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.

Meet the specialists

The term “non-monogamy” is an umbrella term that captures all forms of relationship practices that do not fit the typical guidelines of monogamous relationships. Non-monogamous relationships can include polyamory, swinging, open relationships, and various levels of commitment. Some people live with a primary partner, while other people explore dating and/or living with multiple partners.

— Lisa May-Sachs, Clinical Social Worker in Baltimore, MD
 

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!

— Paula Kirsch, Clinical Social Worker in Detroit, MI

I have been involved in the swinger lifestyle ("The LIfestyle") 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 Boerne, TX
 

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, Clinical Social Worker in Detroit, MI
 

Unfortunately, many institutions in our society have a poor track record on respecting people who identify/practice consensual non-monogamy. Whether CNM is central to why you are seeking help or simply a part of your identity, I understand that CNM lifestyles are valid, and I seek to support your relational orientation as I would any other aspect of your identity.

— Eric Mills, Counselor in Federal Way, WA

I draw from personal and professional experience in understanding the unique challenges and needs of this community. I approach this work with a focus on unpacking beliefs about roles and rules in relationships often internalized from our families and larger cultural narratives. I am particularly attentive to the power and control dynamics intertwined with all emotional relationship and that are often amplified through the practice of non-monogamy.

— Jessica Broderick, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist Intern in Portland, OR
 

It's not easy finding safe spaces to address issues that come up around polyamory and CNM relationships in a monogamy-centric culture. We'll explore issues that are common within our community and the experiences of you and your partners around issues of communication, boundaries, navigating hard feelings, etc.

— Deanna Richards, Mental Health Counselor in NEW YORK, NY

Polyamory is something many therapists do not understand or want to do. It can be easy to get confused by polycules or how a certain relationship orientation is not ‘societal norm’ and still be functional. Polyamory can be a beautiful thing in all of its many forms. From a Vee to a triad to cross-coupling and more complex relationship orientations, polyamory is not for everyone. It can be a difficult lifestyle for some to understand and flourish in. But when it's done right it can be fulfilling.

— PT Gross, Licensed Professional Counselor in Colorado Springs, CO

I live and work in the open relationship community and I have the experience to help clients negotiate particular aspects of their communication and relationships or I can more simply be the therapist that is accepting of clients lifestyle.

— Joe Zarate-Sanderlin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in San Francisco, 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, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Spring, TX

Open relationships are more about transformation rather than exploration. Embracing our infinite ability to love, we are reminded of the possibilities of transforming our own lives by letting go of the binds and tight holds we have on each other and begin embracing ourselves do we truly understand what love really looks, feels like, and means. True autonomy and freedom are about transformation not exploration. If you seek open relationships for some other reason you may be missing the point.

— MOUSHUMI GHOSE, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in TOLUCA LAKE, CA
 

I believe that monogamy is not a relationship structure that meets the needs for every couple. I can help my clients either open their relationship or strengthen their practice of ethical non-monogamy. I am a big advocate for laying solid foundations so that you and your partner(s) can enjoy a healthy, joyous, and pleasurable relationship whatever the constellation is.

— Sophia O'Connor, Sex Therapist in Denver, CO

I have a Consensual Non-Monogamy Certificate, which means I have gone through special training as a therapist in order to understand the specific issues that you may face in an open, monogamish, poly, or swinging relationship. I am passionate about fighting stigma, and helping to navigate the negotiations, communication issues, and support needed to create and sustain these relationships and all your partners.

— Colleen Hennessy, Licensed Professional Counselor in San Diego, CA
 

I've been involved with the consensual non-monogamy community since 2012, and have been working clinically with this community since I was in school.

— Julia Koerwer, Social Worker in Brooklyn, NY

I specialize in working with singles, couples, and groups who are exploring or approaching issues in alternative relationships and alternative family structures, including ethical non-monogamy, polyamory, kink, living single, co-parenting, and chosen family. I also bring extended knowledge about: * compersion (“the opposite of jealousy”) * coming out and living out in the context of SOGIE, alternative relationships, and chosen family * relationship shifts and transitions * interdependence in long-term romantic relationships Yes, all relationships shift and change; yet, love can regenerate again and again in the most mysterious moments and forms when we stay open and curious.

— Anna Hirsch, Associate Marriage & Family Therapist in Oaklnd, CA
 

All forms of consentual non-monogamy are welcome at TheraBee. I work with individuals who are, who want to, or who are curious about practicing ethical non-monogamy. I also offer relationship therapy - even if there are more than 2 people in the part of the polycule that want therapy!

— Andrea Bezaire, Psychologist in Ann Arbor, MI

I have extensive training in and personal experience with Polyamory, Open Relationships, Ethical Non-Monogamy or Consensual Non-Monogamy issues. I have provided cultural competency training to a handful of service organizations and agencies over the years. Moreover, I have developed group curriculum for addressing major issues in polyamorous configurations.

— ShannonElaine John, Counselor in Denver, CO
 

Everybody loves different and no two relationships are the same. I acknowledged that many have the ability to love and to be loved by as many people as they see fit. My goal is to normalize your relationship style and to help you enhance the quality of your relationship(s) by centering your desires and you goals of care within the sessions.

— Tia Evans, Sex Therapist in Hickory, NC

Finding a therapist who is comfortable with the notion of non-monogamous relationships can be a difficult task. Those currently in or seeking to explore any form of consensual non-monogamous relationship often find their ability to commit, mental health, and sexual interests questioned and pathologized by family, friends, and greater society. In my practice, I provide therapy from a trained and affirmative perspective on consensual non-monogamy.

— Grant Gordin, Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Austin, TX
 

My expertise with Polyamorous and Open relationships: I have worked with multiple couples exploring opening up their relationships, as well as navigating the complications that come from open relationships. I firmly believe that non-monogamy is not for everyone, and I am thrilled to help couples and moresomes navigate this rewarding way of engaging in relationships.

— Kelley O'Hanlon, Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Redmond, WA

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 West Los Angeles, CA
 

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!

— Paula Kirsch, Clinical Social Worker in Detroit, MI

Many therapists will try to tell you that monogamy is the only sustainable relationship model, even though one only needs to look at the statistics to know otherwise. There is no judgment in my office for relationship models that are different from the culture's only accepted model. I have personally lived a open relationship model since 1992.

— kaseja wilder, Counselor in Eugene, OR
 

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