• Vol. 38 No. 7, 643–646
  • 15 July 2009

Mentoring: Are We Doing It Right?



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Most clinicians and researchers will acknowledge the importance of mentoring in their respective fi elds but whether what is done is truly mentoring is presumed rather than explicit. This paper explores the nature and importance of mentorship in the development of a junior faculty member, and the qualities of a good mentor and mentee. It emphasises the multi-faceted complexity of this relationship including its potential problems, and its inevitable termination. This ending might be unexpected, premature and traumatic; or it may be planned when the mentee has developed a certain level of maturity and independence of thinking and judgment. Either situation requires working through this feeling of loss.

In his book The Seasons of a Man’s Life (based on a 10- year study on adult male development),2 David Levinson, a psychologist in Yale, wrote that a crucial task of early adulthood is finding a mentor, and upon reaching middle-age being a mentor is one of life’s major satisfactions and fulfills one of the psychological needs of mid-life.

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