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What is and what is not mentorship?

Mentorship is a central part of all Fluence Postgraduate Certificate Programs.  It expects, of mentors, a significant degree of assessment of the mentee’s progression in meeting the expectations of the program in preparation for graduation. Mentorship may have some qualities of personal psychotherapy;  in fact, ideally, the mentor and mentee together should explore personal issues, impediments and countertransference patterns that might arise in the mentee’s personal and professional life as it relates to their practice of psychedelic-assisted or psychedelic integration therapy. In particular, transference and countertransference reactions, enactments, and biases around psychedelics and/or psychedelic-assisted healing are ideal subjects for mentorship work.

Mentorship is not personal psychotherapy in the sense that mentors do not encounter their mentees within the psychotherapy paradigm. Neither is mentorship clinical supervision or case consultation, although material relating to clinical work or case consultation may emerge in mentoring sessions. Although they may or may not be licensed in the same profession as the mentee, mentors are free to provide information, referrals, and offer guidance on certain clinical situations (though these areas are ultimately best reserved for the clinical consultation groups in which all mentees participate). In contrast to a supervision/consultation model which centers the therapist in terms of clinical growth and development regarding their patients.

“The mentorship model centers the therapist in terms of self-discovery regarding their own development as a psychedelic therapist or integration therapist.”  

To summarize thus far: mentorship is not personal psychotherapy, clinical supervision, or case consultation, although elements of all three are welcome when and where relevant to the mentee’s progression with and personal integration of the Certificate Program and its content. Mentorship is an individualized relationship and point of contact for program participants; a place for mentees to explore their personal relationship to psychedelic work, develop their professional relationship to the field, and discuss and resolve challenges, barriers, and hindrances to meeting the Certificate Program’s objectives; and an avenue for feedback regarding mentee performance and development in this vein.

Who is involved and what are their responsibilities?

Both mentors and mentees will be alert to the program objectives of knowledge, competency, and experience and how Certificate students are meeting them.  Both agree to be present and on time for monthly mentoring sessions and to inform one another with reasonable notice if rescheduling is needed. Mentees will come from diverse personal and professional backgrounds, but all will be licensed clinicians or therapists enrolled in a Fluence Certificate Program. Mentees are expected to: 1)  engage in mentoring with transparency and willingness to explore their own values, motivations, and histories as related to the program content and professional development; 2)  take a proactive stance in working toward program objectives and requesting assistance or guidance in the areas they feel it necessary; 3) be open to feedback and guidance from mentors regarding progress toward program objectives; and 4) demonstrate a willingness to engage in remediation plans where requested.

Mentors come from a diverse and growing cohort of Fluence trainers led by Dr. Jeffrey Guss MD, and are matched with mentees according to the mentee’s personal preference, the mentor’s availability, and program leadership’s judgment of fit. Mentors can be understood as leaders, guides, role models, professional contacts, and supportive listeners who will take an active role in their mentee’s development, and are expected to: meet their mentees with openness and curiosity, valuing their unique experience, perspectives, and background; support their mentee’s professional development process by working with them to connect their individual values, motivations, and histories to the Certificate Program’s content; alert mentees to any areas in need of further development, areas of concern, or ways in which they are not meeting program expectations–providing ample opportunity for remediation and a timeline for reassessment; and finally to act ethically and responsibly at all times, maintaining appropriate boundaries and respecting their commitment to the mentoring relationship.

When and how does mentoring take place?

Mentees will be matched and expected to make initial contact with their mentor within 30 days of their enrollment in the Certificate Program via in-person or video sessions occurring at a mutually agreed-upon time for a minimum of three meetings over the course of the program.

Mentors may judge after no fewer than six meetings whether their mentee is eligible for certification as part of a holistic feedback process including the entire training team (clinical consultation and weekly reading group leaders, senior leadership, etc.). Accordingly, mentoring sessions can be considered private but not confidential, as mentors are expected to communicate with other team members on the content of their sessions broadly and as regards their mentee’s progression in meeting the graduation objectives, and to only share details if they pertain to a specific concern or problem the mentor feels may impact their mentee’s capacities to provide PIT in the field.

The first mentoring meeting will be more structured, whereby mentors and mentees review expectations, boundaries, and responsibilities of the relationship, and intentions; the areas of growth the mentee would like to focus on; and how the mentor can and will support them in this and provide feedback.

During mentorship, the mentee will be expected to explore and discuss how PHRI fits their scope of practice and how principles of access and inclusion inform their clinical practice and how they will approach PHRI.

Mentor and student will spend the final 5-10 minutes of each session collaboratively filling out a brief feedback form regarding their mentoring session. This will provide opportunity for for reflection and balancing self-assessment on the part of the mentee with formal assessment on the part of the mentor.

Conclusion: Why mentorship?

The mentorship program is an integral component to Fluence’s training in psychedelic integration, but the mentoring process can be seen as an integration practice in itself, whereby in fostering an inner-directed, reflective space, mentors and mentees have the freedom to explore their edges of growth together. This pertains to the mentee regarding their integration of the Certificate Program’s knowledge, competency, and experience objectives into their own established psychotherapist identity, as well as to the mentor, as stepping into this role and its responsibilities of critical assessment may be a novel and challenging experience for those more accustomed to being mentees themselves and/or by nature of their own psychotherapist identity and training in an unconditional encouragement paradigm.

Fluence recognizes that the field of psychedelic-assisted therapy and psychedelic integration therapy is continuously evolving, and just as the Certificate Programs adapt to meet it, so, too, will mentorship in this context. In its dynamic, holistic, transparent, and reflexive approach, the mentorship program ultimately serves Fluence’s mission of facilitating the development and dissemination of a diverse cohort of psychedelic therapists who feel confident, capable, and excited to expand knowledge around and access to psychedelics as medicines within their own diverse clinical populations.