Regardless of whether the termination was scheduled or unscheduled, and irrespective of who might have initiated it, activities can be a useful means of involving the protégé in the termination process. These activities, which were adapted in part from literature on terminations in child psychotherapy, can help mentors and mentees review the relationship, highlight accomplishments, address issues of loss, and reframe the ending.

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Plan final meeting.

The mentor and protégé should work together to plan a special fun outing prior to the final meeting.

Celebrating the memories.

The mentor can also work with the protégé to make a memory box or collage that depicts feelings, skills, and memories of shared activities. New research, as outlined in this post, strongly suggests that the simple act of writing about the end of a relationship can help facilitate a healthier closure.

Addressing the loss.

Activities that address loss might include sharing photographs of the mentor and mentee together, or making hand drawings, in which the mentor’s hand is outlined next to the adolescent’s.

Anticipating the end.

Mentors can help their mentees anticipate and gain some sense of control over the end of the relationship by jointly making a calendar or a picture of an hourglass that signifies remaining meetings, or creating a timeline in which the termination date is set.

Give ample warning

Mentors who anticipate an impending termination should give their mentees ample warning. A few weeks’ notice and an appropriately detailed explanation can provide adolescents with a better understanding, reassurances, and the opportunity to reach some sort of closure. Unfortunately, mentors are often reluctant to broach the topic and often postpone discussions. They may feel guilty and fearful of negative reactions. Case managers can help mentors to determine the correct timing.