Wisconsin Peer Recovery Conference
April 11-12, 2024
Glacier Canyon Conference Center, Wisconsin Dells
Health and Human Services, See Stevens Point Offerings

Wisconsin Peer Recovery Conference | April 11-12, 2024
Glacier Canyon Conference Center
Wisconsin Dells, Wis.


Conferenc​​​e Objectives 

Demonstrate aspects of effective peer support within community services mental health and substance use recovery, enhance individual skills to provide more effective personal support, and explore innovative applications of peer support in communities. 

Who Should Att​​​end

Advocates, individuals interested in supporting others more effectively, Mental Health Professionals, and Peer Specialists.

2024 ​​Call for Proposals

The WI Peer Recovery Conference Planning Committee, in conjunction with Independent Living Resources, and UW-Stevens Point (made possible by funding from the WI Department of Health Services, Division of Care and Treatment Services) is now accepting proposals for interactive 90 minute workshops! Presenters can submit more than one proposal, panels, or proposals with a part 1 and part 2 if desired. Compensation for presenters includes a complimentary conference registration and one night of lodging.​​

If you have any questions regarding the proposal submission process, please contact Nicole Ravens at nicole.ravens@ilresources.org.​

Registration Information 

Conference Registration is now closed. 

Registration for Ethics & Boundaries Preconference Training is now closed.

Facilitating ADA supports is important to UWSP and ILR. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least three weeks in advance of the conference. Please contact UWSP Continuing Education at uwspce-conf@uwsp.edu.

​2022 Conference Information

 2022 Keynote Presenters

Picture of Keynote Presenter Cassandra Walker, LCSW, CCTP

Cassandra (Cassie) Walker, LCSW, CCTP

Founder and Owner of Intersections Center for Complex Healing PLLC and Host of the Woke Mental Wellness Project

Cassie is a Black Queer Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Therapist, Activist, Writer, and Gamer. They are a Liberatory Decolonial healer, certified NARM Therapist, and certified Hypnotherapist and NLP Provider. They are also a former Certified Recovery Support Specialist and person living with Complex Trauma and Bipolar Disorder. They present a diverse array of intersectional topics related to race, gender, sexuality, BDSM and Kink, mental health, liberation, and decolonization. Cassie provides therapy to adults, relationships, and groups and they specialize in the intersections of trauma, Identity, and mental wellness. Cassie is the founder and owner of Intersections Center for Complex Healing PLLC and host of the Woke Mental Wellness Podcast. 

Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS

Peer Specialist Program Manager, NAADAC, Little Rock, Ark.  

Kyle Brewer, BS, PRPS, is the Peer Specialist Program Manager for NAADAC, the Association for Addiction Professionals. He works for NAADAC remotely from Little Rock, AR, managing the Arkansas Peer Specialist Program. He oversees the development and implementation of an innovative three-tier credentialing process (Core, Advanced, Supervision) for the Arkansas Peer Support Model.

Brewer earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Addiction Studies from the University of Central Arkansas in 2013. He went on to use his lived experience with drug and alcohol addiction to become a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist, where he became the first Peer Recovery Specialist in Arkansas to be stationed in an emergency department. He led the development and implementation of this position at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and multiple hospitals across the state.  

In 2020, he became one of the first ten Certified Peer Support Supervisors in Arkansas. Brewer is a trainer on a variety of topics, including Peer Support, Peer Supervision and Narcan administration. He serves on numerous committees and boards to develop and strengthen the Arkansas Model and improve peer support services across the United States. Most recently, he was awarded the 2021 Arkansas Peer Leadership Award which acknowledges and celebrates exemplary leadership that has significant and positive impact on advancing the peer movement and practices of the peer support profession. 

Jimmy McGill, PRPS

Director of Peer Services, Arkansas Department of Health Services

Overcoming a lifetime of incarceration and twenty-three years of substance use disorder, author and speaker Jimmy McGill has defied his past and found his purpose. His childhood was marked by trauma, but what should have destroyed him is now being used to transform recovery awareness across the country.  His recently published book, "From Prison to Purpose," is a detailed account of his journey to recovery. 

Jimmy is the Director of Peer Services for the Arkansas Drug Director's office, and he is a certified Peer Recovery Peer Supervisor (PRPS). His lived experience has allowed him the chance to lead the development of the Peer Recovery Infrastructure throughout Arkansas.  He has assisted in the training of over 330 Peer Recovery Specialists.

His dedicated efforts have allowed Arkansas to place peer recovery inside the Department of Human Services, the Division of Youth Services, the Department of Health, emergency rooms, drug courts, jails, reentry centers, prisons, law enforcement partnerships, Recovery Community Organizations (RCOs) and community service centers. He spearheaded the development of the Arkansas Model of Peer Recovery which has now gained national attention.

