When Early Career Psychologists (ECPs) are asked what they want from the professional organizations to which they belong, the answer almost always includes “mentorship.” Yet, mentoring programs can be difficult to get moving off the ground. Perhaps one reason for this is that while it sounds simple in theory, mentorship is actually a complicated endeavor that is inherently interpersonal. Mentorship involves a relationship between at least two people (the mentor and mentee). Arguably, like psychotherapy, for the mentee to learn something of value from the mentor, there must be an underlying relationship that is in least “good enough” to facilitate learning.
Mentoring programs that pair mentees and mentors may be throwing the “relationship dice,” betting the success of the program on whether the mentor and mentee paired together happen to be a good interpersonal match. A separate potential problem with common mentoring programs has to do with content. The needs of ECPS are varied and diverse. ECPs want mentorship and guidance on a variety of topics from professional practice to teaching and research. The mentor and the mentee may not agree on the topics that should be covered or addressed within their mentoring relationship, or the same mentor may not be able to meet all the diverse needs of the mentee. Lastly, ECPs are busy. We are establishing private practices, working toward tenure, planning new classes, balancing family and work life, and juggling a number of other balls in the air.
All of these potential problems with common mentoring programs led me to establish a new mentoring program for Division 29 called the “mentoring hour series.” This new mentoring program is designed to connect ECPs to several mentors, as well as to other ECPs, around a number of different topics, in a relatively short time frame. In this new program, several mentees meet with an expert in our field (the mentor) over cyberspace for a one-hour mentoring event. Each of these one-hour events are topic specific and present a range of issues that are relevant to ECPS in the areas of psychotherapy research, practice, and teaching. This is a quick but meaningful way to obtain mentorship from an expert in psychotherapy while also meeting other ECPs. And, it is completely FREE.
Dr. John Norcross recently led the first mentoring hour on the therapeutic relationship in teaching, research, and practice. Please see our web site (https://societyforpsychotherapy.org) for upcoming mentoring hours, and don’t forget to preregister! If you are an ECP with an idea for a mentoring hour topic, or would like to volunteer to serve as a mentor, please do not hesitate to contact me at Rayna.Markin@Villanova.edu. This is one of several mentoring opportunities that our Division offers ECP members; others include our 1-year ECP mentoring program and our annual Reception with the Masters event at the APA annual convention.
Many ECPs want mentorship but for a variety of reasons are often left frustrated when their specific needs for mentorship are unmet. Division 29 offers a variety of mentoring programs for ECPs in varying formats so that the individual mentee can choose the format that feels like the best fit. Mentoring relationships can be difficult to navigate, and looking toward one mentor to meet all the diverse needs of a mentee may be a tall order. The hope of the mentoring hour program is to meet in least some of the mentoring needs of our ECP members one hour at a time.
Cite This Article
Markin, R. (2017). New mentoring hour program for early career psychologists: Getting mentorship one hour at a time. Psychotherapy Bulletin, 50(2), 54-55.