Blazing the Future: Online Supervision for Marriage & Family Therapists

Q: What is LMFT Connect?

A: LMFT Connect is a website dedicated to advancing the profession of Marriage and Family Therapists. We do this by providing 1) Online Clinical Supervision, 2) Peer Consultation and 3) Webinars and Trainings.

LMFT Connect provides a HIPAA-compliant platform for conducting Clinical Supervision through live video conference sessions. Each Clinical Supervisor on the site is either an AAMFT Approved Supervisor or an AAMFT Approved Supervisor-in-Training. In August 2017, we will launch Peer Consultation groups to provide fully licensed or pre-licensed clinicians with online peer cohorts on a variety of topics, populations and modalities. Soon after, we will launch Webinar and Training opportunities to provide therapists with ongoing education on both new trends and foundational theories in our field.


Q: What prompted you to create a platform for Online Supervision?

A: LMFT Connect was truly born out of my own experiences in becoming a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) and, later, an AAMFT Approved Supervisor. I live in a rural area where AAMFT Approved Supervisors are difficult to come by. I have witnessed many colleagues struggle to become LMFT’s simply because they did not have access to AAMFT Approved Supervision. Further, when supervision was available, it was often cost-prohibitive. I wanted to help build our important profession by making clinical supervision more accessible and affordable, while also maintaining high quality standards in supervisory practice. So, I created LMFT Connect.


Q: How do Peer Consultations and Webinars fit into your vision for the site?

A: The support MFT’s seek does not go away once supervision hours are complete. When I became licensed, I struggled to find others in the field with whom I could continue to collaborate. For many years, I have thought to myself, “Wouldn’t it be great to have a therapist peer group?” or “I would love to attend that training but I just can’t take the time off from work.” From an industry-insider, I feel that I have a good understanding of the needs and gaps of our profession — because I have experienced them. And perhaps I’m not the only one who has felt this way. In creating accessible opportunities for Peer Consultation and ongoing education through Webinars, we are creating a nationwide community of Marriage and Family Therapists that has no geographic limit.


Q: What kind of Clinical Supervisors are on your site?

A: I have to say the Clinical Supervisors on the site are really impressive. They are richly diverse. We have Supervisors who utilize everything from Narrative Therapy to Multicultural Therapy and from Gestalt Therapy to Bowen Family Systems. We have Supervisors who specialize in LGBTQ issues, Trauma, Postpartum issues, Adolescence, Divorce and numerous other areas. We even have Registered Play Therapist-Supervisors. And again, every supervisor on LMFT Connect is an AAMFT Approved Supervisor or AAMFT Approved Supervisor-in-Training.


Q: What do you see as the benefits and drawbacks of online Clinical Supervision?

A: In my experience, there is little difference between in-person supervision and online supervision. There are things you gain from the online platform, such as the ability to learn from clinicians who are not in your local area or who do not see the same type of clients you see. There is also reduction in tardiness and cancellations of supervision sessions because the online platform can be accessed just about anywhere. When you go on vacation, you can still attend a supervision session, which means our supervisees are getting licensed sooner. Also, online supervision follows the trend we see in our society as it relates to technology. We are now able to give supervisee a choice between the convenience of supervision at home, in the evening after their kiddos go to sleep, versus fighting traffic to attend supervision after work hours.

Of course, there are also drawbacks to online supervision. Some experience a reduction in the camaraderie built through an in-person interaction. Some experience an increase in “life” distractions (i.e. someone’s dog barking in the background). However, most have found that online supervision increases the attention level of participants, simply because the person is trying to engage more proactively through eye contact, head nods, and constructive feedback. For me, the benefits of increased access and convenience outweigh any drawbacks. I believe the use of technology in our field is only going to increase over time. It’s up to us to decide how we can use technology in a way that advances our profession, while remaining true to our high ethics and standards of care for clinical practice.

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