He and his wife are the founders of Next Step Recovery Housing, a non-profit recovery foundation that houses people in recovery. Jimmy was the founding member of both the Arkansas Peers Advisory Committee (APAC) and the Arkansas Peers Achieving Recovery Together (A.P.A.R.T) coalition and is the current chair for the SAMHSA Region 6 Peer Support Advisory Committee. Jimmy is also an executive member of the National Peer Recovery Alliance (NPRA).

 Preconference: Ethics and Boundaries Training

August 17, 2022, 1-4 p.m.

The Ethics & Boundaries Preconference Training will include a combination of lecture and small group work. The presenters have backgrounds in Mental Health and Substance Use Recovery. They are very well-rounded as they represent a Mental Health drop-in, a Substance Use drop-in, and a Peer Respite.  This training will more than fulfill the Continuing Education Unit (CEU) requirement for Ethics & Boundaries Training for Peer Specialists. A light snack will be provided.

Registrants will receive a Certificate of Completion for 3.0 hours of Ethics & Boundaries training.

Registration for Ethics & Boundaries Preconference Training is now closed due to high demand and long wait-list. 

 2022 Scholarship Opportunities

Please come back soon to learn about 2024 Scholarship Opportunitites!

Scholarships are available for Wisconsin peers, or their allies, who require financial assistance to attend the Virtual WI Peer Recovery Conference August 18-19, 2022.  Scholarships are available for a portion of conference registration and one night of lodging. Scholarship recipients will be responsible for $25 of the conference registration fee and any additional lodging requirements. 

Please note that there may be a limited number of scholarships. Please only seek a scholarship if you require financial assistance.

DO NOT REGISTER for the conference if you are submitting a scholarship application! If you are awarded a scholarship, instructions will be sent by email with specific registration information no later than July 20, 2022.  

If you have any questions, please email Nicole.Ravens@ilresources.org or call (608) 787-1111. 

The scholarship application deadline was July 8, 2022 and is now closed. 

 Exhibitor Opportunities

Please come back soon to learn about 2024 Exhibitor Opportunitites!

2022 Exhibitor Registration is now closed.

All exhibitors will receive one complementary conference registration and a 8" skirted table. Exhibit space is limited and is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Exhibitor registration closes Friday, August 10, 2022 or until full. 

For additional information, please contact conference coordinator Nicole Ravens at Nicole.Ravens@ilresources.org or 608-787-1111.

 Sponsor Opportunities

Please come back soon to learn about 2024 Sponsor Opportunitites!

The purpose of the Peer Recovery Conference is to provide high quality, peer led, mental health and substance use recovery continuing education credits to certified peer specialists and social workers in Wisconsin and surrounding states. The goal of the planning team is to keep the conference as affordable as possible so that it is attainable for those working as peers, primarily in non-profit settings, across the state. And with less than a month to go until the 2022 Peer Recovery Conference, the planning team has been overwhelmed with the energy and enthusiasm of the Peer Community.

This year we received a tremendous amount of scholarship applications but do not have the capacity to fulfill them all…at least not without YOUR help!

We are seeking generous individuals and agencies to sponsor scholarship applicants. Both full ($200) and partial ($25 increments) sponsor opportunities are available. To honor your generosity, unless you choose to remain anonymous, your name/agency will be visually displayed throughout the conference as well as recognized verbally at the conference.

Thank you for partnering with us to send as many peers as possible to this amazing conference!

To guarantee inclusion in the conference slideshow, please email your name and/or logo no later than Friday, August 5 to Nicole Ravens at Nicole.Ravens@ILResources.org. If you have questions about sponsorship, please email Nicole or call (608) 787-1111. If you have questions about payment or need to pay by check, please contact uwspce-conf@uwsp.edu.

Please note: Sponsorships are non-refundable.

​To read the 2022 session descriptions, please click the grey drop-down menus below.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

 9-9:30 a.m. | Welcome

Presenter: Nicole Ravens, Statewide Coordinator, Peer Run Recovery Centers, Certified Peer Specialist, Independent Living Resources, La Crosse, Wis.

 9:30-11 a.m. | Breakout Sessions A

A1. Just Be & Breathe

Presenter: Priscila PeterkaYoga and Meditation Teacher, Reiki Master, Mindfulness Breathing Practitioner, Emotional CPR Facilitator

Join us for Yoga, preparation for mediation. Introduction to meditation with Yoga poses and breathing techniques. Start your journey to reconnect to your soul. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn how to be present.
  2. Participants will find balance.
  3. Participants will strengthen their mind, body and soul connection. 

