Key to the success of Shanti’s mission is the Shanti Model of Peer Support, which is both a philosophy and a set of techniques that are used throughout our work.
The word “Shanti” is the Sanskrit word for “inner peace.” Shanti is the place we find in ourselves…
- when we have performed a simple act of service that matters to someone else;
- when we are being with another person in just the right way;
- when we feel truly connected.
The Shanti Model of Peer Support is a way of being with another person that frees both parties to be fully who they are and communicate their feelings to one another. It is a way of being which allows two persons to meet as equals. It is a way of relating to others that is characterized by certain values and attitudes.
Definition of Peer
We define peer as someone who is not necessarily like us in obvious ways, but is someone with whom we share a basic humanity; someone with whom we are equals. All people share universal human experiences. By virtue of this shared humanity, we are all peers. The Shanti Model of Peer Support is based on this equality.
Values Underlying the Shanti Model of Peer Support
- mutual respect
- positive regard
- empowerment of the client (the assumption that the client has the solutions to his or her own problems and does not need your advice of direction)
- genuineness (being oneself, authenticity)
- acceptance of differences (does not mean agreement, but acceptance based on respect)
- empathy (allowing oneself to feel with another person)
- intention to be of service
Techniques and Activities to Realize the Shanti Model of Peer Support
- Listening from the heart (listening with an open heart, being willing to be touched by another, willing to engage with another person’s emotions)
- Speaking from the heart (speaking authentically, honest self-expression)
- Acting from the heart in service to another person (acting based on compassion, caring, and an intention to be of service)