Supervisor Spotlight: Lori Kimmerly

Lori Kimmerly is an LMFT powerhouse with credentials in seven (!!!) states throughout the western half of the U.S., including Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and Utah.

Changing the Radio Dial

Before earning her Master’s of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University, Lori had worked in radio for over 15 years. What may have seemed like a radical change to some, was actually a natural progression for Lori. “I was that person people came and told things to,” she said. “Mostly because I asked!” And while she loved radio, she was also craving a new way to put her strong communications skills and listening ear to work. As she puts it, she was looking for her “life’s work,” which she has since found in her career as a therapist.  

While in school, Lori held a medical family therapy internship focused on women’s health. The work encompassed topics like practicing self-care, navigating developmental transitions and adjusting to relationship changes like marriage, parenthood or caring for parents. “I’ve always had a passion for women and how we manage to keep all the plates in the air spinning,” she says. 

Making the Personal Professional  

About 6 years ago, Lori started working with couples, specifically from an attachment/emotion-focused therapy lens and has grown to love couples’ counseling. She’s also been able to incorporate her personal interest in the Enneagram into her work. “It’s crept through in all populations and it’s particularly interesting with couples work!” 

As a supervisor, Lori is enthusiastic about her top three values: “Safety! Ethics! Transparency!”  She prioritizes safe attachment with her supervisees to help them tolerate the leaning in and out that occurs in supervision. She calls upon her alter ego “Liability Lori” when discussing ethics and she makes space for the self-of-the-therapist/supervisor to show up and be honest in walking through any issues that may arise in the work. 

The best pieces of advice she remembers receiving when she was a supervisee were about trusting herself and remembering to place people within a developmental framework. “When my clinical gut fires, I have to trust that and not discard it even when people are trying to convince you otherwise,” she says. “Second is to not pathologize normal development, because it’s easy to do.”

When it comes to counter-transference or self-of-the-therapist issues, Lori takes a page out of her favorite childhood books featuring Curious George. “When a supervisee gets activated in some way, I become very curious about what comes up for them, how it comes up and where that comes from. Often those are the best and most therapeutic supervision sessions,” she says. 

In terms of tools and resources, Lori loves podcasts – “It must be my radio background!” she jokes. Some of her top recs include The AAMFT Podcast (“It features some of the best minds in the field and I love how personal it is,” she says); Enneagram shows like The Liturgist Podcast, The Enneagram Journey and Typology; as well as Where Should We Begin with Esther Perel for a unique perspective into couples and sexuality.

On social media, Lori looks to @HeyTiffanyRoe, @GlennonDoyle, and @BreneBrown on Instagram for inspiration. On a more personal side, she points to her “fantastic supervisor” Tina Shermer Sellers, who led the MDFT certificate program at Seattle Pacific University. “She was my supervision mentor,” Lori explains. “She inspired and encouraged me to trust myself. Her joy in supervision and teaching were infectious!”

It’s easy to see the ways Lori carries on her mentor’s enthusiasm and joy for supervision. She brings humor, energy and warmth to her work, not to mention a deep respect for the humanness we all have in the room. Her dedication to developing up-and-coming therapists is clearly important as she sought out the opportunity to put her expertise and seven licenses to optimum use through Motivo.  

“I started the process of getting licensed in multiple states knowing my husband was going to retire sooner rather than later,” she explains about her seven state licenses. “I saw an ad for Motivo in an AAMFT email. It’s been the most amazing process meeting and interacting with supervisees I never would have been able to supervise and be in relationship with otherwise.”

To learn even more about Lori, you can check out her LinkedIn and private practice site

Think Lori might be the perfect supervisor for you?

We’d love to introduce you to Lori through a free, 30-minute video call. Click here to let us know if you’re interested in connecting with her or one of our Motivo team members.

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue

Emily Donahue holds a Master's in Mental Health Counseling from Northwestern University. She works as a limited permit therapist at a private practice in Brooklyn, earning her clinical and supervision hours for full licensure. She has a special interest in women and alcohol use and her dream is to meet Irvin Yalom one day.

We’re bringing clinical supervision to the future. Join us on this journey.

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 👉