Presenter Biography

A2. Intro to Servant Leadership & Emotional Intelligence: Their Role in Recovery

Presenter: Jesse Heffernan, Recovery Coach Professional, Helios Recovery Services

This workshop will explore the components needed to build a culture of serving others first and exploring ones identity and relationship with their emotions. Through interactive discussions about emotional maturity, leadership development and appropriate use of ones experience to advocate for change, participants will walk away with an increased ability to build a thriving recovery culture. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will explore the components needed to build a culture of serving others first and exploring ones identity and relationship with their emotions. 
  2. Participants, through interactive discussions about emotional maturity, leadership development, and appropriate use of ones experience, will learn to advocate for change. 
  3. Participants will walk away with an increased ability to build a thriving recovery culture.

A3. Mental Health & Housing in Wisconsin

Presenters: Kenneth Strege, Peer Support Specialist, Psychosocial Rehabilitation Worker, Jefferson County Human Services and Lori Brummond, Jefferson County Human Services

The importance of lived experience remains essential to meet consumers where they are and assist them on the journey as they strive to be the best they can be.  We are going to explore why our peers and consumers are homeless and the struggles with obtaining & securing housing today, post COVID pandemic. We will explore the different types of housing that are available in your community, the different types of subsidized housing, as well as explain some of the basic qualifications. As time allows, we hope to explore challenges and successes that each of us have experienced with ourselves or consumers and the creative ways we are eliminating or reducing these barriers in our own communities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn about the challenges that homeless with a mental health diagnosis struggle with. 
  2. Participants will be able to identify and advocate effectively with community leaders in your community for those of us that are less fortunate and make a difference. 
  3. Participants will be more informed about options in your community that may or may not exist yet, and how you can get them started.

Presenter Biographies

A4. Peer Support for LGBTQ+ and Veterans: The Story of the Prism Program and the R&R House

Presenters: Erica Steib, Certified Peer Specialist, Prism Program Coordinator, Mental Health America of Wisconsin and Victor Kilpatrick, Certified Peer Specialist, Project Coordinator, R&R House Peer Run Respite, Mental Health of America of Wisconsin

The Prism Program and R&R House are two peer support programs offered by Mental Health America of Wisconsin to focus on LGBTQ+ and Veterans mental health, respectively. This presentation will tell the story of how these programs came to life and what lessons can be applied to other peer support programs. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the need for community-specific peer support for marginalized and at-risk groups. 
  2. Participants will learn about the nuances between peer support in in-person and virtual settings. 
  3. Participants will learn tips for providing support to LGBTQ+ people and Veterans in recovery. 

Presenter Biographies

A5. Art Interventions in Recovery

Presenter: Chelsea Branley, Executive Director of Harbor House Crisis Shelters

Therapeutic art can be used as a complement to traditional mental health treatment. The aim is to manage behaviors, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. Self-discovery: Creating art can help you acknowledge and recognize feelings that have been lurking in your subconscious. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn to answer questions about therapeutic art in different sectors. 
  2. Participants will learn promotion of resilience emotionally through understanding of importance of art with mental health/addiction. 
  3. Participants will learn therapeutic art approaches and directives.

Presenter Biography

 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. | Lunch & Keynote - A Fork in the Road: Peer Support’s Journey into Professionalization

KEYNOTE: A Fork in the Road: Peer Support’s Journey into Professionalization

Presenter: Cassandra (Cassie) Walker, LCSW, CCTP, Founder and Owner of Intersections Center for Complex Healing PLLC and Host of the Woke Mental Wellness Project

Peer Support has gained worldwide recognition as a useful and legitimate field over the past 15 years. With that recognition has come pushes for regulation and professionalization. At the same time, many clinicians and doctors still don’t understand or know about Peer Support credentials and programs. The status of Peer Support as a sort of second-class citizen in the helping fields has deepened some of the desire to professionalize. How do we keep the spirt and energy of Peer Support as the systems which have harmed and marginalized us now seek to integrate and use us as stop gap measures, providers, and cheap labor? Cassie will speak on the roots of peer work, the present challenges, and what a liberatory path forward could be

Learning Objectives:

  1. Audience will be able to consider the possible rewards and challenges of continued professionalization of Peer Support. 
  2. Audience will gain the history and terms to discuss what Peer Support is rooted in and what might be important to it’s future.

Presenter Biography

 1:30-3 p.m. | Breakout Sessions B

​B1. Peer Supervision: Peer Career Ladder

Presenter: Kyle Brewer, Peer Specialist Program Manager, NAADAC, Little Rock, Ark. 

The importance of lived experience remains from direct services all the way to leadership and supervision roles. Professional development and career advancement opportunities can prevent burnout in the Peer workforce and equip and empower Peer Specialist to step into leadership positions. A Peer Career Ladder will give your workforce something to work towards and ensure lived experience is represented at every level of an organization. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will experience the demonstration of the importance of lived experience in the supervisory relationship. 
  2. Participants will gain a basic understanding of a Peer Career Ladder. 
  3. Participants will identify strategies and techniques that may enhance the peer workforce and reduce burnout.  

