This four hour webinar will be a comprehensive training for sex therapists and aspiring sex therapists working with clients engaged in consensual nonmonogamy. Although the prevailing relationship paradigm in modern Western culture is lifelong monogamous pair binding, that model is increasingly challenged by people who question the wisdom of both sexual and romantic monogamy. In fact, recent surveys suggest that 5% of North American adults have participated in consensual nonmonogamy at some point and 1% are currently involved in a CNM relationship. Therapists are increasingly challenged to work with clients who have already ventured into CNM territory as well as those who want to open their marriages and try it.
This webinar will teach participants the history of consensual nonmonogamy and monogamy, and the various rationales and philosophies that underly different relationship forms. They will learn to distinguish between several forms of consensual nonmonogamy and the types of people likely to engage in each form. Students will be exposed to the research on consensual nonmonogamy and the people who practice it. They will learn the clinical issues common to clients practicing CNM, and the clinical issues surrounding couples attempting to ‘open up’ a relationship. Participants will leave with the tools necessary to help clients with nonmonogamous relationships. Didactic/PowerPoint presentation supplemented with case examples, video.
- Understand the history of monogamy and nonmonogamy in human societies and the various rationales and beliefs attached to these relationship forms
- Be able to enumerate the various forms of consensual nonmonogamy, their characteristics, and the types of people most likely to engage in each
- Know the clinical issues most likely to present when working with CNM clients, and how to approach them
- Have the skills needed to help monogamous couples who want to ‘open up’ their relationship – how to educate them, steer them in the right direction – and when to advise against opening up.
ACTIVITY SCHEDULE (15 minute segments)
1.Introduction of speaker and the topic
- Theories about the origin of nonmonogamy – and monogamy- in early human culture
- Cross-cultural info on relationship models currently in existence
- History of U.S. attempts at nonmonogamous communities
- Research on consensual nonmonogamy -incidence, demographics
- Qualitative research on CNM, research on kids
- Types of CNM
- Types of CNM, continued
- Video, case – Adele and Lance
- Video case, continued
- Other issues CNM clients may encounter
- Case examples, other issues
- How to open up a relationship
- How NOT to open a relationship (Marty Klein Video)
- Case examples
- Wrap up, summary
Margie is a queer-identified psychotherapist, writer, activist, and educator with forty years of experience working in the LGBT+ community. She is a licensed psychologist, AASECT certified sex therapy supervisor, and WPATH GEI (Global Education Initiative) Mentor. In 1983 Dr. Nichols founded the Institute for Personal Growth, a multi-site psychotherapy center in New Jersey that centers the LGBTQ+ community both as clients and therapists, and directed IPG until 2018. In 1985 she was a primary founder and the first Director of the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, which continues to be New Jersey’s primary provider of social services and advocacy to people affected by HIV.
Dr. Nichols has authored more than two dozen papers or book chapters that are focused on LGBTQ+ issues. In 2020 her book, “The Modern Clinician’s Guide to Working with LGBTQ+ Clients” was published by Routledge Press.
Dr. Nichols also conducts trainings, workshops, and seminars virtually and in person. She supervises both therapists wishing to become AASECT-certified and those seeking WPATH certification, in addition to doing consults with therapists on specific cases.
She currently maintains a small private practice of therapy and consulting in Jersey City, New Jersey. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.