Editors Blog

In it together: Why a sense of “shared reality” is vital in mentoring

By Jean Rhodes “If you have ever been to an award ceremony, then you know the drill” observes psychologist Abdo Elnakouri and his colleagues, “Awardees dutifully list off those who helped them along the way: mentors, family, friends, and perhaps a surprisingly crucial acquaintance or two. Without them, the crowd is told, success would not […]

Can mentors be trained in cognitive-behavioral therapy? New evaluation has answers

By Jean Rhodes Decades of research have shown that, with the right training and support, mentors and other paraprofessionals can deliver mental health interventions in ways that benefit youth. Doing so could help to bridge the substantial gaps in care. Indeed, less than a third of children and adolescents who need mental health and related […]

What is the “helper-therapy” principle? New systematic reviews shed light

By Jean Rhodes “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” – Mahatma Gandhi Helper Therapy Principle If you’re in the field of mentoring, you should probably know about the helper-therapy principle. It was first articulated by Frank Riessman in 1965, and helped shape the field of psychology’s […]

How shared laughter can strengthen mentoring relationships

There is little success where there is little laughter. ~Andrew Carnegie by Jean Rhodes It’s August, so let’s focus on a sunny topic——laughter.  A growing number of studies, including one highlighted in the Chronicle— show that, when people share a laugh and have fun together, they end up feeling closer and being more open with […]

Teaching to fish: New study highlights the value of building students’ social capital

By Jean Rhodes A growing number of innovative mentoring programs have emerged in recent years that involve both “teaching youth to fish” for mentors (i.e., to recruit natural mentors) and “stocking the pond” (i.e., expanding the availability of high-social capital adults in marginalized youth’s lives). For years, the National Guard Youth Challenge Program, an intensive […]

Born on the 4th of July: The link between Independence Day and Big Brothers Big Sisters of America

By Jean Rhodes “Older and wiser: New ideas for mentoring in the 21st Century ” was released as an audiobook this week. To mark this occasion, and the 4th of July, here’s an excerpt  about a generous young man who happened to glance out his window and see a boy in need: On the morning […]

Overcoming Cognitive Biases to Improve Youth Mentoring

by Jean Rhodes A range of cognitive biases have shaped our expectations and practices in formal mentoring programs and hindered progress in the field. Key Points: Conflation of Expectations: Informal and formal mentoring relationships are often conflated, leading to unrealistic expectations. Admittedly, for many years I support for this conflation based on attachment theory and […]

Two research-based strategies for building strong connections

Jean Rhodes Building strong, enduring mentoring relationships depends on many factors, including empathy, proximity, and shared interest.  But here are two  research-based tips that might be helpful to mentors. Reciprocal self-disclosure A new study from the University of Michigan highlights the value of reciprocal self-disclosure in building connections with others. The researchers conducted several studies, […]

Mentor in the loop–Is there a role for AI in mentoring relationships?

By Jean Rhodes In recent years, my colleagues and I have been exploring how web and mobile platforms can enhance mentoring programs—–not replacing face-to-face connections, but enabling efficient between meeting communication and collaboration. Such platforms also allow mentors and programs to share resources, deliver personalized feedback, and track mentees’ progress.  They are also extremely well […]

Motivational interviewing: What is it and how can it improve mentoring?

By Jean Rhodes In a recent review, Hart, McQuillin, et al. (2023) explored how teaching motivational interviewing to school-based paraprofessionals can help bridge gaps in mental health services. This has direct relevance for mentoring programs and is becoming an increasingly popular strategy. But what exactly is motivational interviewing? What is motivational interviewing? We all know […]