With polyamorous relationships expanding in popularity, professional relationship counselors have broadened their scope of practice, many now including polyamorous services. And while any professional help in your relationship is beneficial to maintain or establish a healthy relationship, it helps to have counselors who undoubtedly understand the differences that come with polyamorous relationships. Because the polyamorous lifestyle has been warped into a foreign language by the media, these counselors can act as translators, using their expertise to help you understand and navigate a relationship that might be unknown to you. They offer a range of services, most honing in on communication skills, relationship guidance, understanding, and conflict mediation. It is important to clarify that these counselors DO NOT engage in convincing or suggesting couples to partake in polyamory but provide tools to find out what will cultivate your specific relationship!
So which relationships should utilize professional help?
ALL OF THEM! Whether your relationships are thriving or heading on a downward spiral, relationship therapy is good for EVERYONE. A common mistake couples make is waiting too long- thinking “oh, it’s not bad enough yet.” Research has shown that the earlier you get into couples therapy, the better outcome there is because you are hitting the problems head-on before they get out of control. Due to the nature of polyamorous relationships, counseling can be even more beneficial in establishing boundaries, rules, and communication bases to build your relationship into a healthy, ethical relationship.
3 reasons why a relationship professional is a good idea for you
1. Navigation of communication
Like most counselors, they focus heavily on building effective communication habits because communication is the root of all relationships. Poor communication will lead to a messy relationship. On the flip side, effective communication is consistent communication. Professional guidance can help you and your partner understand what effective communication looks like for you! These counselors can also offer conflict mediation-- not solving your problems, but guiding you to find ways to work through issues step by step. They help you ask the right questions to ensure each side is happy. Laurie Ellington, a counselor at PolyCoach, notes that in her sessions couples “practice healthy ways of connecting with others through self-inquiry, authentic relating, [and] clear communication...”
2. Infuse relationship with ethical passion and excitement!
Because most of these counselors have experience with polyamorous relationships, they can lead you in the right direction by providing your relationship with helpful resources, i.e books, social media platforms, and meet-ups. With their personal experience, they can also give you tips and tricks, while still focusing on the ethical side of your polyamorous relationship. Laurie Ellington explains that her clients “learn tools and gain valuable insights that will infuse [their] relationships with more connection, passion, presence, playfulness, and desire.”No one ever said fun can’t also be ethical!
3. Vanquish misinformation
Information in this day and age is often misinformation. This applies to the stigma around polyamorous relationships. Commonly, people in polyamorous relationships start to believe the stereotypes they hear about. Professional counselors help their clients understand cognitive vs. emotional polyamory, gaining the tools to decipher between needs and desires in multiple relationships. They are there to help you combat and understand the negative feelings you might be having around this lifestyle, while also learning how to explain your lifestyle to others effectively. In turn, this understanding produces a smoother, more accepting relationship.
Seeking professional relationship guidance may seem like a failure to some couples. It can be scary and uncomfortable to let a stranger into your relationship. But committing to couples counseling is brave and strong. It is taking initiative and putting your relationship first. Relationship counseling is highly effective too, especially when done correctly! When both partners fully delve into the program, it can result in so many personal and relationship benefits and bonuses.