We get it. Our patients come to us as therapy refugees — a term coined by Dossie Easton for folks who experience shame and stigma from their therapist. Due to a lack of training, many therapists bring their own biases and half-formed theories about relationships into their work. All of our therapists are knowledgeable about working with alternative relationships. Many identify as being part of the community.
We also understand that while alternative relationships have their own unique challenges, from opening up to dealing with a boundary violation, for many people, their relationship structure is not the focal point of therapy. People would like to discuss their relationships and partners as background to dealing with depression, anxiety or other issues. We promise to listen to you about the serious issues in your life and to provide you with skills to cope with them without judgment. We will also be pumped to celebrate your successes in your relationships, however you define them.
Polyamory is all about having multiple romantic relationships while making sure everyone involved knows about and consents to the arrangement. It’s about being open and honest with your partners and navigating those relationships in a way that respects everyone’s boundaries and needs. This can look many different ways — from open relationships with casual dating outside the primary partnership, to full-fledged, committed and intimate relationships with multiple partners.
Other forms of alternative relationships include open marriages, swinging and other kinds of consensual nonmonogamy. Some might even call their relationship “open monogamy.” These types of relationships can be challenging to navigate without support, especially for people who aren’t experienced in alternative relationships, folks who are opening a relationship for the first time, or people who have complex challenges and different needs among their partners. Alternative relationship therapy provides a safe and nonjudgmental space for individuals and couples to explore these relationships and the unique issues that can arise.
It’s a cliché for a reason: Effective communication is essential in any relationship, but it is especially important in polyamorous relationships. Communication is often more complex in polyamory, as there are multiple partners and potentially more emotions and needs to consider.
Poly support can help couples and individuals develop the communication skills needed to navigate these complexities. By providing a safe and nonjudgmental space to discuss feelings and concerns, alternative relationship therapy can help partners build stronger and more fulfilling relationships with each other.
Setting boundaries is another key aspect of alternative relationships, including polyamory. It’s important for partners to agree on what is and is not acceptable in their relationship. This can include agreements around safe sex, communication with other partners, living situations and life events, and the frequency and types of interactions with other partners.
Alternative relationship therapy can help partners establish and maintain these boundaries and agreements. By providing a safe and neutral space to discuss these issues, polyamory therapists can help partners work through any disagreements or misunderstandings that may arise.
Polyamory and alternative relationship styles may be featured in more and more shows and movies, but it’s still not common for therapists to be knowledgeable about these different styles and the intricacies, issues and joys that can come with them. Many of our therapists understand the unique challenges faced by those in alternative relationships. We’re dedicated to creating a safe and supportive environment for individuals, couples, and polycules or various configurations of partners to explore these relationships and the issues that come with them.
Whether you’re exploring opening up your relationship or have long been living a nonmonogamous life, our approach is nonjudgmental, compassionate and individualized to meet your specific needs. Reach out today to talk to someone who wants to help your relationships thrive.