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How Online Clinical Supervision Saved A Therapist’s Career
For a therapist, getting your degree is the easy part—it’s becoming licensed that is 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. 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), they were turned away from a number of supervisors. Lauren explained, “I had reactions from supervisors that included silence and avoidance to help, to supervisors straight up laughing in my face, saying they wouldn’t be my supervisor because I was a new clinician in private practice and I wanted to talk about sex.”
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 chagrin.
“I would not be a clinician if it wasn’t for Motivo.”
— Lauren Moore
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.
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. 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.
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, 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 thanks to
“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 Moore
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,” 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 convenience of being able to do technology-assisted supervision.
“Motivo provided a solution to me by connecting me with supervisees whom I would otherwise not be able to supervise due my rural locality.”
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 convenience, Motivo as a company and the employees have all been so kind, welcoming, and helpful. I really love being a part of this community.”
Getting Supervision for Supervision
“I’m confident I would not be the supervisor I am today without being part of Motivo.”
In addition to being a supervisor for pre-licensed therapists, Amy receives supervision on Motivo as she works towards becoming an AAMFT Approved Supervisor by meeting with Dr. Sheila Addison for her own supervision.
“Dr. Addison is located in California and I would not have such excellent mentorship without a platform like Motivo,” Amy said. “Through Motivo, I have learned so much from her expertise. 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.“
“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 shared how 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
You're in good company!
“Having access to supervisors across Massachusetts, not just ones in Boston, has made it easier for me to find the right supervisor for my practice.”
“Motivo gives me the the opportunity to grow my practice within a convenient platform that keeps my clients and billing in the same place.”
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