The path to a career in Social Work or as an MFT can take many forms and navigating your first steps in the field can seem daunting. Seeking the guidance of seasoned colleagues can help build towards a successful career and provide invaluable insight along the way. A mentor is not meant to take the place of your supervision or substitute for your traineeship, but rather to offer additional guidance on your path towards licensure and your career development.
So how do you go about starting the process?
Determine who you’re looking for. Begin your search by consciously thinking about where you are in your career and where you would like to go after licensure. Do you plan on honing in on a specialty, starting a private practice or desire to do group work? Assessing the path that you want to pursue will help to gauge and guide who will be able to help you grow in the areas that are most important to you.
Know what you want from the relationship. Take time to gain a clear understanding of what you are looking for in the relationship. Insight into your goals and desired results will ensure not only that you find a suitable mentor but help determine roles and expectations in your relationship. A mentor-mentee relationship can take many forms. It can be a monthly lunch, a quarterly phone call or a steady stream of e-mails.
Use Your Network. Start with the connections that you already have. CAMFT has a mentor program for pre-licensed/newly licensed MFTs in place and can connect you with seasoned colleagues in the field. Another option is to reach out to your school’s alumni association and see if they have a formal mentoring program. If not, contact a faculty member you respect or the student services agency if they have suggestions about possible mentors.