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Welcome to the 2020 CPRS Conference!

This is your homepage for the conference.  While the 2020 conference is but a fond memory, this page will be available to store and share the knowledge and information from the presenters.

Conference Kickoff and Keynote Address, Brad Schmitt


We are excited to welcome Brad Schmitt as our 2020 Keynote Speaker! Brad writes the Inside Nashville column for the Tennessean, getting powerful, personal stories from Music City's movers and shakers. 

Olympic ice skating champ Scott Hamilton has told Brad about adopting children from Haiti. Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s Bishop Joseph Walker shared the painful story of his first wife’s deadly battle with cancer.  Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall revealed that he once found himself in the back of a police car when Hall was a teen.

Brad comes to the job with his own story. He spent 12 years writing celebrity column “Brad About You” for The Tennessean before joining WKRN-News 2 as an entertainment reporter. During his TV reporter days, Brad was convicted twice in three years for drunken driving. Brad got fired, and he went to jail and rehab before getting into recovery from substance abuse in 2010.

The Tennessean offered the “Inside Nashville” column to Brad four years later. Since then, Brad tries to bring the same authenticity and vulnerability he uses in recovery to his columns. 

Boundaries in Ethics, Stephanie Guthrie


Maintaining the CPRS Code of Ethics is critical to both your professional integrity as well as the integrity of the CPRS profession as a whole. While most CPRSs would never intentionally violate the Code of Ethics, the "slippery slope" often begins with inappropriate boundary setting. Join Stephanie Guthrie, President of the Tennessee Association of Peer Specialists (TAPS) and a state certified CPRS trainer, as she helps explore the intersection of boundaries and ethics as it relates to the CPRS profession. This course fulfills the Ethics requirement for continuing education.

Breakout Session 1

Labeling and its Impact on Working with Peers
Presented by Ron Morton

This workshop will provide an overview of some diagnostic categories, expectations and judgements that staff /CPRS may have when presented with a Peers diagnosis.  I will also invite discussion of how labeling impacts a Peer long term and how we as Peers can promote wellness in Peers who have been harmed by labeling.


Building Better Resumes
Presented by Stephanie Guthrie

Whether you are newly entering the profession or are preparing to explore new opportunities in the field, your resume is often your first impression with a potential employer. Learn how to create a piece that will be visually appealing while highlighting your strengths and showcasing your talents to your future employer.


A Spirituality Framework for Peers
Presented by Deven Johnson

Spirituality is as diverse as our recovery.  This workshop will provide a simple framework for spirituality, common themes within spirituality & religion, and a trauma-informed approach for dialogue with peers. This workshop is for Peers, Professionals and other Service Providers.


Breakout Session 2

Recognize False Comfort, Move for Health, and Change for Wellness
Presented by Lori Rash

The goal of this workshop is to engage with participants by providing information, facilitating discussions to explore unhealthy behaviors, ideas on how to effect change, and the role of physical movement in improved health.  We will work on recognizing false comfort by looking at the emotional motivations we have for poor health habits, such as lack of movement/sedentary lifestyles. We will learn the science behind false positive eating, and explore unhealthy habitual behaviors. We will also learn more about how to move for health and we will look at some Information about the science behind physical movement and its impact on health.


Modeling Optimism: The Cornerstone of Knowing How to Lead Your Team
Presented by Marta Hernandez-Fontenot

When risk and uncertainty are common traits among team members, showing them an optimistic outlook for the future can help stay the course. Showing teams that you have confidence in a better tomorrow no matter, what we are facing today can instill hope for the future.  This workshop is for CPRS Supervisors, Team Leaders, and CPRS Team Members


Hindsight in 20/20: The History of Tennessee’s CPRS Program from the Peer Perspective
Presented by Ron Morton

Beginning at the end of the last century, members of the Consumer Advisory Board began to promote the creation of a peer specialist program in our state. Hear firsthand from people who have made a significant positive difference in the past three decades of peer support for those with lived experience of mental illness and substance use disorders in Tennessee.  Peer support has truly changed many of the systems with which we intersect. We will take a look back at how far we have come and learn how we can continue the momentum based on the lessons of the past.


What, Why and How We Build Young Adult Safe Spaces


Presented by Crystal Hutchins, Rebekah Lewis, Jordan Scruggs, and Jules Wilson

Leaning into difficult conversations can be daunting. Inspired by the Youth Peer Movement, the Statewide Young Adult Leadership Council will share best practices in creating safe spaces.  The target audience will be people who work extensively with youth and young adults in their career or people who feel their current established means of peer support are not conducive to youth and young adult needs. There are many providers who have to create safe spaces one-on-one with clients or in larger group settings but struggle to create an environmental foundation that sets up the group for deep, introspective conversations. Aspiring and current peer support specialists will particularly find this session helpful.