What Is Mentor Counseling®?

Introducing Mentor Counseling®

The Mentor Counseling® Process is a powerfully effective method of guiding youth on their journey through adolescence, preparing them to become successful young adults. This is primarily an educational model, using creative and innovative ways to help teach and instill in youth the resiliency and quality of thinking and skills at doing that empowers them to lead happy, successful lives.

Because this is not problem based or affectively driven work as they often encounter in things like psychotherapy, many youth find the positive nature of this style of work to be inspiring, and they readily choose to engage in it.

Rather than focusing on resolving or healing past events, this model is based on the premise that the struggles most youth face (and the behaviors they exhibit as they do) are a result of not yet having the emotional and mental maturity necessary to be able to sustain a sense of balance and stability amidst the many challenges of adolescence.

This model is explicitly designed to give youth the experiences and learning they need to develop this maturity.. The kind of maturity that empowers them to lead extraordinary lives!

The four essential components of Mentor Counseling®:

1. Teaching youth to have a positive, internally generated sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Rather than relying on needing the validation of others to feel good about themselves, this phase of the process teaches them to know intrinsically how to organize their bodies and minds to be able to stay “centered and balanced” no matter what kinds of circumstances they find themselves in. The primary modality for delivering this is the use of Soma-Semantics Modeling™ and the Mythogenic Self® Process.

2. Teaching youth to live life from a position of personal power – Assuming personal accountability. Rather than follow the all too common path of “victim” thinking, this process teaches youth instead to assume responsibility for their role in the circumstances they find themselves in. They will learn to answer essential questions like “What decisions and choices did I make that allowed for this to happen to me?” In so doing they will discover that there is far more power in owning up to the choices they’ve made then there is in blaming others, as it frees them to make different choices and allows others to be free from the burden of having to worry about the endless possibility of being blamed for their responses to things. Internalizing this way of thinking and living is huge step towards maturity.

3. Teaching youth to cultivate and sustain healthy, positive relationships. This process teaches youth how to have exceptional relationships, built on trust, integrity and mutual positive regard. This aspect of the work teaches youth to communicate directly and honestly, and especially to keep separate what is about them and what is about others, taking ownership of their own ways in which they make meaning out of things and of the responses they have to things. The primary modality for teaching this is learning the Clean Communication Process™.  This process teaches them how to talk directly to people rather than talking about them behind their backs, and to have uncomfortable conversations rather than avoiding them.  It also teaches them to avoid gossiping and to avoid spreading rumors. They will learn to follow the model of people who have happy, healthy positive relationships where conflicts are minimal and are handled with ease, and where loving one another and being supportive and encouraging and positive are the dominant force in the relationship.

4. Teaching youth how to make a positive impact on the world — The art of committing to something greater than oneself and following through... This aspect of the process teaches youth to adopt the mindset and qualities of character of those who “make things happen”. Here they will learn to be positive and always begin by noticing what is working in their lives. They will learn to be resilient and flexible in their thinking. They will learn to identify what opportunities are “On their path” and what are not, mastering the craft of making excellent decisions. They will develop the capacity to sustain the intensity required to see projects through from start to finish. Primary modalities for teaching this will include learning about The Hero’s Journey (as codified by Joseph Campbell), as well as the Intentional Decision Making Process™ ( as created by Joseph Riggio and Roye Fraser) and then how to carefully select exemplars in any field as people to model themselves after. They will also learn such skills as how to align themselves with influential people, gaining every advantage they can as they grow into young adults.

Who this is for and how long it takes.

Depending on where a youth is in their development when we start, the process can take anywhere from a few sessions to many years to learn and master. As a mentor/counselor, my job is to play the appropriate role necessary to help guide them through the stage of development they are at, to then successfully move to the next stage.  Sometimes this is just to listen and be emotionally supportive. Mostly it is to be directive and assertive with guidance and advice, like a coach or like the magical guide/mentor figures who show up in films like Star Wars.  The progress of the work is always respectful of the youth’s willingness and readiness to do the work necessary – including the willingness to hear “the truth” even when it isn’t pleasant.

The age range I work with varies from 12 to 30+, most falling in the middle school through college age range. Typically the work begins with an intensive amount of contact, typically weekly until proper rapport and foundational work is established, especially during the first phase of the process. After that the amount of contact tends to lessen, with episodes of lots of contact in the midst of certain events that need that level of input.

Though the ideal is always to work in person, depending on the maturity of the individual youth, much of this work can be done over the phone. Because of this though I work with young people and their parents across the US and in Europe. The initial contact though must be in person if at all possible and we agree to get together in person whenever it is reasonably possible.

Parent Involvement

We all live inside of systems and for children, the primary system is the family system they have at home. Because of this I ask parents to be very involved in this work, viewing me as both a partner in the process of raising their children and as a trusted advisor who brings a certain expertise and objectivity when it may be difficult for parents to always do so on their own.

