A day in the life of a Peer Specialist at Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic

The Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) describes a Peer Specialist as “an individual with lived recovery experience who has been trained and certified to help their peers gain hope and move forward in their own recovery.” But to Gina Reed, the new Peer Specialist at Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic, it’s so much more than that.

As a Peer Specialist, Gina is able to use her past and very real life experiences to relate to her peers. “I mirror to them the fact that we as recovering people are resilient, and our strength lies in what we have overcome and endured,” explained Gina.

“All those years of pain are no longer in vain.”

In her own words, Gina endearingly describes her role as “empowering people in recovery to discover their identity apart from drugs and alcohol.” As a peer, Gina’s role is to listen without judgment; to be a trusted sounding board for those who simply need to talk and be heard by someone who can relate. Trust is very hard to come by for recovering addicts, explained Gina. “Street code is ‘trust no one’.”

In her own life, Gina has experienced and been affected by mental illness, domestic violence, and is a survivor of suicide.  Although all of life’s problems don’t just go away, Gina works to help her clients see that, “In recovery, challenges, when faced, can feed your self worth and strengthen us as individuals.” And with the right help, it is possible.

For a patient of Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic they are not only getting a trusted peer in Gina, they are gaining support from a team of professionals whose sole purpose is to help people in recovery find themselves again and begin building a life on solid ground.

Pingora’s comprehensive treatment plan encompasses the comprehensive opioid response with the twelve steps (COR-12) program, Cognitive Behavioral Treatment (CBT), Motivational Interviewing (MI), Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) and a full range of counseling to increase the success of the journey through this program.

They also provide:

  • education
  • case management
  • family/friend counseling
  • group therapy
  • and other services to provide a holistic approach to recovery.

Well-rounded services support patients in full, long-term recovery and an increased quality of life. Gina, their Peer Specialist, is there every step of the way.

“A friendly professional who’s been there.”

The work that Gina and her colleagues are doing in Fremont County is made possible by Volunteers of America (VOA) and a statewide grant from the Wyoming Department of Health.

“VOA is passionate about providing the best pathway to a life of recovery for our clients, and we see a great need with the current opioid crisis for medication assisted treatment,” said Volunteers of American Northern Rockies Chief Operating Officer, Heath A. Steel. “This program is our chance to offer a much needed alternative treatment to clients in central Wyoming.”

Pingora Behavioral Health Clinic is located at 625 E Madison ST, Ste. 1 in Riverton, Wyoming. The offices are open from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each Monday through Friday and can be reached by phone at 307.463.0337 or email at [email protected].