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Mentorship With Dr. Jason Ediger: Nurturing Future Psychologists for Success



Like most psychologists, Dr. Jason Ediger earned his degree by completing many years of formal schooling. Yet, at the same time, he believes that mentorship within the field contributed equally — if not more so — to his clinical proficiency.

And so, to ensure the continuity of skillful, compassionate care for mental wellness, Ediger has also committed to paying that experience forward, making mentorship a critical element of his professional development.

Learning From Experience

Dr. Jason Ediger believes that when it comes to psychology, teachers and mentors significantly impact the nature of your future practice. The formative figure in his career was Dr. John Walker, a man to whom he affectionately refers “as my psychological father figure.”

Ediger explains that the two psychologists worked together in a variety of roles from 1998 until 2017. “He was my supervisor for a whole bunch of work in his lab as a research assistant, then he was a supervisor in my postdoc.”

After Ediger earned his degree, the two became colleagues. Ediger says, “Dr. Walker was the guy I called when all the stuff hit the fan and I needed an outside perspective. He’s probably the central mentor … the one that was kind of a through thread through the whole process from kind of late undergrad through to when he died.”

In addition to providing mentorship to other psychologists, Walker was one of the founders of CBT Manitoba, a not-for-profit organization in Manitoba, Canada, that leverages the power of cognitive behavioral therapy to improve the mental health of people in that province.

Additionally, Walker founded the Anxiety Disorders Association of Manitoba, an organization Dr. Jason Ediger describes as “kind of like AA for anxiety in Manitoba.”

Today, there’s evidence of the influence Walker’s mentorship had on Ediger the way he incorporates many principles of CBT into his clinical practice working at CBT Manitoba, and in his decision to serve on the board of the Anxiety Disorders Association. But an even clearer indication of the value Ediger places on the mentorship he received is his commitment to filling this role in the lives of psychologists who are in the thick of their own training.

Dr. Jason Ediger: Strengthening the Next Generation

In reflecting on his relationship with Walker, Ediger notes, “As the years went by and we became more [like] colleagues, there was a period of time where I would see him every day. I would get an email from him at two in the morning and I would get an email from him at five in the morning. And he had slept in between those two things.

“As I finished, got my own job, my own roles, I would see him every three months or every six months.” And still, despite the increasing distance between their physical visits or digital interactions, the clinical psychologist emphasizes that he always kept that relationship in the background.

When Walker got sick, Ediger says, “I am glad that I got a chance to say, ‘You know what, I just wanna say thank you. I am where I am in part because of the help you gave me over the years and the relationship we have.’”

It was an honor, notes Ediger, that when Walker was ill, he asked his protege to take over some of his patients.

Now, Ediger pays it forward by mentoring younger psychologists. “One of the things he taught me, I’m not trying to make a mini-me, I’m not trying to turn out another version of Jason Ediger.

“I’m trying to turn out a competent version of whoever’s sitting in front of me. And so we’re trying to work within their strengths and their interests.

“What I might do in therapy might not be what they do in therapy. Heck, half the time they can make things work that I can’t. And vice versa.”

Rather than trying to teach his exact approach to therapeutic work — an evolved application of CBT that works on everything from chronic pain to social anxiety — Jason Ediger tries to inspire his students to find and implement a clinical approach that plays toward their own strengths and interests.

In that way, he hopes that one day, his mentees will take what they learn from this relationship and pay it forward as well, ultimately contributing to the chain of tradition that informs every generation of past, present, and future psychologists.