A mentor is a cranio sacral therapist who is achieving the sort of results that you aspire to achieve. Having a mentor is crucial to ensuring that you get where you want to go in your cranio sacral training.
As well as being a sounding board and support, your mentor may also be the therapist who assesses you.
After quite a bit of trial and error I discovered that the best way to do practical assessments was as follows: The student would come to see me, with a willing volunteer. They would then go through various techniques while I monitored what was happening in their patient.
Note: The volunteer shouldn’t be another cranio sacral student or therapist as their intention will influence the proceedings. From experience I found that if I asked a student to demonstrate a frontal lift, for example, and the volunteer was a another cranio sacral student or therapist, before the student had even positioned themselves for the lift the volunteer was already lifting their frontal bone with their intention.
The real value of assessment is the feedback you get.
Time and again I found that students would have a good knowledge of the theory and their hands would be in the right place but it was only when I tuned into their patient’s system was I able to give them really useful feedback about what they were doing.
Feedback like. . .
‘You were doing great, then you went past the point and started to push. Their system stopped but you kept going.’
‘8 of those fingers are perfect. But that one is too heavy and that one is too light.’
‘Your shoulders are too tight, it’s making your arms tense and shaky.’
‘You’re looking too hard, let it come to you.’
‘You’ve got your intention in this area, which is great, now include this bit and this bit.’
It is important to know that ‘Assessment’ doesn’t mean examination. An assessment isn’t an ‘exam’. It is based on the knowledge that you want to get it right and become competent. The role of your assessor is to help you to do that. Assessment should go on throughout the training. There are two types of practical assessment.
Directional assessment – This is assessment designed to keep you on the right track. It is intended to help you avoid getting into bad habits by practicing a technique incorrectly or labouring under an incorrect understanding of a concept.
Competence assessment – This is to assess your competence in a particular technique. No assistance or helpful tips are given. This is assessment to see if you can do it on your own.
Now hang on while I get my soap box out. This is the sort of assessment and feedback EVERYONE learning cranio sacral should get about EVERY technique they learn.
I understand only too well how time consuming this type of assessment is for the assessor. Nevertheless, if every school adopted this type of full competency assessment and stopped taking the short term, adjunct, quick cash view, cranio sacral therapy would take a massive leap forward around the world in terms of competence and notoriety. (Soap box put away.)
Mentorship happens in the following ways.
One to One.
This takes the form of bringing a person to practice on. Your mentor tunes in as you demonstrate a particular technique. Depending on whether you are having Directional or Competence assessment, your mentor will give you specific feed back about your contact and intention and/or hints and tips on how to get better at the particular technique.
This takes the form of one to one consultation via phone or skype.
How often will I need to see my mentor?
That depends on you and will vary through out the course of your training. Sometimes you will need to see them more that others.
As a working rule of thumb you can expect to see your mentor once a month for an assessment, either directional or competence. You will probably have at least one half hour phone conversation with them a month also.
You will find that just knowing they are there and that you can call them if you need to often makes it unnecessary to actually do that.
How much should you pay for mentorship?
Ideally you should pay your mentor approximately 10% more than they charge for their treatment sessions. So if your mentor charges 100(whatever you currency is)’s for treating an adult then you should pay 110 for a one to one assessment and half that for a 30 minute phone call.
I suggest this because teaching is harder than doing so you are going to have to make it worth their while to teach you when they could be making the same money, more easily, treating people.
Bear in mind this approach to cranio sacral training is not common as yet so while it is developing you may find yourself enrolled with a cranio sacral school and paying their fees and having to pay your mentor. Try not to make your financial situation your mentors problem.
Ultimately what you pay your mentor is something you are going to work out between you and your mentor.
Who is qualified to be a mentor?
That is up to you, the prospective student. It will be determined by what kind of a cranio sacral therapist you want to become. If you want to have qualifications and letters after your name then that is the sort of mentor you should seek out. If qualifications don’t matter that much to you then look for a mentor who gets the sorts of results you want to get. Personally I think your mentor should, above all else, inspire you.
Choosing your mentor is your first chance to trust your own judgement in the cranial field. Go and meet your prospective mentor. Have a cup of tea with them. Hang out with them. See if you are compatible. Sit in on some of their sessions if they will let you. Offer to help them out in their practice. Answer phones, make appointments, that kind of thing. Go for a directional assessment with them.
To find a mentor near you look at the list of cranio sacral therapists here.
Can I have more than one mentor?
Yes and it is probably better if you do as it will give you different perspectives. The only caution I would add is to be careful not to play one mentor off against another within yourself as a way of avoiding some of the more difficult aspects of your training.
I have been asked to be a mentor. What do I do?
Don’t panic. Read through this post to see what it’s all about then look through the training materials here. If there is, in your opinion, a gaping hole in the training materials provided then get in touch, send in what you feel is missing and I will add it.
If you need further information about being a mentor contact me here.