Rachel McCrickard founded the Atlanta-based startup in 2018 to provide people trying to become therapists with easy-to-find, affordable clinical supervision. She wanted to address the problem of inaccessibility that recent graduate clinicians face when trying to obtain licensure, a problem she herself experienced on her way to becoming a licensed marriage and family therapist.
To become licensed, therapists must complete clinical observation hours, a similar process to doctors completing their residency. After aspiring therapists complete their master’s degree, they must work under another therapist’s professional license for two years. The process is expensive because therapists must pay their supervisors to earn those hours, and challenging because clinical supervisors are often hard to find, McCrickard said in an interview.
When McCrickard, who is from rural north Georgia, tried to contact a clinical supervisor after graduation, the closest one was in Atlanta. At the time, it was a two-hour drive for her every time — she drove back and forth every week for 2 years.
“It’s been a long, difficult and expensive process for me,” McCrickard said. “I stuck with it and eventually got licensed, but I noticed that states were starting to pass rules where you could do your supervision virtually via HIPAA-compliant video. I thought, ‘Well, that would make it a lot easier when I was commuting back and forth to Atlanta every week.'”
In response to these new rules, McCrickard and her team built a marketplace model of clinical supervisors who are licensed in all 50 states and available to provide virtual supervision.
When recent graduates come to the platform, they enter information about what state they live in and what type of license they are seeking. Motivo returns a list of available supervisors in the state, allowing users to filter the list and determine who they want to work with based on things like whether the supervisor serves a population they’re interested in or whether the supervisor went to the same university.
Motivo has already helped more than 2,500 therapists get their license. Without a marketplace platform like this, recent graduates will have to use search engines to find clinical supervisors they want to work with in their state. McCrickard stated. They will then need to call each supervisor to determine if they are accepting more supervisees, what their availability is, and how much they charge.
Motivo has about 1,000 clinical supervisors licensed in all 50 states on its platform, McCrickard said. All executives on the platform are available and accept the same rate, thus eliminating the time-consuming process of graduates calling different executives.
The startup charges recent graduates $75 an hour for one-on-one supervision. McCrickard has been paid $90 an hour since graduating in 2008, and she said rates range up to $200 an hour in some states for supervisors not on Motivo’s platform.
Given that the rules allowing therapists to complete clinical supervision via video were only passed a few years ago, Motivo doesn’t appear to have much competition—it’s the first company to offer a marketplace that matches aspiring therapists with virtual clinical surveillance, McCrickard argued. This gives the startup a market advantage as it works to increase sales. McCrickard said Motivo will use the money it raised in its Series A round to increase hiring primarily for its sales, marketing and engineering teams.
Image source: Motivo