B2. Effective Group Facilitation

 Michael Sersch, Psychotherapist, MS, LPC, CSAC, BCB, CS-IT, Gundersen Health System and Jessica Kimber, Community Health Specialist

Anxiety about leading groups is very common. This workshop will introduce several styles of group facilitation as well as the natural life cycle of most groups.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to identify common group styles. 
  2. Participants will be able to  describe the common life cycle of a group. 
  3. Participants will begin to explore their own style to group facilitation. 

B3. Embodied Consent and Rejection-for-Connection as a Boundary Practice 

 Mondara Thrasher, Certified Peer Specialist , Spiritual Companion, and Herbal Educator, Wild Sanctuary

In this workshop participants will learn two practices, embodied consent and rejection-for-connection, that support people in engaging with their boundaries in ways that promote connection and empowerment.  Specifically developed for survivors of emotional and spiritual abuse and neglect, these practices allow users to (re)claim their power by learning about what their boundaries are and how to engage with them, while deepening trust and connection with others.  The facilitator will talk about their experience with developing these practices, lead an embodied meditation to demonstrate how the body is involved in this process, and participants will have the opportunity to practice with one another.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will be able to explain why survivors of trauma have specific needs in how they relate with their boundaries and in how they heal boundary violations. 
  2. Participants will be able to describe how their bodies feel differently when they use these practices for connection. 
  3. Participants will be able to engage with others in embodied consent and rejection-for-connection.

B4. Personal Medicine 

 Rachel Hayden, Certified Personal Medicine Coach Trainer, Certified Peer Specialist, Milkweed Connections and Hope Kissinger, Certified Peer Specialist, Personal Medicine Coach Trainer, Recovery Coach, Yoga Teacher, Milkweed Connections

Personal Medicine is an emerging evidence-based practice developed by Pat Deegan, Ph.D. Distinct from coping skills, it teaches you to listen to your inner wisdom and use it for your recovery and well-being in the way that only you can do it! 

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will understand what makes Personal Medicine a distinct practice and how it can also be used alongside other means of recovery such as peer support, pharmaceutical medications, therapy, and coping skills. 
  2. Learn how Personal Medicine coaches are "disruptive innovators" within the mental health system. 
  3. Gain an understanding of the ways Personal Medicine evokes each person's unique wisdom. 

B5. The Importance of Intersectional Mental Health

 Allilsa Fernandez, B.A., Consultant for Mental Health and Disability Justice, Latino Justice Law Bound and The Coelho Center for Disability Law, Policy and Innovation 

What is the impact when we don't consider diverse backgrounds or provide inclusive spaces? Why it is beneficial to ensure mental health is inclusive of everyone?

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will define intersectionality. 
  2. Participants will discuss about mental health impact in the TGNC and LGBTQIA+ community, especially for BIPOCs and what these terms means. 
  3. Participants will explore how can we provide inclusive spaces and why it is important.

Presenter Biography

B6. Creating Normalcy and Overcoming Insecurity 

 Erica Falk-Huzar, PsyD, Education Specialist, Human Services-Board Certified Practitioner, Substance Abuse Counselor-In Training, Certified Integrative Mental Health Professional, Owner/Administrator, Deer Path Integrated Living, Inc. and Kristina Huzar, Certified Peer Specialist, Assistant program Director, Deer Path Integrated Living

Sisters with lived experience, one in recovery from heroin addiction and the other living with schizoaffective disorder, share how they overcame their struggles and became a Certified Peer Specialist and Doctor of Psychology, respectively, working to instill the same sense of hope in others.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will discuss the possibilities of creating normalcy and overcoming personal insecurities. 
  2. Participants will understand that mental illness and addiction are not in charge and that we are able to break down stigma barriers to accomplish short and long terms personal goals of self-fulfillment. 
  3. Participants will leave with a sense of self-worth and resources to increase future potential.

 3:30-5 p.m. | Breakout Sessions C

C1. Womb to Tomb Wellness: How to Build Generational Health

Presenter: Joshua Estep, RN, BSN Nurse Wellness Coach and Client Advocate, Womb to Tomb Wellness, LLC. 

This educational presentation will be focused on building an understanding of some of the most impactful root causes of chronic mental and physical health issues, and what simple lifestyle "hacks" can address these and restore vitality across the lifespan.  The goal of Womb to Tomb Wellness is to help rebuild health that people can pass down from generation to generation.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will explore where the Standard American Diet (SAD) went wrong and what would an alternative that builds health would look like. 
  2. Participants will learn what movements are natural to the human species and how incorporating more of these improves health. 
  3. Participants will learn the ancestrally normal hormetic stressors and how they would apply these in moderate doses to improve stress resilience.

