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 is harnessing the power of technology to obtain her credential as an AAMFT Approved Supervisor.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
There’s another layer to the supervision dynamic — Amy is in the process of becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor, which means that she has taken supervision training courses, provided by AAMFT, and is currently under something called “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 receives supervision of supervision on Motivo.
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’re 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.
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.”
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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