Congratulations! You’ve earned your master’s degree, and now you’re ready to start your career as a therapist. But one challenge remains before you can take your exams and obtain licensure: completing your clinical supervision hours.
It’s unfortunate that so many pre-licensed therapists view supervision as a frustrating roadblock in their journey to licensure — but I completely understand why. I felt the same way when I was in your shoes.
When I was earning my hours to become an LMFT, I struggled to find a quality, affordable supervision within a reasonable distance. I ended up commuting two hours each way to meet with my supervisor. It was worth it, but it wasn’t easy.
Fortunately, the times they are a-changin’. Pre-licensed therapists now have more options than ever for completing their supervision hours, in large part thanks to tele-supervision. Still, it can be difficult to know where to start looking for a clinical supervisor, let alone how to find someone you truly gel with.
That’s where this guide comes in. We’ll walk through:
Before you begin your search for a clinical supervisor, take some time to reflect on what you’re looking for in a supervisor, and do your research on what’s required of you. This includes:
First and foremost, make sure you understand your state’s clinical supervision requirements. How many hours do you need to complete? Can they be completed online?
Forty-five states and counting now allow at least a portion of supervision hours to be completed online, which means you’re not limited to in-person sessions. To see if your state allows tele-supervision, check out the State-by-State Online Clinical Supervision Rules for aspiring MFTs, social workers, and professional counselors.
If you’re completing your hours in person, how far are you willing to travel to complete your supervision hours? The unfortunate reality is that 50% of all U.S. counties lack any mental health professionals, so if you live in a rural or underserved area, you may have to travel quite a distance.
What kind of dynamic are you looking for? Group supervision gives you a chance to learn from your peers as well as your supervisor, while individual sessions allow for deeper discussions and one-on-one feedback.
Clinical supervision rates can vary depending on your location, whether you choose group or individual sessions, and a number of other factors. Online sessions with Motivo supervisors cost $45 to $65 per hour, while you might pay upwards of $250 for an in-person session in New York City.
To get the most out of supervision, it’s important to find a supervisor you click with. But how do you know what to look for? We’ll get into this in more detail later on.
Your employer may provide you with free clinical supervision, especially if you work in a community mental health agency. If they don’t, or if the available supervisors don’t match your needs, you can typically contract out a clinical supervisor of your choice, as long as they meet your state board’s requirements.
(Oh, look — it’s us!)
Motivo is an online marketplace that connects new therapists with experienced clinical supervisors. Our secure, online platform makes it super simple to find the perfect supervisor for you and complete your supervision hours remotely.
As I mentioned above, rules about online supervision vary from state to state. We’ve dug into board regulations to produce an easy-to-understand state-by-state resource guide for you.
Online directories can be a great way to search for supervisors in your state. Psychology Today is a good place to start, while some professional associations like AAMFT have their own databases. The downside of traditional online directories is that they can quickly become out-of-date.
Consider asking colleagues, former classmates, or former instructors if they can recommend a clinical supervisor who meets your needs. You can also ask local universities or your licensing board to refer you to a supervisor in your area.
In order to choose a great supervisor, it’s important to understand what good supervision really means. I love what the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment has to say about it:
“Effective supervisors observe, mentor, coach, evaluate, inspire, and create an atmosphere that promotes self-motivation, learning, and professional development. They build teams, create cohesion, resolve conflict, and shape agency culture, while attending to ethical and diversity issues in all aspects of the process.”
Ultimately, a clinical supervisor serves as four key roles: teacher, consultant, coach, and mentor. This means that not only are supervisors there to support your clients’ care, they’ll also spend time getting to know your goals and working style so they can challenge you and support your professional growth.
But just because someone is a good supervisor doesn’t necessarily mean they’re the right supervisor for you. Look for someone who’s experienced in your area of focus. Ask about their supervision method — how they structure sessions, provide feedback, and approach supervision as a whole. And last but not least, make sure that you feel safe with your supervisor and that the two of you really gel.
I know from experience how hard it can be to find a clinical supervisor in your area, let alone one within your budget. Motivo lets you save the drive and meet with your supervisor through our affordable and secure platform.
Benefits of Motivo for pre-licenced therapists:
Ready to find a supervisor? Learn more and get started.
Every week or so, we’ll publish an article that covers some aspect of clinical supervision — whether that’s licensure, best practices, tips and tricks, new regulations, and more!
Clinical supervision is changing every single day. Sign up to the right so you don’t miss a single update 👉