Presenter Biography

C2. Self-Care for Direct Care

Presenter: Sarah Crawford, Life Coach for Sensitive Souls, Sitawi Life Coaching, LLC.

In this engaging and experiential workshop, you will explore your own personal patterns and relationship to self-care as well as what your specific barriers to consistency might be. We will look under the surface at the beliefs that drive the action (or inaction) and create an opportunity to practice a new way of being around self-care that allows you to flourish as a Peer Specialist as well as support others in their well-being. Tips on human behavioral change will be shared as well as a tool to prevent Compassion Fatigue.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will gain an understanding of the difference between burn out and Compassion Fatigue. 
  2. Participants will have a step-by-step process to follow for changing behavior patterns. 
  3. Participants will identify their own barriers to consistent self-care as well as one action they can take to enhance their well-being.

Presenter Biography

C3. More Than a Seat at the Table: Effective and Meaningful Advocacy

Presenter: Vic Welle, Certified Peer Specialist, Peer Support Trainer and Consultant

People with lived experience of mental health and substance use challenges (also known as consumers/survivors) continue to play a crucial role in advocacy efforts to reimagine and dismantle systems in need of change. This workshop will draw on the history of consumer/survivor/lived experience activism and discuss strategies for effective and sustainable systems change advocacy. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be introduced to historical examples of survivor-led systems change advocacy. 
  2. Participants will learn a metric for evaluating the level of meaningful lived experience participation in advocacy. 
  3. Participants will discuss strategies for sustainable advocacy to minimize burnout and retraumatization when engaging with systems change advocacy.

Presenter Biography

C4. Introduction to Harmonic Sound Therapy

Presenter: Karen Pujals, MS, CHt, Soul Freqs Sound & Energy Works

Provides insights into the effective, skillful use of harmonic sound to elicit healing of the physical body as well as emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges. Presentation discusses the fundamental principles of how sound affects the physiology and biochemistry of the human body. Different tools/instruments will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will gain a basic understanding of the foundations and mechanics of harmonic sound therapy as a valuable modality for improving and sustaining multiple aspects of good health.

Presenter Biography

C5. The Perfect Tool? Introduction to the ACT Matrix

Presenter: Jason Chapman, Certified Peer Specialist, Program Coordinator, JusticePoint

The Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Matrix is an evidence-based tool that was originally designed for use by the VA to treat trauma in veterans. It is a simple tool to help individuals gain psychological flexibility and move toward committed action. The Matrix takes 10-15 minutes to use and aligns perfectly with the values of peer support. Participants will leave with the ability to start using the Matrix for themselves and those they work with.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to explain several key principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. 
  2. Participants will complete 3 interactive Matrices as part of the presentation. 
  3. Participants will be able to use the ACT Matrix to support themselves and those they work with.

Presenter Biography

Friday, August 19, 2022

 8:30-10 a.m. | Breakout Sessions D

D1. Cancelled

Due to unforeseen circumstances, this session has been cancelled.

D2. Community Care and Peer Support Through Joy and Play

Presenter: Cassandra (Cassie) Walker, LCSW, CCTP, Founder and Owner of Intersections Center for Complex Healing PLLC and Host of the Woke Mental Wellness Project

Many times, we are supporting people and ourselves through difficult events and emotions so it can be hard to connect with our joy. This session will discuss ways that we can care for ourselves and our communities through joy and play while avoiding the pitfalls of toxic positivity and overemphasis on capitalistic joy. We will address the interactions of capitalism, colonialism, somatics, self-care, play, and joy. Come ready to engage with both discussion and play!

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn how to explore their personal and professional relationship to joy. 
  2. Participants will be able give example of “capitalistic joy” versus “liberatory joy.” 
  3. Participant will be able to integrate aspects of joy and play into their work with peers.

Presenter Biography

D3. The Missing Piece: Emotions & Wellness

Presenter: Lynn McLaughlin, Peer, Trainer, Advocate, Consultant, Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative and Karen Iverson Riggers, Peer, Trainer, Advocate, Consultant, Ebb & Flow Connections Cooperative

In this workshop, participants will learn how emotional expression and emotional wellness are the key components missing in suicide prevention, mental health and wellness programs. They will deepen their understanding on why all emotions are important to our human experience, and the many ways that we avoid being with our emotions. Participants will be introduced to The Change Triangle—a tool that helps move past our defenses and connect with the emotional body inside each of us.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand what emotional wellness is. 
  2. Participants will understand why all emotions—even the most painful—have value.
  3. Participants will understand the defenses we use against feeling emotions and utilizing the change triangle tool.

