Education & Events

Annual Mentoring Groups

Alliance Mentoring Groups

The Alliance offers mentoring groups as a membership benefit to psychotherapists who are in their first 10 years of clinical practice in the field of psychotherapy.  The primary objective of the Alliance Mentor Program is to support early-career therapists during the challenges of beginning practice. 

Mentor Groups are led by mid-career and senior psychotherapists and analysts who volunteer their time. Each group has 4-8 members. Group formats vary, but typically mentees can expect clinical discussions and case consultation, exploration of psychoanalytic theory and frame, the opportunity for collegial connectedness, and an entrée to the broader Alliance community and its programs. Groups may also consider the pressing concerns of our times - such as dismantling institutional racism, confronting climate reality, or expanding our understanding of gender identity & expression – as they relate to or implicate the psychoanalytic tradition and practice of psychodynamic psychotherapy. Each group will develop its own character, based on the person of the mentor, and the desires and experiences of group members. 

The Mentor Program is dedicated to surfacing and addressing explicit and implicit bias in ourselves, our clinical work, and our education, recognizing the long history of exclusion of certain groups in our training institutes and programs, and the quieting of their voices in the study and important work of psychotherapy.  
Program requirements:
  • Group members must hold and maintain a current Alliance Membership. If you are not already an active Alliance member, please join or renew your membership prior to choosing a Mentor Group. Membership will be verified.
  • Attend all group sessions, barring unforeseen circumstances or conflicts. Please verify that you are able to meet the schedule requirement for your group before registering. Each group meets for 1.5 hours, twice a month.
  • Registration fee: Full 9-Month group $150.00
                              Single Semester 10-week group $90.00
  • Arrange with your mentor to meet briefly prior to the start of your group for introductions and an orientation to your group. Your mentor will contact you.

Questions? Contact mentoring-groups@nwaps.org.


2023-2024 mentor group registration has closed. 2024-2025 registration coming soon. Become a member to recieve early access to group registration when it opens. 


FAQs

Can I attend the first group to decide if it’s a good fit for me?


No. Like other classes, mentor groups ask for an upfront commitment that entails some risk to join. Mentors will contact each participant in a group ahead of the first meeting. Speaking one-on-one with the mentor is an opportunity to begin to build a positive relationship to your group. The pre-meeting is also an opportunity to potentially uncover a conflict that could indicate the group will not be a good fit. Groups begin the process of building trust and connections from the first meeting, and we request all who register to please respect the process.


What do I do If there is a clinical conflict with another participant or case material?


If you discover that you have a clinical conflict with another member in the group, please speak with your mentor to discuss the situation. If you discover that you have a clinical conflict with a case that is being presented, (i.e. you have a personal connection to the case), please speak up right away so you can excuse yourself from the group consultation. Another option would be to make it known in your group that you’ve become aware of a conflict with the case material and work with your group to decide how to proceed. In all situations, you are encouraged to speak with your mentor about the issue. If you feel you need more help sorting through the dynamic, feel free to reach out to the mentor program administrator.


Will I be the only person of color in my group? Can I know that in advance?


Mentor groups reflect the membership of the local NWAPS community. You may be the only BIPOC therapist in your group, but this is not something that will be known in advance by the program administrator. Mentor groups do not hold the expectation for anyone to represent all BIPOC therapists, clients or population groups. That said, should you experience group dynamics that reflect explicit or implicit bias that you believe are not being adequately addressed in your group, please speak with your mentor, and/or inform the program administrator, at mentoringgroupapplication@gmail.com.


If I find that I’m the only person holding a specific identity in my group, can I change groups? 


Placement in a mentor group is by self-selection at the time of registration. The potential exists to be the only female, male, non-binary person or other identity in a mentor group. Mentoring groups are offered to the early-career therapist to foster professional and clinical development. We ask that you allow time for your group to build a degree of trust with one another, and to speak with your mentor regarding your concerns. If, as a group member, you feel your professional development is being compromised by group dynamics, please reach out to the administrator to work towards a solution. Placement in another group cannot be guaranteed due to space limitations.


