Mentorship is a wonderful opportunity to provide guidance and support to new professionals in the counseling field. Mentorship allows professionals to have that person that you can bounce ideas off and talk about their first experiences in counseling with and what they can expect in the counseling field. This is an opportunity to discuss goals and interests in the field with someone that is more experienced and can shed light on some issues, concerns, and rewarding experiences. You can think about mentorship as informal supervision.
In my graduate experience, there were and have not been any mentorship opportunities for masters or doctoral level students in counseling programs. We do have faculty advisors at both levels but no in-house or outside mentors. Mentorship programs at the master's level could look like students meeting bi-weekly or monthly with assigned mentors to discuss classes, professional goals, anxieties/worries related to becoming a new professional in the field as well as what students are looking forward to in the counseling field. Mentorship at the doctoral level could look like the same as master’s level with the addition of discussing research/publication and mentors providing informal guidance and support, and teaching challenges and rewards (if that is an area that student plans to move forward with).
Mentorship can also serve as real-life application for students that plan to supervise and mentor on their counseling journey. Mentorship can evaluate and understand their individual relationships between mentors and mentees and what works and does not work for them. Mentorship should be incorporated into counseling programs curriculums. Mentorship is one extra way that graduate students can feel supported in their programs.
I leave you with these reflective questions: What are your thoughts on mentorship in graduate counseling programs? If you are graduate student in counseling, does your school offer mentorship opportunities? If not, would you find it helpful to have the opportunity in your school? If you are a counseling professional, if offered, would you partner with universities to provide mentorship to graduate students?
Enjoy the read!
Janeisha Hood Rogers is a doctoral candidate in the counselor education and supervision program in Chicago, IL. She is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC) that has worked as a therapist in various settings including schools, community mental health agencies and in-patient hospitals. Janeisha is also a social justice advocate and enjoys raising awareness and educating others on mental health topics, social and cultural issues, and holistic healing.