Presenter Biographies

D4. I am a Black Woman who Loves a White Woman and I call her MOM 

Presenter: Carmella GlennCertified Peer Specialist, Peer Services Peer Respite Coordinator, Department of Health Services and Deborah MejcharCertified Peer Specialist, Department of Health Services and Deborah Mejchar

This session will explore the possible dualisms that exist among identities in Peer Support and why it matters. Many providers in the United States are taught to approach mental health substance abuse and lived experiences  based on white, middleclass norms and beliefs. Others assume that their beliefs (whatever they may be) about what causes and reduces emotional difficulties are universally true. Peer supporters, with their lived experience of mental health challenges, are often no exception. Additionally, they may have limited experience with people who do not share their particular background. Since peers are the foundation of self-help and mutual assistance, their cultural skills are critical for engaging and supporting people with mental health issues, AODA, and incarceration. These skills stem from shared experiences of mental health problems and social stigma. Peer supporters and leadership who come from diverse backgrounds themselves benefit from culturally competent recruitment, retention and promotion practices. Remember, enhancing cultural competency is not for white peer providers alone. Everybody—no matter what their background—has things to learn about how people from diverse communities view their mental health experience and how they wish to be treated. This is why cultural competency should be required of all peer providers, their leaders, and the programs they run.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn that one of hardest things about addressing a program’s cultural competency is learning that “color blindness” can be off-putting to people of different cultures, even if they don’t tell you this directly. 
  2. Participants will learn that many people from systemically minoritized communities feel that treating everyone the “same” obscures the ways their unique backgrounds affect their ability to use and benefit from peer support. 
  3. Participants will learn that when helping people deal with stress and hardship, we need to know and acknowledge how prejudice, racism, sexism, homophobia, and institutional discrimination have an impact on their recovery.

Presenter Biographies

D5. Creating Change: Legislative Advocacy 101 for Recovery & Addiction Initiatives

Presenter: Katerina Klawes, Educator, Community Convening & Outreach Advocates & Marquette University

Each year over 10,000 bills are introduced in the legislature. Learn from a bill author and community organizer how to advocate for better mental health and addiction recovery and prevention policies. The session will include how to contact elected officials, who to contact, how to assess legislative policy, and how to use your experiences and voice to make an impact and create change. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will gain tools to understand and assess legislative policy and be able to define local, state, and national issues. 
  2. Participants will practice and learn how to contact decision-makers. 
  3. Participants will use community organizing tools to involve and inspire others. 
  4. Participants will learn and demonstrate how to use lived experiences to help enact change.

Presenter Biography

 10:30 am-12 p.m. | Breakout Sessions E

E1. What IPS Teaches Us about Recovery and Employment

Presenter: Theresa Iacullo, IPS State Trainer, UW-Madison and Wisconsin Department of Health Services and Stacey Teegardin, IPS State Trainer, UW Madison and WI DHS

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment is an evidence-based practice that champions competitive, integrated employment as a supportive factor in recovery. IPS Employment Specialists (ES) use practice principles including Zero Exclusion, Time Unlimited Supports, Integrated Services, and Honoring Work Preferences to support the employment goals of individuals they serve. The specific skills and experiences of Peer Support Specialists (PSS) are valuable transferable skills and are well matched to the skills required to support individuals at work. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will increase their awareness of IPS Supported Employment as a treatment option in psychosocial rehabilitation. 
  2. Participants will learn about the philosophy of IPS Supported Employment. 
  3. Participants will learn how to empower Peer Support Specialists to identify transferable skills.

Presenter Biographies

E2. Compassionate Pause: Learning to Attend to the Inner Core of Self

Presenter: Kathleen Mueske, MSE, NCC, LPC, Director, The Gathering Place

This is a self-care session designed to give participants time and tools to practice new self-care strategies and to “pause” during the conference to consider their own thoughts and emotions about what they are experiencing and learning. In this interactive session participants will be guided to learn and implement the “compassionate pause” to attend to one’s “inner core”. After a brief review of the components of self-compassion, participants will be taught how to use the compassionate pause in their everyday lives. Participants will be guided using a series of themes/human emotions (peace, hope, joy, gratitude, etc.) to use introspection and verbal sharing, dialogue to enrich the use of the compassionate pause. Later in the session, participants will be invited to use the compassionate pause for others as well. Pre-requisites: Participants will be expected to be able to express what they need throughout the session which will require some level of assertiveness and self-advocacy. This is not an “observation only” session. Participants who are currently experiencing much emotional turmoil and/or are easily triggered would not be a good fit for this session. In addition, participants will be expected to have some experience and skill in helping to create an emotionally safe environment within the group setting.

