Finding a Mentor

Alessa asks: "Is there any sort of mentoring program for pre-licensed members?"

Great question! Well the simple answer is yes. There are several options available for mentoring. We will review a few professional mentor programs, options for locating a mentor on your own, and hiring a coach or consultant to meet your needs.

First, professional organizations can be a great resource in finding a mentoring relationship. Both California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (CAMFT) and American Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (AAMFT) have mentoring programs. CAMFT has compiled a list of the contact information of licensed individuals who have volunteered to provide mentoring. Pre-licensed CAMFT members have access to this information when they log in to the members only section of the CAMFT website. The program is free for mentees, and upaid for mentors, and mentors and mentees are responsible for interviewing one another to find the right fit and to define the relationship. Larger areas are likely to have 2 or 3 options, but smaller cities often have no mentors listed.

AAMFT provides another, more informal option. Their forum provides a space where prospective mentors or mentees can post a request for a mentoring relationship. The benefits are that the postings are more free-form so people can make special requests and provide information about specialties. However, unlike CAMFT, these postings are not in a private forum, and to date, there are no postings from either mentors or mentees.

You can also commit to locating a mentor yourself. Through your interactions at local professional network meetings like your local CAMFT chapter, NASW meeting, or other professional meeting you can begin to scout for professionals that may meet your needs. You can also contact professionals that appear to be a good fit through the phonebook, online search engines, or any other avenue.

Another option is to use coaching or consultation to fulfill you mentorship needs. Of course, this means paying someone to provide you with the functions of the mentor. Why would you ever do that? There are many reasons you might choose a paid relationship. You may not find any suitable mentors in your area. You may have specific needs that available mentors cannot fill. Or, your goals may be better suited to a coach or consultant that has specialized skills and expertise. In addition, having a business relationship can sometimes give interns a greater sense of control and empowerment to use the relationship in a way that is most beneficial for them. There is no worry of stepping over the lines of a volunteer mentor relationship.

Whatever your situation is, I encourage you to consider a mentoring relationship of some sort. No one ever said you had to become a successful professional all on your own! Want to learn more about building a relationship with a potential mentor or area professional? Tune in next time for Learning to network: Hooking your mentor and other professionals.

By Miranda Palmer, MFT As published in March Interns Matter! Newsletter