Dergi: Türk PDR (Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik) Dergisi
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Bütün Dergiler
Dergi: Türk PDR (Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik) Dergisi     Yıl: 2007     Sayı: 27     Dönem: Mart     Sayfa Numaraları : 139-155
Akran Danışmanlığı Nedir? Ne Değildir?
Mine Aladağ, Dr.
Ege Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi

Esin Tezer, Prof. Dr.
Orta Doğu Teknik Üniversitesi Eğitim Fakültesi
Makale Özeti:
Bu makalede, akran danışmanlığının ne olup olmadığı, kısa tarihçesi, kuramsal çerçevesi, nerelerde ve nasıl kullanıldığı, bu hizmetten yararlananlara (akran danışanlar), bu hizmeti sunanlara (akran danışmanlar) ve psikolojik danışma ve rehberlik alanına yararları incelenmiştir. Bunun yanı sıra, akran danışmanlığı programlarının daha nitelikli ve etkili bir şekilde yürütülebilmesi için izlenmesi gereken aşamalar ve standartlardan kısaca söz edilmiştir. Bu makalede, ayrıca ülkemizde akran danışmanlığı ile ilgili yapılan bazı çalışmalar tanıtılmış ve akran danışmanlığı uygulamalarına yönelik öneriler sunulmuştur. 
Anahtar Sözcükler: Akran Danışmanlığı , Akran Danışmanlığı Proğramları , Akran Danışman , Akran Danışan ,


Dergi: Türk PDR (Psikolojik Danışma ve Rehberlik) Dergisi     Volume: 2007     Number: 27     Annualy: March     Page Numbers : 139-155
What Is the Peer Helping and What Is Not?
Mine Aladağ, Phd.
Ege University Faculty of Education

Esin Tezer, Prof.
Orta Doğu Teknik University Faculty of Education
Abstract :
In this article, the peer helping; its brief history and theoretical framework; where and how it is utilized; benefits to counseling field, peer service recipients (peer helpees) and peer service providers (peer helpers) were examined. Furthermore, essential phases and standards for conducting more qualitative and effective peer helping programs were briefly mentioned. Besides, in this article, some studies conducted in Turkey related with peer helping were introduced and some suggestions about peer helping implementations were presented.

SUMMARY
 
Peer helping is defined as “a process in which trained, supervised students; that is peer helpers, or peer facilitators; are selected to help other students with personal and academic issues for the purpose of clarifying their thoughts and feelings; exploring options, and alternatives; offering a supportive relationships; and facilitating students in defining their own solutions” (Myrick, Highland, & Sabella, 1995).

However, as it has been strictly pointed out by the two established organizations of peer helping, National Peer Helpers Association (NPHA) and Peer Resources (PR) that, while defining peer helping, or peer counseling, no counseling in terms of commonly accepted therapeutic definition is implied. Those students trained as peer helpers to be skilled communicators, are not amateur psychologists or therapists. Peer helpers do not replace licensed or certified professionals or practitioners, but often serve as an extension of the services these professionals provide.

Peer helping takes many different forms such as: peer tutoring, peer mediation, peer counseling, peer education. The respective school, institution or organization chooses the term that best exemplifies the role of the peer helping within the institution. Peer helping can take place in everywhere such as schools, universities, hospitals, community centers, businesses, and corporations (Sprinthall & Hall, 1992; Morey, Miller, Rosen & Fulton,  1993; Sawyer & Pinciaro, 1997). Moreover, peer helping can be helpful to any age groups of children, adolescents, young, and older adults (Bratter ve Freeman, 1990; Sprinthall ve Hall, 1992; Morey, Miller, Rosen ve Fulton, 1993; Myrick, Highland ve Sabella, 1995; Sawyer ve Pinciaro, 1997).

Theoretical Framework of Peer Helping

The peer helping literature review does not reveal a consistent theoretical base(s) for peer helping. Although several theoretical explanations can be made in each phase of peer helping, two theoretical approaches have been emphasized in the literature, namely, developmental theories, and Human Relations Skill Training of Carkhuff derived from Person Centered Approach of Rogers. Moreover, some theoretical approaches have been also proposed in explaining the underlying psychosocial processes of peer helping such as social support, experiental knowledge, helper-therapy principle, social learning theory, and social comparison theory. (Salzer and his associates 2002; cited in Solomon, 2004).