Participants who desire a deeper connection with self and others are encouraged to attend.

Learning Objectives: 

  1. Participants will gain a greater self-awareness to increase ability to accept self and value self, i.e. increase self-worth. 
  2. Participants will understand and practice, utilize the self-compassion task of the "the compassionate pause."
  3. Participants will gain an improved ability to trust self and others. 
  4. Participants will see improved efficacy or self-care strategies to be able to assess and maintain healthy emotional balance and healthy relationship patterns with self and others. 
  5. Participants will be improvsed emotional and psychological boundaries to help prevent burn out and compassion fatigue. 

Presenter Biography

E3. Nothing About Us Without Us: Public Policy, Voting Rights, and Empowerment

Presenter: Barbara Beckert, Director Milwaukee Office, Disability Rights Wisconsin and David Carlson, Certified Peer Specialist, C.C. WE ADAPT

If you're not at the table, you're probably on the menu. We need more peers at the policy table, working to influence public policy, and casting a ballot.  We will cover the basics of legislative advocacy, voting rights, and share strategies for peers to support voter engagement and policy advocacy.  

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the basics of legislative advocacy and how to advocate for a policy position. 
  2. Participants will be able to explain the basics of voting rights and engagement. 
  3. Participants will know how to access resources and get assistance to support peers with voter registration and engagement, and to exercise and asset their rights.

Presenter Biographies

E4. Shamanic Breathwork

Presenter: Heather Hope, Professional Counselor & Shamanic Energy Practitioner, One Love-Wellness Center 

Shamanic Breathwork is a method of breath control that is meant to give rise to altered states of consciousness, and to have an therapeutic effect on physical and mental well-being. We will begin with an angel card check in, followed by instruction on Breathwork.  We will have a brief session of Qi Gong to help get our energy flowing for the session. Each person will be encouraged to set a positive intention for the Breathwork journey. We will call in the six directions and angelic assistance to lead us, heal us and guide us on our journeys. After the journey (where people have met with deceased loved ones or their Spirit allies...), we will finish up with an opportunity for people to share their unique experiences, if they choose. People are encouraged to bring something comfortable to lay on.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will have a direct Spiritual experience. Spirituality differs from Religion in that in Spirituality there is no middle-man (priest/ pope/ minister).  People are able to connect directly to their source.  These direct experiences can be very powerful and healing because they are personal and direct. 
  2. Participants will recognize the power of intention within Spiritual practice and in life. 
  3. Participants will learn to include Spirituality in holistic health practice. Many people have been wounded around the word "God" and judgmental dogma that has been associated with some religions. The desire to be sensitive to people's Spiritual and Religious traumas have led some people to completely bypass discussions of Spirituality and how people connect to their source. Holistic health includes mind, body and spirit and Shamanic Breathwork can help bring discussions of Spirituality back into the fold in a way that honors each person's path and personal truths.   

Presenter Biography

E5. Healing Centered Engagement for Peers and Coaches

Presenter: Jesse Heffernan, Recovery Coach Professional, Helios Recovery Services

This workshop will provide tools for an approach that allows practitioners to approach trauma with a fresh lens that promotes a holistic and cultural view of healing from traumatic experiences and environments. This approach is called Healing Centered Engagement.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand key differences between a healing-centered and trauma-informed approach to care. 
  2. Participants will identify 3 ways to address root causes of trauma in communities.
  3. Participants will learn 3 ways to improve strategies and outcomes with recoverees using HCE.

Presenter Biography

 12-1:30 p.m. | Lunch & Keynote - Recovery and Redemption: A Tale of Two Worlds

KEYNOTE: Recovery and Redemption: A Tale of Two Worlds

Presenter: Jimmy McGill, PRPS, Director of Peer Services, Arkansas Department of Health and Kyle Brewer, Peer Specialist Program Manager, NAADAC, Little Rock, Ark. 

Jimmy McGill and Kyle Brewer team up to bring you two incredible stories of recovery and redemption.  Although their backgrounds could not be more diverse, they share a common passion of empowering others to find recovery and healing.  They are founding members of the peer support program in the state of Arkansas and hope to see the amazing movement that has been so successful spread all across this nation. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the disease of addiction.  
  2. Participants will be able to identify multiple pathways of recovery.
  3. Participants will be able to summarize the evolution of Arkansas Peer Support.

