Lesson 3 of 9

Defining the Concept and Values of a Peer Group


According to the NHS, and Mind, there are five core values that are essential to peer support and these are as follows:

  1. Experience in common: peers share similar backgrounds, experiences, interests, or goals.
  2. Safety: peer support has structures in place to create physical and emotional safety
  3. Choice and control: peers have choice and control in how they are involved in their peer support.
  4. Human connection: peers develop meaningful connections with one another.
  5. Freedom to be oneself: peers feel able to express and be themselves in peer support.

Please turn to p8 of your workbook and answer the following…

  • Which of these core values do you think are most important and why? 
  • How might you embed these within a peer group? 


Identifying the Characteristics of your Peer Group

Peer support is often organised for particular groups of people

This means they have at least one thing in common, for example, how they choose to identify, their chosen discipline or level of experience. Sometimes there can be a number of things that define the characteristics of your group. For example, you could set up a peer support group for young, male actors who are just out of drama school, or you could set up a group for female and non-binary comedians. Alternatively your group could be based around location for example Musicians in Liverpool.

Turn to page 10 of your workbook. 

In this task you are going to…

  • Think about things you want your group members to have in common. Add these characteristics to the ‘members’ circle  –  female, actors
  • Think about characteristics that you can’t include in your group. Add these to the ‘not appropriate for’ circle e.g. male actors
  • Consider other characteristics that aren’t essential to join your group but are important to think about. Put these in the ‘important to consider’ box. Examples include: age, experience or location. 


Now turn to page 11 of your workbook and complete the final task of this lesson.

Within the peer group you hope to lead: 

  • Who is giving and receiving peer support? 
  • What are the shared experiences?
  • Do people who join have more than one kind of experience in common? E.g. performers with young children
  • What are the challenges (if any) of focusing on these shared experiences?

You have now reached the end of lesson 3 –  Congratulations. Feel free to take a break here or move straight onto lesson 4.