Questioning the Rule-Making Imperative in Therapeutic Stabilizations of Non-Monogamous (Open) Relationships

Article


Finn, M. 2014. Questioning the Rule-Making Imperative in Therapeutic Stabilizations of Non-Monogamous (Open) Relationships. Forum: Qualitative Social Research / Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung. 15 (3), p. Art. 6.
AuthorsFinn, M.
Abstract

Given increasing social scientific and public interest in open relationships, attending to
therapeutic engagements with such a lifestyle choice is of topical concern. Specifically, the rulemaking
imperative for the creation and stabilization of open non-monogamies involves the widely
embraced principle in counseling and self-help literature that a "couple's" rules for their nonmonogamous
engagements are crucial for personal and relational well-being. Data presented in
this article stem from semi-structured interviews with seventeen UK counselors/psychotherapists
who identified their therapeutic engagements with consensual non-monogamies (primarily in gay
male open relationships) as being "affirmative" in some way. A Foucauldian-inflected thematic
analysis highlighted patterns of meaning in relation to: perceived non-monogamous disorder;
clinical recognitions of the inevitability of disorder; and ways in which assumed non-monogamous
disorder, and thus the warrant for rule-making, can be reinforced in psychological terms. Drawing
on the notion of "bifurcation" put forward in chaos theory, it is argued that to enlist the imperative of
rule-making as a precautionary or remedial strategy is to overlook the more productive aspects of
chaotic turbulence in open relationships and thus undermine alternative recognitions of relational
health and well-being.

JournalForum: Qualitative Social Research / Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung
Journal citation15 (3), p. Art. 6
ISSN1438-5627
Year2014
PublisherInstitut für Qualitative Forschung
Accepted author manuscript
License
CC BY
Web address (URL)http://nbn-resolving.de/urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs140363
Publication dates
PrintSep 2014
Publication process dates
Deposited04 Dec 2015
Copyright information© 2014 The Author
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