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Mentoring for Transition

The workshop sessions this conference and last have been heavy with the implication that if your initiative’s core group isn’t suffering from conflict, stress and burn out, it surely will be soon.  And to be fair to our conference organisers, they’re not wrong – it seems to be a common problem.

But I’ve just stepped out of a mentoring workshop that offered such a calm, measured approach to the issue that I know there must be hope for all the initiatives feeling tattered and strained by difficulties amongst its core people.

Totnes Mentoring service offers a place for individuals to develop their personal resilience, their ability to “bounce back” from the usual discouragements, from overwork and from the effect of criticism and disapproval in the wider community.  It came about as a response from the Inner Transition group, led by Lyndsey Stewart and Suzanne Dennis, to concerns for their personal resilience, voiced by the core group.  Suzanne and Lyndsey went out and found trained psychologists, psychotherapists and counsellors and requested a “gift” to Transition of their time and expertise as mentors.  Then, as initiative members requested support, volunteer mentors and mentees were matched up.  Together they worked out how often and for how long they would meet.  The mentors provided the space and the listening for self-reflection, self-awareness, the feedback that helps an individual sort things out independently.

It’s not coaching and it’s not counselling nor is it consultancy.  It is ethical and confidential. And the mentors are professionals who know when a situation needs to be referred on.  Suzanne and Lyndsey now report that mentoring has become so acceptable that people will suggest to each other

You could go for mentoring on that.

It’s worked for Transition Town Totnes, quietly and behind the scenes over 5 years to make sure that Transition keeps rolling out across the world, in the amazing way that it does.

So instead of worrying about your friends and core members or worse still, closing your ears to others whingeing about them, contact Lyndsey or Suzanne for more details.  You can find their statement on the Transition Network.  If you want to find qualified counsellors etc try contacting the Psychotherapists and Counsellors for Social Responsibility.  Is it worth the effort?  Remember your core members at their best – finding mentors to improve their resilience will be the most positive thing anyone has done for the progress of Transition in your area for a long time.