A critical analysis of affirmative therapeutic engagements with consensual non-monogamy

Article


Finn, M., Tunariu, A. and Lee, Kham C. 2012. A critical analysis of affirmative therapeutic engagements with consensual non-monogamy. Sexual and Relationship Therapy. 27 (3), pp. 205-216.
AuthorsFinn, M., Tunariu, A. and Lee, Kham C.
Abstract

In this article we explore predominant psychologisations of consensual non-monogamy in therapist’s accounts of their engagements with clients in open relationships. A total of 17 UK counsellors (14 men and 3 women) took part in individual semi-structured interviews in 2010, with participants identifying their clinical responses to open non-monogamy as being non-directive and non-pathologising and thus in a sense “affirmative”. In a Foucauldian-informed analysis we pay particular attention to the conceptual externalisation (and psychologisation) of non-monogamy as an outside and excessive domain that is both trivial yet threatening and that works to reproduce the privilege of monogamous coupledom. This is in specific relation to open (gay) dyadic relationships as the kind of sexually non-exclusive relationship that interviewees had more professional experience with and so gave greater account of. We make a case for a less dichotomising engagement with open non-monogamy and for an inclusive therapeutic practice that does not implicitly assume the transparency of monogamy discourse and thus risk negating its normalising effects in the name of psychological and relationship well-being.

JournalSexual and Relationship Therapy
Journal citation27 (3), pp. 205-216
ISSN1468-1994
Year2012
PublisherTaylor & Francis for British Association for Sexual and Relationship Therapy (BASRT)
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)doi:10.1080/14681994.2012.702893
Web address (URL)https://doi.org/10.1080/14681994.2012.702893
Publication dates
Online05 Jul 2012
Publication process dates
Deposited22 Jan 2019
Accepted11 Jun 2012
Accepted11 Jun 2012
Copyright information© 2012 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
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