In 2008, I graduated with my masters degree in Marriage and Family Therapy.
On that day, there were a couple of things I didn’t know.
One, I didn’t know my graduation cap was on backwards. Seriously, not one person alerted me of this the entire day, not even my mom.
Two, I didn’t know that it would take me three more years, and $8,000 more dollars in order to obtain the supervision hours I needed for licensure.
My name is Rachel McCrickard and I am the CEO and Founder of Motivo.
I’d like to tell you a little about Motivo’s origin story and why we are so passionate about increasing access to clinical supervision.
I’m from a rural area of North Georgia. After I graduated, the agency I worked for did not have a clinical supervisor who met the requirements I needed for licensure.
The closest supervisor was a two-hour drive away. So, each week, I hit the road collecting hour after hour until, finally, I got that beautiful letter from the state board saying,
“Rachel, you’re totally a therapist now.”
When it was all said and done, I had paid several thousand dollars for my supervision hours and had racked up hundreds of hours in the car to obtain them.
Those of us who have lived it know exactly what I’m talking about.
I have a friend who calls the years between graduate school and licensure “pre-licensure purgatory.”
Yep. That’s exactly what those years feel like.
I remember counting (and recounting) my hours.
How many hours do I have now?
How about now?
If I do three hours a week for 20 more weeks, I’ll be almost halfway there.
How many weeks left to go?
How about now?
Maybe I can find a group and get like six hours on a Saturday.
Maybe I should ask for supervision hours for Christmas.
Over time, it became less about developing my clinical skills, and more about the cheapest, quickest, easiest way to add another hour to my spreadsheet.
I remember thinking,
“I’ll worry about deepening my skills later. I can’t afford the supervision I would really want. Right now, I just need to take what I can get, get my license and start paying off these student loans – later I can work on becoming a really great therapist.”
How strange is that? The entire point of clinical supervision is to develop our skills, ask as many questions as possible, and learn from seasoned role models in our field. These are the years to quite literally become a therapist.
Unfortunately, it’s rarely that simple, for a few reasons:
Many agencies provide free supervision as a perk of working with high-need, underserved clients. But, unfortunately, agency supervision tends to spend a disproportionate amount of time on administrative issues such as agency policies, billable hours, etc. Important things like practicing new skills and discussing self-of-the-therapist go largely ignored.
Many supervisors charge their typical client rate for supervision. And wow, does that get expensive. I get it, the supervisor has earned the right to set their chosen hourly rate, but this often results in the supervisee having to limit themselves to an hour or two a month – which slows down the licensure process.
No surprise here – we all know there is a shortage of mental health providers in rural areas so, naturally, there’s a shortage of supervisors too. With the rise of quality online education, more new therapists are graduating in these rural areas – a wonderful thing for the growth of the profession. However, if these therapists don’t have access to a supervisor after graduation, they struggle with licensure. Unfortunately, this exact problem is what causes many therapists to choose another career altogether.
Although a number of therapists provide supervision, this service is only advertised on their client-facing website. Directories exist but there’s often no way to see rates, specialties or to know if the supervisor is accepting new supervisees – unless you call each one of them.
I experienced many of these issues, first hand, on my road to licensure. I eventually obtained my license in 2011 and then went on to become an AAMFT Approved Clinical Supervisor. I became passionate about paying it forward to the next generation of therapists through affordable clinical supervision.
I kept thinking, “there has to be an easier way.”
In 2016, I noticed that states began allowing supervision hours to be collected online, through secure video-conference. In 2020, this was further accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, nearly all states allow supervision for some or all of the required licensure hours. See our comprehensive collection of tele-supervision rules here.
If you think about it, the timing makes perfect sense.
Video technology has made substantial advancements in the past few years, which means that the feeling of being in the same room with the supervisor is now a (virtual) reality.
While these are great indicators of the potential for tele-supervision, perhaps the most important reason is the anecdotal evidence suggesting we are losing early career professionals before they even get started.
At Motivo, we often hear stories from pre-licensed therapists who tell us, “I was literally about to give up. It was just too hard, too expensive, too burdensome.”
For these budding therapists, online supervision isn’t just convenient; it’s essential.
55% of US counties, all rural, have no practicing mental health professionals (SAMHSA). Sadly, these are many of the same counties that are consumed by the opioid epidemic, and in desperate need of more mental health providers.
As a profession, it is imperative that we evaluate, and re-evaluate, the pathway of new professionals into the field and make improvements where we can.
Online supervision harnesses the advancements of technology to create an easier, more efficient path to licensure.
Although we created Motivo with accessible, affordable supervision in mind, we are already learning that this medium does more than just increase access to supervisors.
For the first time, it puts the therapist in the drivers seat of selecting the supervisor they most want to work with.
No longer limited by geographical barriers, therapists are able to choose from any supervisor in their state. This is a game-changer for clinical development. Just think about the quality of supervision that takes place when therapists can select from hundreds of supervisors, specializing in play therapy, multicultural counseling, dialectical behavior therapy, LGBTQ+, etc, etc.
The word Motivo means “foundation” in Portuguese and we chose our name with intention.
Clinical supervision sets the very foundation of our careers. It should be a place where we begin defining our career paths, choosing modalities, and developing skills that lead to better care for clients.
Our vision at Motivo is to redefine clinical supervision for our profession.
We believe supervision should be accessible.
We believe supervision should be affordable.
We believe supervision should be a foundational, transformative experience.
If you are looking for a great supervisor, start here to view our directory.
And if you are a clinical supervisor, we’re actively recruiting for more supervisors so click here to create your free Motivo Supervisor profile.
Any additional questions? Reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I’d love to hear from you.
Thanks for being a part of our community.
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