Our new mentoring scheme started in September 2022 and will run for 11 months, ending in August 2023. The scheme will support our work to improve equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) in the counselling professions.
Feedback from our members has shown training in our profession is lacking in EDI awareness and development. There are wide-ranging reasons for this, including:
- counselling and psychotherapy theories that have influenced training are predominately written by white, heterosexual males so are not relevant for all circumstances
- training is Eurocentric1
- many diverse religious beliefs and values are insufficiently integrated into the curriculum
- EDI is insufficiently embedded within the curriculum with a low uptake of minority therapists becoming trainers
Too often, responsibility for teaching and educating falls on those students who do have lived experience and are prepared, or expected, to share their experiences.
It’s important that we offer current trainees support to progress and succeed in the training environment. Through round table discussions, we've seen one common solution arise to address these issues: mentoring. Trainees have expressed a strong desire for mentoring support, which has led to the launch of this initiative.
What is mentoring?
Mentoring is a developmental dialogue and confidential partnership between two people based on understanding and trust. It’s a process of support and development, helping mentees tackle issues and achieve their goals. The partnership is driven primarily by the mentee, but it's a two-way learning relationship where the mentor can learn from the relationship as well.
We initially set out to match 20 pairs of mentors and mentees, primarily driven by the needs of the mentee, to form two-way learning relationships where the mentor can also learn from the relationship.
Following an exceptional response to the recruitment process, we’re delighted to have increased the number of pairings by 50% and matched 30 pairs of mentors and mentees to take part in the scheme. All pairs will start to work together from October and will meet every four to six weeks to provide and receive support, and to gain opportunities and new insight from the shared relationship.
We’ll provide further updates on the scheme over the coming months.
1. Charura and Lago, 2021