The path to licensure for a therapist is filled with twists and turns. For John Heaton, IMFT, his career journey started when he was serving in the Air Force and spans nearly two decades to finally becoming a licensed therapist and supervisor (in training) in Ohio.
Fresh out of high school, John was first stationed in Las Vegas. “I knew I wasn’t ready for college but I wanted to do something and decided the Air Force would be a good option to get good training and experience. When I was trying to determine my profession, I narrowed it down to social sciences and mental health.”
During his time in the military, John was able to attend college through a satellite program at Park University earning his bachelor’s degree in social psychology. It was also in the Air Force where he met his now-wife.
In 2004, John left the service but since his wife was moving to San Antonio with the military, he joined her in the move to Texas. In San Antonio, he earned his masters at St. Mary’s University in marriage and family therapy.
“It took a few years to get licensed in Texas as an MFT (marriage and family therapist),” John explained. “I was practicing as an LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor), then finally passed the MFT exam and was working towards hours there.”
But like many military spouses, John knew they would be relocating soon.
The next state they’d move to would be Ohio. “I had difficulty finding a job as a MFT and the Ohio board wouldn’t accept my LPC because I didn’t have a degree in counseling,” John said.
This, unfortunately, is a common story. Because our profession does not have a national licensure process, moving between states – even after licensure – can be quite difficult.
Unable to find employment as a marriage and family therapist, John was fortunate to find a job again with the Air Force as a civil service employee. “I converted to becoming a civil service employee as my 9-to-5 and eventually began counseling on the side in 2015,” John explained. “I was working in Dayton, OH seeing clients, and getting supervision from Dr. Sara Blakeslee Salkil.”
John only had 160 clinical hours left for his Ohio licensure but still needed 84 hours of supervision and was trying to fast track the process. “My supervisor, Sara told me, ‘There’s this thing called Motivo’ and I quickly signed up for online supervision. There were two supervisors willing to meet with me, and one of them was able to meet twice a week.”
“Motivo was a god-send. I was able to pay for and afford supervision, whereas before I really couldn’t.” John said.
Motivo’s rates are $65 for individual sessions. Click here to browse our directory of supervisors.
John said the number one thing he liked about Motivo was the convenience of being able to log on for supervision sessions instead of having to drive and meet in-person. “This should have been approved by state boards a long time ago,” he shared.
When asked what advice he would give to his fellow mental health professionals exploring doing online supervision, John has two words: “Do it! “There’s no reason not to.”
Since earning his licensure in Ohio, John is now in the process of becoming an approved supervisor with the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT).
Anyone seeking their MFT license in Ohio can schedule a free introductory call with John on Motivo, or browse our directory of supervisors.
Motivo is here to make the path to licensure easier and more affordable for everyone in the mental health profession. We look forward to hearing your story!
Every week, we publish articles that will motivate, inspire, and tackle some aspect of the therapy career journey — whether that’s licensure, clinical supervision, or even private practice!
Sign up to the right to get updates whenever we publish something new and inspirational 👉