Professional trains group peer leaders


Will Granger ’18, Charles Flippen ’18 and Kevin Wesel ’17 (left to right) laugh as they reflect on their Peer Support training session. Mark Rosner spoke to the team.

Gabi Berchtold

Peer Support trainees and leaders participated in a training event at the Upper School on Nov. 19. The four hour event featured Mark Rosner, the director of the Council in Schools program at the Ojai Foundation, who spoke to trainees and leaders in Chalmers Lounge.

Attendees learned about ways to better structure their groups and ideas and techniques to further improve the program.

During the training session, Rosner taught the council method to the Peer Support leadership group to further their knowledge on the tactic so they can use it in group.

“It’s a specific training that’s called the council training, which trains Peer Support leaders and trainees in a certain way to supplement what they do in group by giving them a different technique,” Peer Support Faculty Advisor Luba Bek said. “It’s very personal and it’s very spiritual because it’s taken from the Native American tradition of sitting in a circle.”

Students were able to use the meeting as an opportunity to develop their leadership skills to use in their Peer Support groups.

“I think it went well, and it was really helpful for us to have more training and more of a formal training in council in Peer Support,” Lexi Block ’17 said. “[Rosner] gave us a lot of insight on how to make council better and more powerful for the people that participate in it, and it really brought out some strong emotions in us.”

Attendees participated in exercises to learn about the council method in an immersive and interactive way.

“[The speaker] gave us examples and we role-played one of them,” Matteo Lauto ’18 said. “Council is a good way to get group going and open up the floor for a more flowing conversation.”

Students said they enjoyed the opportunity to come together as a larger group of Peer Support leaders, which is something that they have not been able to do since the peer support retreat this fall.

“We grouped closer together as a peer support community in a way, and it was kind of interesting to see how the opinions of others on different issues were very similar to both mine and the rest of the group. [The experience] just further brought out the love that we have with one another,” Jake Neuman ’18 said.

Peer support trainee Emma Spencer ’18 said she thought that their time together would benefit the overall peer support program.

Overall, members said that the experience was valuable for continuing the growth and improvement of the Peer Support program.

Peer Support leaders and trainees said they believed the tools they gained would benefit the comfort of participants.

“It was definitely helpful because now we have all sorts of tools to facilitate issues or stories that people maybe want to share that maybe before they were too uncomfortable to share,” Lauto said.