Presenter Biographies

 2-3:30 p.m. | Breakout Sessions F

F1. Sensory Toolbox for Emotional Crisis

Presenter: Catherine Spaulding, RN, CPS, Emotional CPR Practitioner

Do you have a toolbox for you house or car? Why not have one for yourself? Come and make your own sensory toolbox to take home and help manage an emotional crisis.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will learn what a sensory toolbox is and how it works. 
  2. Participants will learn how to navigate through an emotional crisis using their 5 senses. 
  3. Participants will come away from the workshop with their own sensory toolbox to help when a crisis arises

F2. Using Motivational interviewing for Recovery Planning

Presenter: Kris Kelly, Project Manager, Peer Recovery Center of Excellence and Laura Saunders, MSSW, Great Lakes Addictions, Mental health and Prevention Technology Centers

Planning is a usual part of peer-to-peer interactions and there are guidelines a plenty on the practicalities of planning.  In this highly interactive session, we’ll examine the importance of how you speak to your clients about changing.  Using the style and spirit of Motivational Interviewing, we’ll demonstrate how to bring the heart of MI to the recovery planning process.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to describe the key MI spirit and skill elements as they fit into the process of planning. 
  2. Participants will examine the use of MI spirit and skills in planning scenarios. 
  3. Participants will plan to utilize elements of MI as they guide others towards change.

Presenter Biographies

F3. Towards a TRUE Cross-Disability Movement: Building Strong Bridges Between Mental & Physical Disability

Presenter: David Oaks, Revolutionary Consultant, Aciu! Institute

Mental health consumers & psychiatric survivors need to unite among ourselves to build bridges to the larger disability movement, one of the largest movements in the world. Those of us with mental health “lived experience” have very diverse stories & resilient recoveries. By building on core principles, we must embrace our differences in order to help unite the whole cross-disability marginalized community. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will explore how the diverse community of mental health consumers & psychiatric survivors can and must unite based on shared values, embracing our major differences. 
  2. Participants will learn about the importance of, and ways to be involved with, building strong bridges between mental disability & the wider cross-disability movement. 
  3. Participants will understand how core disability principles (including those who reject the label “disabled”) can be inclusive to all of us in both physical and mental disability movements, along with other marginalized, under-served communities.

Presenter Biography 

F4. The Arkansas Model

Presenter: Jimmy McGill, PRPS, Director of Peer Services, Arkansas Department of Health

This workshop will discuss the history and innovative practices used in Arkansas to develop, grow and sustain the Peer recovery workforce. 

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will understand the history of Arkansas Peer Recovery. 
  2. Participants will be able to define best practices surrounding Peer Recovery Support Services and Supervision. 
  3. Participants will be able to describe the Arkansas Model and build your own career ladder.

Presenter Biography

F4. The Arkansas Model Maddison WI .pptx.PDF

F5. Disability Rights Wisconsin Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council Listening Session  


Presenter: Tim SaubersProtection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Advisory Council Chair, Disability Rights Wisconsin

This session will offer people an opportunity to connect with the PAIMI Advisory Council (PAC) in order to learn more about the work Disability Rights Wisconsin is doing to support people with lived experience around the state. Additionally, they will have the opportunity to share feedback and input regarding what they'd like to see the PAC work on learn more about how they can participate on the council.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Participants will be able to articulate the purpose of the PAIMI Advisory Council. 
  2. Participants will have an understanding of the work the PAIMI Advisory Council does. 
  3. Participants will have the opportunity to share input on where they'd like to see the PAIMI Advisory Council focus its work.

Presenter Biography

​Conference Information

 Continuing Education Hours (CEHs)

Continuing Education Hours are a measure of participation in continuing education programs. Individuals should consult with their professional association and/or licensing board regarding the applicability of the conference for their profession. It is the individual's responsibility to report CEHs earned to their appropriate credential or licensing board.

The 2022 Wisconsin Peer Recovery conference has been approved for 11.0 CEHs from the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point Department of Sociology and Social Work. A link will be provided after the conference for registrants to receive a printable, personalized CEH Certificate of Completion via email.

Ethics & Boundaries Training participants will receive a Certificate of Completion for 3.0 hours of Ethics & Boundaries training.

 Special Accommodations

Facilitating ADA supports is important to UWSP and ILR. Reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities will be made if requested at least three weeks in advance of the conference. Special dietary needs and requests can be made during registration. Please contact UWSP Continuing Education at uwspce-conf@uwsp.edu for more information.

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Contact Information

For questions about the conference, contact Nicole Ravens, Conference Coordinator:

Nicole Ravens, Conference Coordinator
Independent Living Resources

For assistance with conference registration, email uwspce-conf@uwsp.edu or call Continuing Education at 715-346-3838.  

2022 Cancellation Policy 

Full refunds granted upon receipt of written request to uwspce-conf@uwsp.edu. Cancellation requests must be received by Tuesday, August 2, 2022. Requests received between Wednesday, August 3-Tuesday, August 9, 2022 will be charged a $25 processing fee. No refunds will be given on or after Wednesday, August 10, 2022. Substitutions can be made at any time, but no shows will be responsible for the full conference fee.