How should I proceed if I participated in a single-semester group that started in the fall, and I want to continue into spring?


If you would like to continue with a mentor group for Spring Semester, you will need to register for a new group when registration opens in mid-November. Second Semester mentors and times will be different from First Semester.


I registered for a full 9-month term group and I want to end early. Can I do so? 


The expectation is that participants who register for full 9-month groups will attend for the duration of the group. No refunds can be given for early termination of a mentor group during the course of the program year. If you need to leave the group for an unforeseen reason, you and your group may benefit greatly by openly discussing your leaving. Please discuss this with your mentor as soon as you suspect there may be a disruption to your participation.


Do you offer sliding scale or are scholarships available?


No sliding scale rates or scholarships are available for mentor group registration. Mentor group fees have been established to reflect the real costs of this volunteer-run program. Mentors and committee members receive no payment for their services. The fee charged for a mentor group, moderated by a senior clinician, is an extraordinary value relative to what consultation groups offered in the private practice community generally charge. We are committed to keeping the costs as low as possible.


Why do I have to be an Alliance member to join?


The mentor program is one of the core benefits of joining NWAPS, reflecting the Alliance mission to promote psychoanalytic learning in the community. Limited space is available each term, so access to the Mentor Program remains a benefit of membership, and is not open to the psychotherapy community at large.


I don’t know anything about psychoanalytic theory—is that OK?


Mentor groups are designed to be a gateway into learning how to listen and think psychoanalytically. Topics range from the basics of theory and practice of psychodynamic and psychoanalytic models, to the nuts and bolts of starting out in private practice. Some suggested readings may be challenging for participants who have not read psychoanalytic theory before, but the groups are designed to support new learning and do not hold rigorous academic expectations. Peer-to-peer consultation predominates in most groups, and diverse voices and experiences are welcomed.


I don’t have any clinical experience yet—is that OK?


Participants who get the most out of mentor groups, and feel they have the most opportunity to contribute to the life of the group, typically have clinical experience. If you do not yet have clinical experience, and are eager to learn about psychodynamic/psychoanalytic theory and practice, please contact the administrator to learn about the other educational offerings provided by NWAPS this year. The mentor program has been in continuous operation for many years, so it’s OK to wait until you have clinical experience to join a group!


I’ve only worked with people via telehealth. Can the mentors support me?


Like you, our mentors are now experienced with working psychodynamically and psychoanalytically over video platforms. We expect to serve many new therapists who graduated during the pandemic and may never have yet worked in-person. Much discussion and reflection has ensued in recent years about the impact of telehealth on our practices, and your mentor will be able to support you where you are at.


I’m still in my graduate program. Can I join a group?


No. Mentor groups are for clinicians in their first 10 years of practice. We ask that you have graduated from the academic portion of your graduate program before joining a mentor group.


I’m in my internship. Can I join a group?


If you are in your internship, regular supervision with a licensed clinical supervisor is required. If you are actively seeing patients in an outpatient clinical setting as part of your internship, and feel you are receiving significantly less-than optimal support for your growth, you may register for a mentor group. Mentor groups are not a substitute for personal psychotherapy, nor a substitute for the case supervision required for licensure. Please add the name of your graduate program, your internship site and the name of your supervisor to the intake form.


Do mentor groups count for supervision towards licensure or offer CEUs?


No CEUs are offered for mentor group hours. Mentor groups do not count towards the supervision hours required for licensure, but may be counted as indirect hours. Please check with your licensing body. Mentors, and the NWAPS Mentoring Program, carry no legal responsibility or liability for case consultation in mentor groups.


I work with children/couples/families/etc. Is there a mentor group for me?


All mentors welcome clinicians into their groups who work with children, couples, families or groups. While not every mentor will maintain a practice geared towards the specific population you serve, all the mentors have the educational background and professional experience to allow them to tailor psychodynamic/ psychoanalytic consultation thoughtfully to your work.