October 19, 2007

Peer counseling was developed in the independent living movement in the U.S. in the 1970s.

More than 20 years has passed since it was first introduced to Japan. A hundred or more peer counseling courses are organized annually at 121 independent living centers nationwide in Japan.

Ms. Masae Kashiwagi, one of the planning committee members organized a workshop on peer counseling with support of Ms. Makiko Horiuchi who is also a planning committee member. During today’s peer counseling session only persons with disabilities were allowed to attend the workshop.

The following is the program.

Schedule : Peer Counseling

10:15 Introduction

  1. Explanation of today’s schedule
  2. Today’s peer counseling is only among PWDs
  3. Today’s training is not just for yourself as a leader but also as a person who teaches peer counseling to other PWDs.
  4. Key Tool: a timer (to share time equally)
  5. Four types of peer counseling training. Today’s session is a reduced and condensed “intensive course peer counseling”.
10:30 Relationship (to know each other and to become friends)

  1. Self-introduction (name, where are you from, hobby, etc.)
  2. Game
11:00 What is a “peer” ? What is peer counseling ?

Showing a video about peer counseling

11:45 Session: Each participant talks about “one’s own disability” and practices listening to each other
12:30 Lunch Break
14:00 Think & Listen ‘Rights for People with Disabilities’
14:40 Session: Each participant tries to be open about hard, sad, or painful memories relating to own disability or matters which one has suffered from.
15:30 Break
15:45 Think & Listen: Each participate talks about ‘What I can & what I will’ in order to become positive.
16:15 Appreciation (compliment to others)
16:30 Comments and Q & A

After the session all participants could feel very relax and happy. They all understood they are not alone.


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