The Rationale of Peer Helping

In times of stress people usually talk with a supportive friend. Talking with a supportive friend, in itself, provides support at an early stage of emotional distress; thus normalizes the process of seeking help so that the individuals experience the advantage of enhancing “wellness” before severe, visible, change-resistant problems arise. Not only in times of stress but also diclosing mutual insecurities and fears help the friends to discover that they are “normal” and they have nothing to be ashamed of. Thus, during hours of mutual exchanges of personal, social, and moral concerns, friends explore themselves and each other more deeply leading to self-growth and self-enhancement which can be considered as major and natural sources of “helping” (Turner, 1999). The professionals in the counseling field explored the benefits of this natural bond among individuals and became aware of this vast human resources that were underutilized (Varenhorst, 2002). This approach was supported by Carkhuff, Pierce, and Cannon (1980), who assume that helping skills are, in reality, human skills and need to be taught to as large a number of non-professionals as possible. As it was also argued by Brammer and MacDonald (1999), it is irrational not to utilize the resources of helping talent in the nonprofessional population since there are many people who have natural capacities to be helpful with their fortunate life experiences; and if these people receive training in basic helping skills, they might make an impact on the helpee. As a result, there seemed to be two main assumptions underlying these arguments; individuals have the tendency to be helpful and basic helping skills can be taught. Mainly based on these assumptions peer helping has become a professional area in the field of counseling.

Peer Helping Programs

Peer Helping Program is an implemented system for recruiting, training, and supervising youth to provide a variety of helping services to peers in schools, agencies, businesses, and communities (Tindall, 1995).
The NPHA have independently developed standards that help to identify peer helping and peer helping programs with respect to their planning, implementation and evaluation procedures. Moreover, The NPHA has also developed code of ethics for both peer professionals and peer helpers. NPHA also offers certification to individuals, programs, curriculum, and trainers as part of its mission to equip individuals to help others by promoting standards of excellence in peer programs.

Benefits of Peer Helping

There are several studies indicating a widespread acceptance of peer helpers as a supportive agent in a variety of setting and peer helping programs that offer many advantages. Researchers (Rockwell & Dustin, 1979; Downe, Altmann, & Nysevold, 1986) indicated these advantages such as an opportunity to increase accessibility of counseling services for students; an important potential resource building a bridge between students and professional school counselors; a possibility for students to obtain help more readily; and an opportunity to reach the largest number of students. Peer helping programs, when appropiately planned and implemented, have also the capacity to provide a framework that engages students in a process of growth; teaches them new ways of dealing with issues and problems; promotes new structures of thinking (Foster-Harrison, 1995). Peer helping also enables youth to enhance self-esteem and ability to communicate and express feelings (Wassef & Mason, 1996), reduce loneliness (Rasain & Williams, 1999), promote health (Turner, 1999), support academic and personal achievement, learn action skills to prevent substance abuse (Black, Tobler & Sciacca, 1998), increase in interpersonal awareness and internal locus of control (Sprinthall & Hall, 1992), and increase self confidence (Sawyer & Pinciaro, 1997).

However, problems can sometimes be encountered with peer helping programs. Problems in the adequacy of training, supervision, and evaluation, and also problems related to the definition and limitation of peer counselor role have been frequently mentioned in the literature (Downe, Altman, & Nysetvold; 1986; Fennell, 1993; Morey, Miller, Rosen & Fulton, 1993; Lewis & Lewis, 1996; Black, Tobler & Sciacca, 1998; Myrick & Folk, 1999). According to NPHA, one of the main reasons of these problems arises from not following or adhering to the Programmatic Standards and Ethics. Therefore, both the peer professionals and peer helpers need to review and fully understand the guidelines and be able to implement them in order to assure the high standards in their services.

Peer Helping in Turkey

In Turkey, peer helping programs have generally been implemented in educational settings. A review of internet pages of psychological counseling services of some universities showed that Beykent University (Peer Counseling Program), Boğaziçi University (Peer Guidance Program), and Koç University (Peer Support Programs including Mentorship and Resident Assistant), have conducted peer helping programs. Ankara, Hacettepe, and Fırat Universities also carry out peer education projects for the purpose of preventing health related issues. Although the utilization of peer helping was proposed in some of the documents of the Ministry of National Education, the peer helping programs have not been provided in the public schools yet. However, peer helping programs have been usually put into practice in some private schools.  Similarly, little research has been conducted about the peer helping programs in Turkey despite its growing popularity and continued implementation (Tuna, 2002; Karabulut, 2003).

Result and Suggestions

It can be concluded that peer helping is an example of a prevention and intervention program designed around developmental principles. Peer helping programs, when appropriately planned and implemented, offer many advantages to counseling services, peer helpees and peer helpers.  Thus, professionals should follow the essential programmatic standards and ethics in order to ensure the effectiveness and quality of peer helping programs.

 
Keywords : Peer Helping , Per Helping Proğrams , Peer Helper , Peer Helpee ,
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