone’s WRAP is unique. Many people also view their WRAP as a living-document that is ever-evolving. This step, having completed a personal WRAP (Seminar I), is also considered the first in the pathway towards becoming a WRAP Facilitator. Click here to learn more. 

If you would like to receive updates on future WRAP groups across the state, please subscribe to VOCAL’s E-Digest. Once scheduled, information about upcoming VOCAL-coordinated WRAP groups will also be posted on this webpage.

WRAP Facilitator Training (Seminar II)

Individuals who have completed their personal WRAPand can comfortably explain the program through personal illustrations are eligible to take a WRAP Facilitator Training. These trainings are held around the state by many recovery-oriented organizations. The Copeland Center’s website is one main resource for finding information about upcoming WRAP trainings. Please subscribe to VOCAL’s E-Digest or follow us on this webpage to receive additional updates on future WRAP trainings. WRAP Facilitator Trainings coordinated by VOCAL will include an application process and fees for participation. This training’s curriculum spans five consecutive days and attendance at each day is required. Generally, VOCAL aims to offer one WRAP Facilitator training per quarter (4 times a year). Please contact Megan Sharkey ( with any questions.

WRAP Facilitator Refresher Training

The Copeland Center recommends that all WRAP Facilitators attend a Facilitator Refresher course every two years. Refresher courses coordinated by VOCAL will span three days and include an application and participant fees. Please contact Megan Sharkey ( with any additional questions.

WRAP Advanced Level Facilitator Training (Seminar III)

The Advanced Level Facilitator (ALF) Training is designed to prepare WRAP Facilitators to train others to become facilitators. This curriculum, similar to the WRAP Facilitator training, will span five consecutive days with attendance at all sessions required. An application process and participation fees will apply for ALF trainings which have coordinated by VOCAL.

WRAP Advanced Level Facilitator Refresher Training

The Copeland Center recommends that all WRAP ALFs attend an ALF Refresher course every two years. Refresher courses coordinated by VOCAL will span four days and include an application and participant fees. Please contact Megan Sharkey ( with any additional questions.

Peer-Run Nonprofit Training

Workshops, board retreats and consultations on how to start, grow and sustain a peer-run program, informed with recovery and trauma-informed values. We also facilitate intentional communication among Virginia’s peer-led nonprofits, thereby increasing their sharing of tools, resources, and technologies among one another. Contact Heather Orrock ( to learn more about this resource.

Leadership Trainings

Mental Health America of Virginia’s (MHAV) Advocacy Conference is a three day program of workshops on advocacy at the state policy level and hands-on advocacy experience at the legislature to promote consumer civic engagement. The conference focuses on skills and tools that build confidence, encourage participation and speaking in public. The conference format is two days in class and a morning at the General Assembly in Richmond, meeting legislators and advocating together for mental health awareness. Follow this linkto learn more about this opportunity.

Consumer Empowerment and Leadership Training (CELT) is MHAV’s flagship educational conference. Join others in the recovery community for four days of workshops designed to give mental health consumers important tools for successful leadership and the skills to make your voice heard. This conference is designed for those that are further along in their recovery and are contemplating involvement in their communities or in the workforce. Many organizations, facilities and localities are seeking consumers to join their boards, committees, and work groups to improve mental health services and focus on high quality services. Follow this link to learn more about this great opportunity.

MHAV’s Facilitator Training allows working and aspiring peer support specialists to learn and develop art of facilitation. This commuter-style, 2 day training will take place annually. Follow this link to learn more about the next opportunity.

Employment Trainings

SSI/SSDI & Work Incentives: Dispel the Myths! A training program offered by vaACCSES which aims to help participants understand the various rules governing SSI/SSDI Medicaid, Waiver, Medicare, and related work incentives for people with disabilities. Follow this link to learn more about this opportunity.

Workforce Skills training offered by MHAV is a commuter-style, 2 day training focusing on the soft skills you need to find a job, to present yourself to a potential employer, or to understand dynamics in the workplace. This conference is especially intended for our peers in recovery, and who may not have held full-time employment for some time. Follow this link to learn more.

Recovery Conferences

VOCAL’s Annual State Wide Peer Conference is offered each May. Peers from across Virginia gather for three days to share hope and experience, and to network and coordinate recovery efforts and systems change. The VOCAL Conference moves around the state from year to year, so that peers in different regions have the opportunity to participate. This link will bring you directly to our Conference webpage for additional information.

Pathfinders, offered by MHAV, is a conference for veterans and service members of the military. This conference is three days long and focuses on trust, self-care, healing from trauma, and intentional and effective peer support. This program provides veterans with the tools necessary to serve as change agents in their community, effectively advocate for self and others, participate in system reform, and educate policy makers. Click here to learn more.

QUEST, offered by MHAV, is a three day conference geared towards people who are newer to recovery, and interested in exploring individual transformation. The short workshops are a good introduction to the more in-depth sessions of our other conferences and will guide individuals through activities that respect self-determination, connect with the recovery community, and explore personal needs & potential. Click here to learn more.