How Online Clinical Supervision Saved A Therapist’s Career

For a new therapist, getting a degree is the easy part—it’s getting licensed that can be so hard.​

In this case study, hear firsthand from marriage and family therapist, Lauren Moore (pronouns they/them) how their career almost never got off the ground due to lack of supervision until they found Motivo. 

Once they were able to connect with a supervisor on Motivo’s platform using video conferencing for online supervision, Lauren started to obtain the hours needed to become an LMFT. 

In turn, their own supervisor started using Motivo to earn the hours needed to become an AAMFT Supervisor. Learn more about how Motivo works for supervision—and even supervision of supervision—from our “Motivators”.

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. Since completing their master’s degree in 2012, Lauren had been looking for supervision towards licensure for more than six years! 

 “I was turned away from every available supervisor in the state—twice,” Lauren explained. “I had reactions from supervisors that included silence and avoidance to help, to supervisors straight up laughing in my face. They said they wouldn’t be my supervisor because I was a new clinician and I wanted to talk about sex.” 

It was a tough situation for Lauren, plus a deadline was looming, as there was a finite time to complete the required practicum, obtain the necessary supervision hours, and apply for licensure following their graduation date.

“I didn’t want $80,000 in student loan debt and no piece of paper hanging on my wall to show for it.”

Without finding a supervisor and in a wave of desperation, Lauren cleared out their savings account to start a private practice in order to have clients, a necessary step for getting supervision. In the state of Virginia, where Lauren lives, a new therapist is allowed to have a private practice while under supervision.

“I even had supervisors who were relieved to have someone to send these ‘weirdos’ to. And I thought, ‘well I think you should send them to me!’” 

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.

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

“Essentially, I want to show how helpful Motivo has been. 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.” 

— Lauren Moore

A Solution for 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. 

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,” Lauren said. “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.”

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. 

On the flip side, Amy is also gaining experience as a supervisor as she continues her Ph.D. work plus collects the hours needed to become an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. 

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 superviseesMy 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

Finding the Right  Supervisor

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. 

Using a software platform provided a solution for connecting with supervisees whom she would otherwise not be able to supervise due to her location.

“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,” she said. 

Amy shared that if a colleague was considering providing online supervision but was hesitant to take the leap, they should explore the option purely for the easy access of being able to do technology-assisted supervision. 

“I’m confident I would not be the supervisor I am today without being part of Motivo.”

 
Because Motivo provided the connection to multiple supervisees, Amy said she has become a better supervisor simply by conducting supervision at least weekly.  “Aside from connecting me to a supervisor and supervisees, Motivo has given me more time for my other roles (instructor, researcher, therapist, etc) simply because I can provide supervision remotely. Motivo’s employees have all been so kind, welcoming, and helpful. I really love being a part of this community.”

Getting Supervision for Supervision

Amy receives supervision on Motivo with AAMFT Approved Supervisor Dr. Sheila Addison (pronouns she/her), who is located across the country in California. The mentorship she has received from Dr. Addison has been “excellent,” Amy said. “Through Motivo, I have learned so much from Dr. Addison’s expertise.”

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 her 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

Finding the right supervisor 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, having the ability to connect with a qualified supervisor is essential for growth and self-of-the-therapist. 

That’s why we started Motivo. During her interview, Lauren shared that Motivo helped save her career. She was considering abandoning the mental health profession until she 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. So let us know if there’s anything we can for you on your journey. We’re here to help however we can!

Ready to get started with Motivo? Book an introductory call with an online supervisor today — at no charge.

If you’re a supervisor and want to provide online supervision, apply to become a Motivo Supervisor!

Ready to kickstart your therapy career?

Schedule time to talk with one of our “Motivators” about what we can do to help