Training Center

FolkTime is the Oregon Hub for Intentional Peer Support Training.

Intentional Peer Support (IPS) training certifies participants with lived experience as Peer Support Specialists (PSS). Oregon Health Authority (OHA) recognizes our curriculum as an approved training program that qualifies participants who complete our course for state certification as Traditional Health Workers (THW) focused in Adult Mental Health. The training can also qualify for Continuing Education Units (CEUs).

FolkTime's Refund Policy

We require all cancellation requests to be submitted in writing to Requests made ten business days prior to the first day of training are eligible for a full refund, minus a $35 processing fee. If a cancellation must occur within the ten day period prior to the first day of class, participants will receive a full training credit that may be used for another IPS training with FolkTime for up to a period of one year. If participants attending the training are unable to finish, they will be given the opportunity to complete the course at a future date within a six month period. If participant elect not to complete the training, no refund will be issued. All refunds will be made via bank check and mailed to the address on file. By registering for this course, FolkTime understands that you have read the refund policy and accept the terms of agreement.

Open Registrations

IPS In-Person Training
Registration for
MAR 13th - 17th, 2023

When: Monday to Friday 9 AM to 5 PM
Where: Portland
Cost: $650.00 credit card / $625 check
For more information, or to register now

More Trainings to be

Want to be the first to know? Email our training center to be included in the announcement for future trainings opportunities (


Each and every day of IPS training is filled with dynamic and interactive dialogue and group activities! Your full attendance* is recommended to progress alongside your cohort. We discuss many topics including trauma, privilege, power, oppression, crisis, suicide, self-injury, mandatory abuse reporting, HIPAA, and more.

NOTE: Peer Support Specialists (PSS) are required to complete THW Oral Health for Peer Support and Peer Wellness Training Program, in addition to the approved IPS training.

*90% attendance is required to receive a certificate of completion/participation. A certificate of completion is required for eligibility for OHA’s Office of Equity and Inclusion’s Traditional Health Worker (THW) Peer Support Specialist (PSS) certification. Please check-in with your group facilitators in advance of any absence so we can support your continued learning.
Participants must identify as a person with lived experience with mental health challenges to receive the certificate of completion. If you do not identify with having these lived experiences, you will be eligible to receive a certificate of participation.

What is a peer support specialist? A peer is an individual sharing similar lived experience. Once a peer has had some experience with recovery they can choose to share that experience with another. In order to be a Peer Support Specialist you must seek an approved training and become licensed by your state. If you are in Oregon, please see the OHA PSS site ( Each state can have different criteria for licensure so be sure to query your regulations wherever you live. Once they are licensed, the PSS can find employment but must continue to take professional trainings throughout their career to keep up with the latest trends and information in the field.

Meet FolkTime's Trainers

Angel Prater

Angel Prater is a Certified National IPS Trainer, and was named Oregon’s IPS trainer of trainers. She is the mother of two beautiful daughters, and a grandmother of a beautiful baby boy.  Angel enjoys riding motorcycles, skydiving, socializing, and most of all, spending time with her family. Angel says, “Recovery became a new way of life. Living without the use of drugs allowed a life of mental wellness and stability.  I made a promise to take all of my life challenges and turn them into something good. I promised God that I will walk with those who are struggling so they may know that, no matter what, there is hope! IT CAN BE DONE!”  Since July 5, 1996, Angel has been supporting others by sharing her experience, strength and hope, without shame or guilt. She hopes to inspire others to share their story as well.  As the famous movie says, let’s “Pay it forward!”  

Co-Founder, AWARE Consulting Group

Sharon Kuehn Bliss

Sharon Kuehn Bliss leads the Oregon Warmline and Oregon Senior Peer Support programs. She thrives on building a caring community of peer supporters and loves to make connection and support available to all members of our communities. Sharon believes that Intentional Peer Support (IPS) creates a focus on our relationships that, in turn, creates room for loving kindness, healing, and a myriad of new possibilities. A longtime leader in the Consumer, Survivor, and Ex-patient (C/S/X) movements, Sharon has facilitated peer support trainings for 25 years. She has practiced IPS for 12 years. Sharon loves the ocean , her dog Cholla and beach getaways. She recently celebrated her later-in-life romance with a Maui marriage ceremony to become Mrs. Bliss!

Program Manager, Oregon Warmline & Oregon Senior Peer Support

Peter Starkey

Peter Starkey is a peer, nonprofit leader, and advocate.  He is currently the executive director of CARE, an Oregon coast nonprofit focused on fighting the root causes of poverty.  Before coming to Oregon, Peter was the executive director of a peer-run, IPS-centered nonprofit in New Hampshire called Monadnock Peer Support which included programs in Peer Respite, peer groups, youth peer support, and hosted a warmline.  Peter is a certified State Trainer in IPS and has facilitated dozens of trainings and presented at conferences on topics such as suicide, self harm, relational dynamic, peer respite, conflict resolution, and peer supervision around the country.  Peter’s passions in peer support include youth peer support, expanded continuum access to peer services, and the integration of peer services in clinical settings while maintaining fidelity and respect of Peers.

Executive Director, CARE

Nybelle Caruso

Nybelle Caruso is a state certified trainer and she’s been working in peer support since 2015.  She has also been a member of the Early Assessment and Support Alliance Young Adult Leadership Council since 2015. She advocates for elevating the voices of individuals with lived experience in all areas of mental health systems. Nybelle is an experienced presenter and public speaker on peer support and mental health topics and has been training Intentional Peer Support since 2018. Following her lived experience with altered states, intimate partner violence, generational trauma, and navigating neurodiversity, Nybelle aspires to share her experiences with others so they know they are not alone. In addition to her peer work, she enjoys playing piano, video games, and creating galaxy paintings.

IPS State Certified Trainer & Peer Advocate

Jay Strauser

Jay Strauser started his recovery journey in 1998 after learning about AA/NA. As a veteran of Desert Storm, he sought help through the VA. Initially, Jay found himself afraid of the stigma around mental illness. It was not until later that he could address his mental health and addiction. He attended IPS Core training in 2014 after working in social services since 2004. IPS was a paradigm shift for Jay. He is a statewide IPS trainer, Hearing Voices Facilitator and he is working on a Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) trainer. Jay believes we can support and challenge each other to move toward the life we want. Jay likes spending time with his family, his dog, hiking, camping, woodcarving, and riding his motorcycle. 

Supervisor of Training, FolkTime’s Training Assistance Center