ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) - Empowering People to Live Independently.

Peer Counseling Services

ECNV Peer Mentor going over paper work for a participantIndividual Independent Living (IL) services at the ENDependence Center of Northern Virginia, Inc. (ECNV) begin with the peer counseling process. Like Centers for Independent Living nationwide, ECNV offers Peer Counseling, a unique service that provides persons with disabilities the opportunity to work to achieve their goals. Individuals with disabilities from ECNV who are trained in peer support may offer one-on-one counseling, independent living skills training and facilitated support groups to other persons with disabilities who reside in Northern Virginia in order to achieve the goals which they have, together, set.

Peer counseling issues may include any topic related to living independently with a disability. Examples are housing, employment, transportation, just to name a few. The individual with a disability may contact any staff member at ECNV to arrange for peer counseling and other IL services.

How Can We Help?
Who Are Peer Counselors?
What Can You Gain from Peer Counseling?
Is Peer Counseling for You?

How Can We Help?

Identifying and using community resources and services that support your quest for a more independent lifestyle.

• Finding an accessible living situation or applying for subsidized housing.
• Planning modifications to make your home wheelchair accessible.
• Learning to use public transportation.
• Developing a personal budget.
• Gaining the skills to hire and manage personal assistants.
• Locating accessible recreational facilities and opportunities to socialize with your peers.

Working with a peer counselor one-to-one you can learn resources and skills to solve these and other disability-related issues on your own. Explore personal issues related to daily living with a disability. Gain support, encouragement and practical insights from your peers!

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Who Are Peer Counselors?

Peer Counselors are individuals with disabilities who successfully combine counseling skills training with personal experience gained from living with a disability. A Peer Counselor's personal experience and training gives them a unique ability to help you clarify your own independent living goals and objectives, identify needed community resources, and develop problem-solving strategies. Peer Counselors support your efforts by sharing with you mutual feelings and experiences.

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What Can You Gain from Peer Counseling?

One-to-one peer counseling allows you the opportunity to work individually with an ECNV Peer Counselor on your unique independent living goals. Beyond providing concrete help, a Peer Counselor can assist you in addressing personal growth needs by working with you individually on:

• Identifying your strengths;
• Acknowledging limitations;
• Discovering your abilities;
• Adapting to new circumstances and expectations that result from a disability; and
• Gaining awareness of how societal attitudes and stereotypes about disability affect our own self-image.

In the process, your Peer Counselor can help you develop more effective communication and assertiveness skill which can enhance your ability as a self-advocate.

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Is Peer Counseling for You?

Whether you are newly disabled or were you born with a disability, whether you live in a nursing home, are about to leave a rehabilitation facility, or reside in the community, peer counseling has something to offer you!

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