Polyamorous and Open Relationships

Even though they both fall under the umbrella of consensual non-monogamy, polyamory and open relationships are two very different things. Polyamory means having multiple romantic relationships at the same time, with the knowledge and consent of everyone involved. An open relationship is a relationship where the parties are free to take new partners. Whatever form of non-monogamy you practice or are interested in exploring, you and your partner(s) will have to navigate things like boundaries, safe sex, and jealousy. If you are running into issues or roadblocks, seeing a qualified mental health professional provides a safe and supportive space to discuss your concerns and improve communication skills. Reach out to one of TherapyDen’s polyamorous and open relationships experts today.

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Originally inspired by Dr. Ruth Westheimer, I knew I wanted to be a sex therapist someday. I just didn't know it was possible. After graduation I learned that I could specialize in sex therapy! So I did! As a graduate of U of M's Sexual Health Certificate Program, I welcome working with people in non-traditional relationships, whether they be open, poly, or "monogamish." I "get you" and honor your path! No "side eye" from me!

— Paula Kirsch, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , MI

I've worked with many clients who've engaged in various forms of ethical non-monogamy in individual and couples sessions. I've had friends who engaged in ethical non-monogamy since I was in undergrad. I tried it myself, but didn't find it was a good fit for me. I educate clients about ethical non-monogamy as an option if they have historically been monogamous. I educate clients about how to do it well cause it involves a lot of communication and negotiation of needs as well as clear boundaries.

— Tia (Christia) Young, Counselor

Whether your involved in or wanting to explore an ethical non monogamous relationship, as a couple or solo I will help not only answer but ask questions that will guide you and have you better equiped for any bumps that lay ahead. There are plenty of informative books on this topic, together we will figure out a course that is tailored to you.

— Gwen Lotery, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Santa Monica, CA

I believe that love is love. I think our cultural tendency to default to the concepts of monogamy are mostly just that -- a cultural default. I have known personally and professionally the possibilities of relationships that are other-than-monogamous. I am familiar with the inherent challenges and respect every individual's right to choose all of their relationships. I also recognize -- very importantly in a conservative community such as where I practice -- both the impacts of extended family and community relationships and the crucial importance of discretion. As with all of my clients, professional confidentiality is adhered to with vigilance.

— Tracy Morris, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Lacey, WA

I have been involved in the alternative lifestyles myself for several years now. I have helped numerous people understand and navigate the emotional waters of getting involved in open relationships. Conquering issues of jealousy and knowing how to, not just battle these fears, but how to use better marital communication to grow the relationship to a deeper and more fulfilling relationship than ever before, is a primary goal for me as a therapist.

— Monte Miller, Psychologist in Austin, TX

Clients should feel affirmed that polyamory is a valid lifestyle, and my practice is welcoming towards polyamorous people. Furthermore, I have over two decades experience understanding the diverse spectrum of the consensually non-monogamy communities.

— Erick Sowell, Clinical Social Worker in Baltimore, MD

Polyamory may mean love without limits...but it certainly doesn't mean love without CHALLENGES. And none of us grew up with templates for anything outside the mono-norm. I often tell clients the great thing about consensual non-monogamy is it really makes us explore our issues and our insecurities. And the rough thing about consensual non-monogamy is it really makes us explore our issues and our insecurities! Together, we can find the path that works best for you.

— LAKink Shrink, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in , CA

I have studied (and practiced) ethical nonmonogamy throughout my life. From the early publication of The Ethical Slut to the wonderful integration of attachment theory in Polysecure, I have been studying and treating open relationships for years. I stay abreast of new theories as they emerge, and continue to expand upon my understanding of how to thrive within a myriad of relationship structures.

— Grace Ballard, Sex Therapist

Non-traditional relationships offer the opportunity to maximize our interpersonal connectedness. I seek to support folks in polyamorous and open relationships by embracing the difficult emotions that often arise and processing them as strengths.

— Liz Silverman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , NY

If you need to talk to a mental health counselor about something that happened during a scene with your metamour, call me. I get it. With me you will find a knowledgeable and affirming ally.

— Ellen Ross Hodge, Counselor in Seattle, WA

Many therapists have a difficult time understanding polyamorous and open relationships and the specific opportunities and challenges that the lifestyle brings. There are innumerable ways to have relationships and I am open to exploring all the ways that you can have healthy and happy relationships. I generally see individuals, not couples.

— Liz Silverman, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , NY

Polyamory and other forms of non-monogamy are healthy and wonderful ways of engaging in relationships but it can be hard to find a counselor who is knowledgeable on non-monogamy and how it looks in the world. As someone who is polyamorous and is completing a dissertation on polyamorists, I excited to support you in your relationship orientation as it best fits for you.

— Carly Stevens, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Seattle, WA

I have both professional and personal experience in initiating and navigating ethically non-monogamous relationships. It can be a very exciting journey full of discovery and connection but it can also be challenging. I give partners and individuals tools and resources to understand and minimize the negative possibilities and enhance the positive ones.

— Jamila Dawson, Sex Therapist in Los Angeles, CA

My training as a therapist landed me with a degree in Marriage and Family therapy, which basically means I work with relationship systems. As a non monogomous therapist I quickly began applying what I was learning in school to non monogomous relationship structures to better serve communities I belong to and work with. My training to work with relationships started in grad school, Gottman level 1 and now Developmental Model (attachment and relationship stage based).

— Birch Snogles, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in ann arbor, MI

As with gender identity, I have personal experience navigating polyamory. I don't have a one-size-fits-all approach, but I am comfortable with and accepting of polyamorous and open relationships, and can work with individuals, couples, and other relationship configurations to support people navigating relationships outside the box.

— Zem Chance, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Eugene, OR

People open up their relationships to pursue more connection. Yet, living in a society that expects and prioritizes monogamy can often make this pursuit or practice feel isolating and insecure. Whether you’re newly considering the Lifestyle or have an established Polycule, I specialize in helping individuals—partnered or solo—work through this challenging process.

— Amanda Earle, Licensed Professional Counselor in Denver, CO

I recently broadened my practice to include ethical non-monogamy. I've attended training to specifically educate myself on issues, terms, and a general understanding of dynamics. My aim is to help individuals explore if a non-monogamous relationship structure is one they want to enter into or navigate one they are in, and to assist couples grappling with opening their relationship.

— Jen King, Licensed Clinical Social Worker in , CT

Many individuals find joy in having close relationships on both sexual and emotional levels with multiple partners. These relationship styles require honest communication and healthy boundaries. As a trained sex therapist, I work with participants to strengthen communication skills and utilize resources that best support the sustainability of consensual and ethical non-monogamous relationship styles.

— Janice Leonard, Licensed Professional Counselor in Plano, TX

Having "many loves" falls into the category of consensual non-monogamy. While many friends, family, and even professionals may not understand the nuances of polyamorous relationships, I strive to create an environment of open communication. I aim to help individuals and polycules develop the tools necessary to overcome the impact of stigma, create greater understanding of how to live values within poly relationships, and develop skills making relationships healthy along the way.

— Erica Merrill, Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor in Wesley Chapel, FL