How Online Clinical Supervision Saved A Therapist’s Career

In this case study, Motivo sat down with Lauren Moore (pronouns they/them), a pre-licensed marriage and family therapist in Virginia, and their Clinical Supervisor, Amy Morgan (pronouns: she/her), a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and Virginia Tech doctoral candidate.

Lauren candidly explains how their career almost never got off the ground due to a lack of accessible clinical supervision.

We’ll also hear how supervisor, Amy Morgan harnessed the power of technology to obtain her credential as an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.

Let’s Dive In!

Since graduating with a master’s degree in 2012, Lauren had much difficulty finding a supervisor, even to the point of considering leaving the profession altogether.

Because of the population Lauren works with (adults in consensual non-monogamous relationships), Lauren conveyed there was a lack of available supervisors who had training in nontraditional intimate relationships. 

Lauren was also running out of time, as there was a finite time to complete the required hours. “I didn’t want $80,000 in student loan debt without anything to show for it,” Lauren said with frustration.

The Challenge for New Therapists​

Graduating from college and entering ‘the real world’ is scary for any individual, let alone an upcoming professional who wants to start a therapy practice specializing in adult relationships and sexuality.

But even before starting college, Lauren knew they wanted a career as a mental health professional who was empathetic to different walks of life.

“I’m speaking to folks who might not be accepted or understood by a traditional therapist,” Lauren explained. “We’re able to discuss the causes of their mental health issues relating to sexuality.”

Unfortunately, there’s a huge stigma around the work Lauren wanted to do. Without finding a supervisor and in a wave of desperation, Lauren cleared out their savings account to start their own private practice in order to have clients and get supervision. Many states allow for a new therapist to have a private practice while under supervision.

But there was still the question of where to find a clinical supervisor to help with deepening the skills needed to handle this type of work and provide the supervision hours needed for licensure.

A New Approach to Supervision

In the fall of 2018, Lauren learned about Motivo from a colleague. The state of Virginia allows for technology-assisted supervision, which means Lauren could receive online clinical supervision (see the 2019 licensure handbook here, pg. 8)

Through Motivo, Lauren was introduced to Amy Morgan (pronouns she/her), a Ph.D. Candidate at Virginia Tech and an AAMFT Approved Supervisor Candidate who specializes in family systems. Amy was well equipped to help Lauren as their clinical supervisor given her background and credentials.

“It sounds like hyperbole but the supervisory relationship with Amy feels like a perfect fit. Amy continuously checks in to see that something I said rings true or feels authentic for me. She is generous with compliments, making me feel like a competent clinician even if I am still just working things out for myself.”

Lauren Moore

As Lauren and Amy continue to meet weekly for supervision, Lauren is on the path towards licensure and doing the work they always wanted to help others. 

“I would not be a clinician if it wasn’t for Motivo.”

Lauren said essentially they want to show how helpful Motivo has been towards finally getting started in their career. Not only have I been able to help get quality supervision on my terms, but the icing on the cake is that it’s $65 an hour.” 

Ready to start the search for your supervisor? Click here to get started.

There’s another layer to the supervision dynamic — Amy wanted to earn her AAMFT Approved Supervisor credential, which means that she has taken supervision training courses, provided by AAMFT, and needed supervision of supervision” or supervision mentorship. 

Similar to an additional credential as a Registered Play Therapist (RPT) or a Certified Eating Disorder Specialist (CEDS), the AAMFT Approved Supervisor credential requires additional hours of supervised experience. 

So, not only does Amy provide supervision on Motivo, but she also received supervision of supervision on Motivo to obtain her AAMFT Approved Supervisor status in 2019.

Getting Supervision of Supervision

Amy-Morgan-LMFT-AAMFT-Supervisor

“To me, good supervision is a thoughtful integration of teacher, mentor, and coaching roles that promote professional growth and competence in supervisees. My approach to supervision is empowering, collaborative, and feminist. I believe that supervisees benefit the most from a supervisor who establishes and maintains trust, rapport, and safety early on.” ​

Amy Morgan

As Amy is based in rural Virginia, it was difficult, nay impossible, for her to find pre-licensed therapists to supervise, a necessary step towards earning her own supervision credential. 

“I live in a rural area and I don’t have a car, but I do have an internet connection! Of course, I always prefer in-person if possible, but the fact is it just wasn’t possible for me,” Amy said. 

But using a software platform provided a solution for connecting with supervisees whom she would otherwise not only allowed her to be able to supervise but also matched her with her own supervisor. 

Amy’s AAMFT Approved Supervisor is Dr. Sheila Addison (pronouns she/her). Even though Amy is in Virginia and Dr. Addison is located across the country in California, they were able to meet online with Motivo for Amy to earn her hours needed for her AAMFT-S . 

Dr. Addison is truly one-of-a-kind. In addition to her therapy and supervision practice, she is the Secretary of the Queer and Trans Advocacy Network (QTAN) for AAMFT.

Her primary focus is on helping couples and intimate partners have more satisfying, healthy romantic and sexual relationships, while working with individuals and families as well. It’s this experience that makes Dr. Addison the perfect supervisor for Amy, while Amy in turn provides supervision for Lauren.

Sheila-Addison-AAMFT-supervisor

“I love providing supervision for pre- and post-licensure therapists via Motivo.”

“I’ve been able to mentor Approved Supervisors in Training from all over the country, which is some of my favorite work. It’s a great way to support other mental health professionals and diversify my practice while sharing what I know from more than 20 years in the field.”

Dr. Sheila Addison

Dr. Addison said she discovered Motivo at AAMFT’s annual conference and knew right away what a great opportunity this was for therapists in their emerging careers. 

“Finding an AAMFT Approved Supervisor is a real challenge for MFTs and agencies in many areas,” she explained. “And even licensed professionals can benefit from access to an experienced colleague to help them expand into a new practice area, deepen their application of a particular model, or get feedback on their cases.”

Coming Full Circle

Getting supervision is challenging for therapists at any stage in their career. Whether it’s seeking licensure from the state, a new credential, or even peer-to-peer mentorship, the ability to connect with a qualified supervisor is essential to the growth and development of any clinician.

That’s why we started Motivo. During their interview, Lauren shared that Motivo helped save their career. They were considering abandoning the mental health profession until they connected with Amy. It’s stories like Lauren and Amy’s, plus Amy and Sheila’s, which validates the need to have an online platform for connecting therapists to supervisors. 

Please reach out to let us know if there’s anything we can for you on your journey. We’re here to help however we can!

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