Presenter: Ryan G. Witherspoon, Ph.D.
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Consensually non monogamous (CNM) and polyamorous relationships challenge deeply embedded and often implicit cultural norms involving monogamy. This cultural universalization of monogamy, dubbed “mononormativity,” pervades how romantic and sexual relationships are consciously and unconsciously experienced, organized, and therapeutically conceptualized. Taking a (non)monogamy-agnostic stance, this three hour course draws upon neo-classical, object-relations, and contemporary relational psychoanalytic ideas to explore how an affectively engaged and process-oriented approach can facilitate clients’ abilities to identify and resolve challenges related to CNM.
In this course, participants will explore ways mononormativity may influence our implicit framing of intimate relationships. Common CNM concepts, terms, and variations will be described. The presentation will then highlight ways some common human relational dilemmas may manifest within CNM, and explore differing ways monogamous and CNM relationships might frame and address these issues. Finally, the patriarchal and colonial underpinnings of some traditional psychoanalytic ideas relevant to CNM will be critically examined, and emerging perspectives on incorporating decolonial and matriarchal values into psychodynamic practice with CNM will be explored. Resources for future learning will be provided.
By the end of this course, participants will be able to:
- Define consensual non-monogamy (CNM) and describe at least three common ways CNM relationships are practiced.
- Identify three common dilemmas or challenges inherent in monogamous and CNM relationships.
- Define the concept of “triadic space” within therapy and describe its importance for clinicians working with CNM clients.
About the presenter:
Ryan G. Witherspoon, Ph.D. (he/him/his) is a licensed psychologist in private practice in Pasadena California, an instructor and clinical supervisor at Rose City Center’s psychoanalytic psychotherapy training program, as well as a Research Affiliate with the Center for Positive Sexuality in Los Angeles.
This course is meant for an advanced audience.
Who should Attend
Psychologists, counselors, and marriage and family therapists and social workers.
This course is a recorded webinar.
You will need to take the post-test with at least a 80% score in order to receive your certificate for a homestudy course.
The Affirmative Couch pays course presenters for their teaching. There is no other financial support for this course.
Conflict of Interest
There is no potential conflict of interest or outside commercial support for this course.
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The Affirmative Couch will work to accommodate reasonable accommodations requests. Requests can be emailed to
Continuing Education Approvals
The Affirmative Couch, LLC is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Affirmative Couch, LLC maintains responsibility for this program and its content.