Regardless of the profession we are aligned with, there was always somebody in our past who shepherded us along. That special man or woman who took us under their wing and offered us very possibly our first glimpse at mentorship.
I think back to my first clinical mentors, Lauren Cohen, Danny Roitberg, and Dr. Barbara Levinson, who gave selflessly to help me “find my way” in the field of addiction studies. In fact, they saw something in me long before I did, encouraging me to go back to school, allowing me to sit in on groups to observe, teaching me both the clinical side but also how the back office ran. In hindsight, they set me up superbly so when it was time to do my Practicum, I was ready. And with their patience and nurturing, I somehow completed the clinical training hours, took my exam and passed. It was because of the hands on gifts they afforded me, not to mention the hours of one-on-one prep for my exams, that I was absolutely prepared. I will forever be grateful to them, and I realized early on that the best way I could repay them was to pass the gifts on.
So the million dollar question is, are you paying it forward? Have you offered the gifts of mentorship to the student or trainee who was once the newbie in the office? That newcomer who stumbled lost new to the business yet filled with that eagerness to learn and only hoping someone like you would offer that outreached hand?
For me, my first full time job in the addiction field was running an LCDC training school, where I could work with students daily. I supervised the Practicum and Clinical Training Programs for The Right Step for ten years, and found the giveaway to truly be one of the greatest rewards to date. When I moved over to Extended Aftercare, the first thing I did was apply for a CTI license and put together a Practicum Program so we could continue the outreach to students and interns. And what an amazing joy it has been. Sure it takes a good deal more work, as if the days aren’t busy enough, but isn’t that what we are put on the earth to do? Teach? Teach our children, our sponsees, ourselves? Is it time that you are ready to teach our students? Because they need you. There are too few certified training institutes around so as I see it, the time is now to give back. Honor those mentors who taught you. Speak to any institution offering LCDC coursework about setting up a Practicum Agreement with them, or contact TDSHS at www.dshs.state.tx.us if you are interested in being a Clinical Training Institution.
The rewards are amazing.