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We Can Do Better: Consensual Non-Monogamy and Mental Health

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and access to quality mental healthcare that is affirming of consensually non-monogamous relationships is critical. Myriad barriers to access already exist for those who live on multiple margins of race, gender, ability, orientation, class, citizenship, occupation, age, and education, among others. Despite therapists’ best intentions, research shows that most therapists lack basic knowledge about consensually non-monogamous relationships and some even ask their clients to renounce their relationships. Therapists are not impervious to societal stigma toward multi-partner relationships, and the systems that exist to protect vulnerable people in therapeutic environments often exacerbate stigma for those who seek quality care. If clients identify as or practice some form of non-monogamy and/or kink while also living on various margins, the potential for harm rises, and neither client nor practitioner meets their mission.

Enter the American Psychological Association’s Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy (@Div44CNM), a team of over 85 clinicians, psychological researchers, lawyers, and community organizers united in mission to equip mental health professionals with evidence-based tools and training to improve the quality of care for people engaged in consensual non-monogamy. In this session, we’ll explore the mission and vision of this committee with Drs. Apryl Alexander, Amy C. Moors, and Heath Schechinger in this discussion moderated by community organizer Chrissy Holman, and discuss some of the present issues this committee hopes to solve.


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