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Helping CNM* clients navigate open relationships: The 7-stage model for empowered opening of the dyad: Video Course

Helping CNM* clients navigate open relationships: The 7-stage model for empowered opening of the dyad: Video Course

* CNM (Consensually Non-Monogamous)

As therapists, we are as embedded in dominant cultural norms as our clients, and the social construct of monogamy as the promoted standard of relationship ideals, can still deeply inform and skew our beliefs, judgments, and norms. Adopting a non-judgemental position on relationship diversity is just the starting point of our therapeutic journey with clients who practice CNM (Consensual Non-Monogamy).

Video course packs, including all notes are available immediately on booking. The access links are part of your ticket. Online video access remains available for 1 year from the date you receive the video course.

For more information on ticket types and order processing times please click here

There is no known commercial support for this programme.

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£ 69.00

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Course Credits

CPD: 3 / CE: 3

Speaker(s)

Niki D.

Course length in hours

3 hrs of video content

Full course information

However, to actively support our clients on their journey of creating open, loving, fulfilling open and polyamorous relationships, therapists need an awareness of the variance in relationships that are not monogamous, as well as knowledge about the specific challenges and joys for our clients living and loving in relationally diverse ways. We may also be required to expand and adapt our existing therapeutic frames in relationship therapy to meet the unique requirements of multi-partnered relationship constellations. 

Following on from the very successful workshop The Polyamorous Choice in Relationship Therapy: working with Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM), Niki D will present an in-depth, seven-stage model for therapists to assist clients who wish to co-create open relationships.

She will address the common dilemmas and challenges that show up with clients as they move towards open or polyamorous relationships or who maintain already multi-partnered or sexually non-exclusive relationships. She will help us position the model in our practice by making use of client examples and case vignettes when discussing each stage of the model.

Opening up the dyad: Challenges and delights

Clients intending to open a closed relationship need to negotiate, communicate clearly, identify needs, establish boundaries, bump up against them, and then re-clarify those boundaries once more. It is everything that occurs in a closed relationship but dialled up a notch with a few extras thrown in.

While there is no rigid formula for opening up a relationship, this seven-stage model helps guide our clients to avoid the pitfalls, steer clearly through the challenges, and is likely to lead to better outcomes for all involved. We will specifically discuss the following seven stages:

  • Imagining
  • Discussion
  • Contracting
  • Experimenting
  • Checking-in
  • Fine-tuning
  • Stabilising

As therapists, we need to be adaptable and flexible when working with multi-partnered clients. Our clients may require solo sessions, couple sessions with primary partners, joint sessions with paramours or metamours, triad sessions, or small group sessions where polyamorous groups (polycules) are involved. This model of flexible relationship therapy allows us to model how fluidity can be ethically responsive to changing norms and relationally diverse ways of living and loving.

There will be time for questions and contributions from people attending as we work together to develop this area of relational awareness to enhance best practices in our work.

Specifically, the webinar will discuss:

  • Ethical responses when one person wants to open the relationship and the other doesn’t
  • Identifying when mononormativity clouds the perspective of the client and/or therapist
  • Knowing how to respond effectively to the 3 D’s (discomfort, disruption, damage)
  • Working from a GSRD affirmative stance (gender, sexual, and relationship diverse)
  • Supporting clients to become more competent at communication, negotiation and check-ins
  • Working with anxiety – the shadow side of freedom
  • How to offer safety in a storm (when our client’s experience of social hostility and relationship level stress requires validating and repair)

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What's included in this course

What you’ll learn

Following on from the very successful workshop The Polyamorous Choice in Relationship Therapy: working with Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM), Niki D will present an in-depth, seven-stage model for therapists to assist clients who wish to co-create open relationships.

Learning objectives

  • Discuss the ethical responses when one person wants to open the relationship and the other doesn’t
  • Identify when mononormativity clouds the perspective of the client and/or therapist
  • Discuss how to offer safety in a storm (when our client’s experience of social hostility and relationship level stress requires validating and repair)

About the speaker(s)

Niki D is an existential psychotherapist with 30+ years of experience in private practice, statutory and voluntary sectors. She works with individuals, couples / throuples, and groups and is a clinical associate of Pink Therapy. She has an MA in Existential Psychotherapy, a diploma in relationship therapy with GSRD clients (gender, sexual and relationship diverse), and additional training in somatic body therapy. Niki is a supervisor and was previously a visiting lecturer at Regents University, London. She has particular interest and experience working with gender, sexual and relationship diversity and holds relational embodiment at the heart of her work.

Niki has contributed a chapter titled: Loving Freedom – Opening a Dyad, to the recent edition of Relationally Queer: a Pink Therapy Guide for Professionals 2023, edited by Silva Neves & Dominic Davies.

nscience UK is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. nscience UK maintains responsibility for this program and its content.

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