We will talk as frequently as need be, and on occasion I will ask parents to come in with their kids to discuss issues, including their own patterns of communication with their kids. It is vital parents be willing to be learners in this process too, and to be willing to be authentic and accountable for their role in the struggles their children encounter.  To not do so is to go counter to everything I am teaching their children about how to live lives of integrity – and it will have an impact on their relationship with their children when their children are growing while they are choosing not to. Because some parents choose not to take any role in this work, there is an extensive waiver and acknowledgement form I ask people to sign. Through this work, their children will grow stronger and wiser and it will shift their relationship with their parents. Since this is the parents choice to not be involved while this is happening, I expect those parents will acknowledge that they know this and are choosing to let it occur without their involvement.

Fortunately the vast majority of parents are thrilled to be involved in this work. Sometimes in fact I work primarily with the parents when the child is reluctant to participate. It is always interesting how quickly the kids get interested in being involved when the parents change and the kids find that their old ways are not getting the response from their parents that it once did!

Essential Values and Beliefs

The Mentor Counseling® Process  is based on these core values and beliefs. It is vital that those who hire me to work with their kids agree that these values are ones they want their children to learn:

• People are best served to find their self-worth intrinsically rather than externally.

• Each of us has our own unique journey and there is no one “right way”. What matters is that people learn to identify what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ for them and that they develop the capacity to recognize this and act on it.

• We are always teaching kids about life through the ways we behave. The parental relationship and the behaviors parents exhibit, is the most influential factor on how kids learn to behave in life and how to be in relationships.

• Gossiping and spreading rumors is always destructive

• Either talk to people directly about issues or concerns you have with them, or drop it and move on.

• Once a person is old enough to know they have choices, it is impossible to be a total victim of the circumstances they are in.

• Self-Accountability is the key to personal power and integrity. It also takes courage to be honest and truthful with oneself, and with others.

• Blaming others and thinking of oneself as a victim are destructive of more than just the person who is doing it. Blaming and complaining in fact negatively impacts the lives of all those around those who do it.

• It is okay for young teens to find that their primary motivation to do well in school is to play sports or have a social life. As long as they are getting an education, they will be glad they have it when they do finally grow into an age where they find what they do want to learn.

• Many parents do not get that their expectations for their children to achieve a certain mark academically are actually received by their children as conditions on their love – and often it actually is.  It is vital that children are raised knowing and feeling that they are loved unconditionally.

• Teens need to have a private life, and their right to privacy needs to be respected.

• Sexual activity, as well as experimenting with alcohol and marijuana, during the teen years is normal and is neither fundamentally wrong nor fundamentally right. What matters is that teens make choices which are wise for their health, both physical and emotional.

• Holding teens accountable for their choices is a vital aspect of growing into a healthy young adult. They need to learn that their actions have consequences. Too many parents let their kids off too easy, and often they do so because keeping them “on punishment” is inconvenient to the parent. This sends damaging messages to kids and is never useful.

• The sooner teens set their own academic goals and assume responsibility for getting them, the better.

• The best way to assess how you are doing in your life is to look at the people you are attracting into your life. The second best way is to notice who you are attracted to.

• The best way to assess a teen’s values is to notice where they spend their time, then where they spend their money.  With adults, reverse the order.

• The desire and insistence to “be right” has destroyed more relationships than anything else. Transcend it and get a shot at having an extraordinary life.

• The ultimate measure of the quality of our lives will be the impact we had on others through our relationships, and then on the impact we’ve made on the world through our actions.

• One thing you say or do can change a person’s life.

Fees:

My fee structure is on the high end of people doing professional work with youth. I make a substantial commitment to be involved in your life and ask for a substantial commitment in return. We either agree on a monthly fee which includes all the time and things like phone access, or an hourly fee. About half of clients fall into each category.

My commitment to parents who hire me includes an assurance that if at any point I think I am not the right person to be doing this work with their child or I think it is not progressing, that I will let them know and make it simple to discontinue our work with no financial obligation beyond paying for the work already done.

Otherwise I ask that they be willing to make the commitment long enough to give their child the opportunity to receive the benefits from it. I ask them to commit to supporting their child in having this relationship with me since to discontinue it when it is making a positive impact on the child is unfair to their youth and can ultimately be destructive.

If they are not prepared to commit to this for the long term then they should look elsewhere. It would be in each of our best interest.

Confidentiality:

Since I am not a psychotherapist, there is no legal privilege of confidentiality covering Mentor Counseling. Thus I ask parents to agree to this through contractual consent.

It is vital that teens have a private relationship with me for this work to be effective. While I will always abide by the Mandated Reporting laws, it is left to my discretion to share with parents what I think they should know. I ask parents to sign a waiver acknowledging their consent to trust my judgment on this, and to explicitly discuss with me any concerns they may have about where this boundary lies. If we cannot reach an agreement then I will not do the work with this client.

© Likone Corp 2006

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