Student-Chosen Guides Mentor and Celebrate the Journeys at Equinox
We have an intricate mentor system that pairs students with staff members, better known as guides. A guide can be any employee at Equinox chosen by the student after their first month in the program. Choosing their own guide is one of many purposeful ways for students to practice agency in their healing journey at Equinox. Once selected, the guide is tasked with building a strong, supportive connection. By deeply understanding the student, guides support students’ adjustment and progress in close collaboration with their clinician.
Our guides go above and beyond to champion the student and encourage them throughout the program on their healing journey. Equinox guides also lead progress ceremonies for students, in which they are uniquely celebrated after having demonstrated engagement in the program and progress in their individual treatment plan. While their mental health certainly benefits, making this sort of progress is not dependent on symptom improvement. Rather, our students are recognized for their positive engagement and efforts each mentor, even if they continue to experience symptoms such as anxiety or depression. Acknowledging pro-social choices is a good motivation for students to continue their progress and feel proud of their accomplishments.
“We’ve had some amazing ceremonies lately. It’s exciting to be a part of these moments and see the impact on our students. Our guides are so creative in their approach, and I love to see how it builds staff culture to plan and share in this way.”
– Equinox Executive Director John Moore
A few of our residential team members serve as current student guides. One of our guides made a special appearance during Equinox’s recent experiential week to celebrate their student around the fire with a symbolic gift, kind words, and s’mores. Another guide recently surprised their student with a staff-student rap battle. These are moments that help students realize the deep care and compassion in the daily work of their guides and peers. These surprise visits have an overall positive impact on experiential weeks and the group culture.
Each ceremony or surprise is personalized for the student as they are meant to feel seen and appreciated. The surprises can be playful or cathartic, always dependent on the student and their unique personality. The only guidelines for the ceremony are for guides to make it a surprise, and for it to be symbolic and special for the student being honored. The guide-ceremony system aligns with our relationship-based clinical model: trusting relationships drive change.
Experience the transformative power of personalized mentorship at Equinox.Contact our admission team today
John earned a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health from Western Seminary in Sacramento, CA. As a licensed mental health counselor with more than 10 years of clinical experience, John appreciates the transformational ability of individualized, relationship-based therapy and holistic programming unique to residential treatment centers.