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In a February 7, 2019 Chronicle of Evidence-Based Mentoringpost, Dr. Jean Rhodes brought practitioners’ attention to an important lens through which to view mentoring. She writes:

In previous columns, I have discussed the benefits of drawing from prevention science – a field that provides a rigorous template for assessing and targeting youth needs and evaluating and disseminating successful program models (Cavell & Elledge, 2015). What can we learn from treatment science? Let’s start by recognizing that mentoring relationships share many commonalities with therapeutic relationships.

Rhodes goes on to explain how psycholo-gists Jerome & Julia Frank, in their book Persuasion & Healing, discuss four important elements common across all helping relationships, namely:

  1. A “confiding relationship with a helper [who] genuinely cares about their welfare and has no ulterior motives.”
  2. A “healing setting”
  3. A “rationale, conceptual scheme, or myth that provides a plausible explanation” for their connection
  4. And a believable intervention that will benefit the subject.

These conditions exist where programs like Grand Area Mentoring establish healthy, long-term relationships. Rhodes says,

Formal mentoring occupies a place in the pantheon of healing interventions. And although rarely acknowledged and not yet particularly systematic, formal mentors frequently draw on an array of therapeutic approaches. For example, as a mentor encourages her mentee to think and act in more adaptive ways, she is likely employing principles of cognitive behavioral therapy. Likewise, efforts to encourage mentees to be more forgiving and accepting of themselves may pull from self-compassion, acceptance, and commitment therapy, and so forth.

In fact, Moab mentors regularly employ strategies to bolster those four key conditions and incorporate intentional instruction. For example, one mentor helped her mentee with many projects, including a health plan. She said, “Let’s set some goals together. I aim to work out three times each week. What goals do you have? How can we make sure we get there? Let’s come up with concrete steps. And let’s choose a reward for when we reach our goals!”

Other mentors help their mentees build social connections through supervised practice. For example, they might say: “Today we’re going to share this snack with other mentors and students. Let’s go around and talk to everyone. You can make the offer.”

Grand Area Mentoring will continue to capitalize on the natural therapeutic setting of mentoring and do as Dr. Rhodes suggests: “fully embrace the best that treatment and prevention science has to offer.”


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