Larry Porter, PhD, LMFT, AAMFT-S is a licensed therapist with 30 years of clinical experience, who is licensed in four states: Florida, Minnesota, South Dakota and Texas.
Motivo: Can you tell me a little bit about your journey to becoming a therapist? What made you want to pursue a career in mental health?
Dr. Porter: It began in a behavioral science class in 1989 when the professor talked about the various fields within mental health. Among them he mentioned the “new kid on the block,” marriage and family therapy. A bell went off within me and I realized, “This is it!” I have never looked back and it has proved to be the perfect life endeavor for me. I had the opportunity in my doctoral program to pursue training as an American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT) Approved Supervisor. This is my favorite part of being a MFT, pouring into the next generation of marriage and family therapists through the supervisory relationship and process.
Motivo: Where did you go to school? What degrees did you earn?
Dr. Porter: I completed my bachelor’s degree in biblical literature at Northwest University in Kirkland, WA. I remained in the area and completed a MFT master’s at Seattle Pacific University. My doctoral work took me to Lubbock, TX and Texas Tech University where I completed a MFT doctorate.
Motivo: What’s your clinical specialty (your niche) and why did you choose to work with this particular population?
Dr. Porter: I especially like to work with couples. I have experienced marital failure and dissolution, which was very painful. Through a process of personal therapy, I recognized that I have a heart for others that are experiencing difficulty in their marital relationships. My educational journey exposed me to concepts and ideas that opened my understanding about family and marital relationship interactions. The combination of therapy, education, training, and supervision has been transformative. The training and supervision processes were instrumental in my growth as a person, marriage and family therapist and supervisor.
Motivo: What are your top 3 values when it comes to your practice as a supervisor?
1. Honesty and genuineness top the list. These characteristics are key to building trust and a strong, meaningful supervision relationship.
2. Authenticity and congruence across roles are at the top of the list as well. My goal is to show up and be fully present mentally and emotionally.
3. Curiosity rounds out my list of values. Curiosity is the highway to the depth of a supervisee’s personal strengths, which I believe are key to personal growth and development.
Motivo: What’s the best piece of advice you remember receiving when you were in supervision (or along your path as a therapist)?
Dr. Porter: A couple of things come to mind. I credit my master’s level internship supervisor with teaching me the value of emotion in the therapeutic process. I began to learn about the power of harnessing my emotional experience to inform the therapeutic process; I learned to apply person of the therapist (POTT) principles within a systemic conceptualization. Also, I learned to “slow it down” and that there’s no hurry. Another that I credit Dr. Karen Wampler for is to give supervisees five positives for every growing edge. In my supervision experience with her, this helped me gain early confidence as a marriage and family therapist.
Motivo: How do you help therapists become more aware of counter-transference or self-of-the-therapist issues through supervision?
Dr. Porter: This is a key area of my work as a therapist and as a supervisor. Harry Aponte is my go-to for anything that is person of the therapist (POTT) related. It isn’t uncommon for what Aponte terms one’s “signature theme” to emerge in the supervision process. Being aware of the theme provides a way for a MFT trainee to develop their “person of the therapist.” Also, it paves the way for a trainee to fully harness the fullness of who they are as persons that can contribute to advancing the therapeutic process.
Motivo: What are some of the go-to websites or tools that you recommend for early career therapists?
Sue Johnson – EFT, International Centre for Excellence in Emotionally Focused Therapy (ICEEFT). https://iceeft.com/
John Gottman (The Gottman Institute). https://www.gottman.com/
Harry Aponte. https://harryjaponte.com/
Motivo: Who are some of your biggest professional influences? Why does their work/message resonate with you?
Carl Rogers – client-centered work. His work focuses on the client and is strength based. He was a master at guiding clients discover their own answers.
Sue Johnson – EFT – the significance of attachment. Attachment is the key to understanding relationship connectivity.
John Gottman – The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Gottman is able to quickly determine the likelihood of couple success. To the extent that the Four Horsemen are present is the extent, he argues, to which the couple is at risk of relationship failure.
Harry Aponte – POTT (person of the therapist). Aponte’s work is critical to understanding and implementing the full use of self in therapeutic and supervision processes.
Motivo: How can therapists get in touch with you on social media (your LinkedIn, Facebook page, follow on Twitter or Instagram)?
Motivo: How did you learn about Motivo and what are your thoughts about the future of clinical supervision online?
Dr. Porter: I was at a AAMFT conference a few years ago and met Motivo’s Founder, Rachel. I loved the concept and Rachel’s entrepreneurial spirit. She experienced the need for supervision, saw that many others were faced with the same dilemma, and created a great solution that is working very well for many. There is no doubt that the future of online supervision is bright. I’ve been teaching online for over 20 years. In more recent years I’ve added online therapy and online supervision. My experience and the reports of supervisees confirms the viability and efficacy of online supervision.
We’d love to introduce you to Dr. Porter 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.
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