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Growing Through Introduction Webinar

Peer Support for Life's Most Difficult Moments


"What we know about human growth is that ...  these difficult moments end up being very important."~ Eduardo Vega

Growing Through is an innovative, strengths-based, growth-focused approach to supporting others as a “peer ally” in times of crisis and intensity with the goal of fostering meaning making and recovery. Guided by best practices for mental health peer support and suicide prevention, informed by the recovery model, humanistic psychology and lived expertise, Growing Through training seminars cultivate skills and confidence for serving as an ally to others in these difficult times, including effectively using one’s personal experience.



Utilizing non-clinical language, best practices for suicide prevention, and the experience of those ‘who have been there,’ Growing Through provides innovative training for assisting others as a ‘Growth Ally,’ including effectively sharing one’s own experience. Growing Through skills courses are available for professionals, paraprofessionals, peer specialists, crisis counselors, college students and faculty, and the general public.



Growing Through is founded on the philosophy that every individual’s life journey is unique and valuable. For some people, the most significant moments of that journey include intense difficulty, distress and/or pain, including despair and thoughts of death. By approaching struggle and crisis, including suicidal intensity, as parts of personal growth, Growing Through Allies help people find value and meaning in the midst of pain, and maximize their own resources for recovery.


Growing Through (GT) training experiences provide participants with the skills and confidence to be effective “Allies” in a variety of scenarios, including those where issues of violence, self-harm and suicide may be present.


Through focused experiential exercises grounded in the Growing Through values and practices, participants learn to identify and reframe unhelpful terminology, develop positive listening skills and be authentically, helpfully present even in the most intense of moments. GT Intensives and module-based trainings are available for professionals, leadership, paraprofessionals, peer specialists, community crisis counselors, college counselors and the general public.


Growing through trainings are compatible and fully complementary with a variety of training modalities including ASIST, Intentional Peer Support, Mindfulness Based Cognitive Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Wellness Recovery Action Planning, Motivational Interviewing, Mental Health First Aid and more.


CEUs are available through training partner organizations.

Growing Through Offering Presence Training

Class Size: up to 40 

Duration: 1 Day, 8 Hours

Instructor: Eduardo Vega (usually)


This experiential session introduces the Growing Through philosophy and core practices including authentic presence and positive inhibition. It provides simple steps for keeping the focus on the ‘peer in pain’ and avoiding the impulse to advise while sharing personal lived experience in a helping context. Using real play and role play scenarios participants gain skill in the Growing Through approach to ensure that what they have to ‘offer’ is timely and truly helpful.  


Offering Presence is appropriate to anyone in a helping role, and/or support service providers, particularly those with related lived experience of suicide, stress, addictions and/or trauma recovery. Previous training in active listening or related communication techniques such as phone counselor, motivational interviewing, ASIST and/or peer specialist training is recommended but not required. 


Growing Through Community Ally Training

Class Size: Up to 35 

Duration: 18 Hours, 3 six-hour sessions; 2 or 3 Days

Instructor: Eduardo Vega (usually)


GT Community Ally Training is a unique learning experience for community members, college students, non-profit staff, security officers, or virtually anyone.  It provides an introduction to GT Practices as well as in-depth communication skills training, based on proven techniques for active listening and collaborative engagement in the context of intensity or crisis. GT Community Allies develop confidence in supporting others through experiential exercises that focus on connecting, effective self-management, and enlisting help, all from the perspective of growth and hope.


Growing Through Peer Ally Graduates Alameda County, CA

Growing Through Pro

Class Size: Up to 25

Duration: Ally/ Professional Intensive (5 days, 40 hours)

Instructor: Eduardo Vega (usually)



Growing Through Pro (GTP) is an advanced skills training designed for community-based counselors, crisis support clinicians, Certified Peer Specialists or others who have: 1) grounding in the fundamentals of active listening/coaching, recovery model services and support skills, 2) personal lived experience with mental ill-health and/or suicide, and 3) professional (including volunteer) experience providing support services to people in distress. Successful completion of GTP is recognized by Growing Through Peer Ally Certificate and lifetime GT Community Circle membership.

As a unique skills-training experience enrollment in GTP builds productively on prior training in ASIST, Intentional Peer Support, Trauma-Informed Care, Wellness Recovery Action Planning, DBT coach and related programs internationally. GTP is highly effective training for support counselors in settings such as community crisis residential programs, peer respite, helpline/crisis contact services, shelter and outreach programs, youth and other specialty support services.  Due to its subject matter and advanced techniques, admission into Growing Through Pro training requires an individual application and interview process. People with lived experience of crisis, disability and/or suicide are prioritized for admission.

​The Growing Through Professional Training Journey

​Day 1 - Grounding in Growth

Day 2 - Being There

Day 3 - Finding Safety

Day 4 - The Heart of Suicide

Day 5 - Connecting to Hope



How long are Growing Through Pro (GTP) seminars? What are they like?

GTP is provided in an in-person format with a total of 40 hours highly experiential learning over 5 days. This experiences are engaging including mindfulness exercises, group discussion, role play/real play scenarios and personal writing. As a complete training journey, attendance at each day of the training is required for completion.


Who are these trainings for? Who is eligible?

Growing Through Pro courses are available for professionals, para-professionals, peer specialists, crisis counselors, outreach workers and others working in related fields. We encourage a diverse range of individuals with personal and lived experience to become GT Allies. GT especially seeks participants who can build on their personal experience of struggle, mental ill-health or substance use recovery and/or suicidal intensity.


Is previous experience and/or certification required for participants?

GTP is an advanced skills training for working with people in times of intensity including suicide and threats of violence. Some prior training and/or experience is expected due to the nature of the content. In some cases state certification and/or interviews may be required in order to ensure the best fit for the training experience. Your local, state or partner organization will work with your community to invite and select participants. 


How many people attend a training seminar?

GTP seminars are limited to class size of 20.


Is any advanced preparation or reading required?

GTP participants are encouraged or may be required to attend a 30 minute orientation/Q&A webinar session in advance of enrollments.


How to I apply? What is the process?

Application, invitation and enrollment in GTP is managed by your local presenting partner organization in consultation with Growing Through training staff.


Does Growing Through Pro provide credits for Continuing Education or professional state certification?

Depending on your state or agency, GTP Peer Ally Certificate may apply to hours for CE, CEU, CME and/or peer specialist certification. Continuing Education credits may be available through your local agency, conference or educational institution.

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“One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.” ~Abraham Maslow

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