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-   -   Does anybody have experience searching for a counsellor? (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2235)

spacehippiegeek 02-27-2010 06:38 PM

Does anybody have experience searching for a counsellor?
 
I have a problem which I have no idea how to deal with, and I was wondering if anybody here had been through this, or had any advice.

I need counselling. This is not for any issue to do with polyamory, but for personal issues. I saw this one counsellor last August, but I stopped for several months, due to my struggle to take care of my mental health. (Yes, I realize it should have been the other way around - I should have seen him more, when I struggled more.) I wasn't poly or in any relationship at the time.

Now I want to start counselling again. In the mean time, I've started a new relationship with a married poly man. I really don't know how to approach the counsellor to ask him if he is accepting of polyamorous relationships. I don't know if it's a good idea to bring it up over the phone. Or maybe I should just go to an appointment, and bring it up then. But I don't know if I should spring it on him with no warning.

I should also mention that his particular guy does Christian marriage counselling. He was very professional and respectful when we talked, and he never brought up religion. But I suspect he is more conservative on romantic/sexual issues. That was not a problem before, because I was single then. So if I have to look for a new counsellor, should I maybe ask them how sex-positive they are, rather than asking outright how they feel about honest, ethical non-monogamy?

I can't be the only person who's had to deal with this. Does anybody have any advice?

SchrodingersCat 02-27-2010 07:32 PM

We met a poly-friendly counsellor by getting a referral from a friend in the BDSM scene for someone who was BDSM-friendly.

I wouldn't say it's automatic, but I'm guessing that a lot of BDSM-friendly counsellors would also tend to be more open-minded to alternative lifestyles in general, which includes poly. BDSM communities tend to be a lot "bigger" than poly communities, so it can be easier to find people to get referrals for a good counsellor who's alternative-lifestyle-friendly. Maybe check FetLife to find people in your local BDSM scene.

Another option, look for your city's alternative-living/new-age magazine. They're usually on the rack in front of small/local/independent health food stores (i.e. not GNC) or alternative bookstores. They usually have ad sections for alternative medicine practitioners to advertise their services. That's how we found a good alternative-friendly counsellor after moving to a new city.

assets 02-27-2010 08:32 PM

http://www.polychromatic.com/pfp/main.php

You may also find one in your area on here.

spacehippiegeek 03-02-2010 05:03 AM

Thanks for the suggestions!

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 23066)
We met a poly-friendly counsellor by getting a referral from a friend in the BDSM scene for someone who was BDSM-friendly.

Unfortunately, I don't have any connections in the local bdsm community. It probably wouldn't be polite to show up to a social gathering just to ask if anybody knows any good doctors, LOL.

I do have an acquaintance who is interested in joining that community, though. I suppose I could ask him to ask around, depending on how much personal information I was willing to share. But I think that at a certain point, as long as I'm not making people uncomfortable with the information, the wish for privacy is a hindrance to searching for the information I need.

Quote:

Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat (Post 23066)
Another option, look for your city's alternative-living/new-age magazine. They're usually on the rack in front of small/local/independent health food stores (i.e. not GNC) or alternative bookstores. They usually have ad sections for alternative medicine practitioners to advertise their services. That's how we found a good alternative-friendly counsellor after moving to a new city.

That is an excellent idea. My city has a couple of independant weeklies. I'll check them both out. Thanks!

Quote:

Originally Posted by assets (Post 23072)
http://www.polychromatic.com/pfp/main.php

You may also find one in your area on here.

That's a useful link! Unfortunately, there's nobody in my city listed there, but there are a couple in a nearby city. Depending on how my search goes, I may even be willing to make the trip. Hopefully it won't come to that, though.

polytriad 03-02-2010 04:13 PM

We have to drive about 1 1/2 hours to see our councilor. Some of them do phone sessions. I would recommend an in person session for the first visit and then you can take it from there.

saudade 03-21-2010 09:30 PM

I'm in the same boat
 
I'm about to do an in-take appointment to get into therapy myself, and I'm hoping to focus on handling my mood disorder, rather than my (healthy and functional) relationship status.

The term I'll be using as a starting prompt is "sex-positive". A counselor or therapist who professes to be sex-positive seems likely to be more open to poly clients.

There's also some informational pages designed for professionals interacting with us, once you've broached the topic, so that you don't have to go over vocabulary and ethics:

http://www.numenor.org/~gdw/psycholo...ounseling.html
http://www.polyamory.org/~joe/polypaper.htm

This article is just good in general as intro, though not professional-specific, fairly recent:
http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ma..._new_frontier/

Good luck to us all!

EugenePoet 03-21-2010 11:27 PM

IMHO, it is absolutely appropriate to ask a counselor or therapist about their openness to polyamory or any other behavioral choice when checking them out by phone. Or in person. It's not only appropriate, it's necessary! This is someone you need to trust and be able to confide in.

I'm lucky in that many years ago I found my way to a therapist who's an excellent emotional and intellectual fit for me. I told her about my recently formed poly relationship with confidence that she would understand, and she has been interested, aware, and completely supportive.

I did briefly see someone else because her service was offered through my workplace. She was much more superficial in her suggestions -- it felt a little bit like she was quoting out of a self-help book or something. That's not nearly as helpful as someone who connects with you as an individual. So pay attention, and don't be shy in switching to another person if you don't feel one therapist is a good match.

-----

Addendum: One of a therapist's prime directives is to be open and non-judgmental. Someone who makes you feel like you are doing something shameful is breaking that directive. He may help you see how a behavior or a mindset is causing you problems, or how it may be hurting you, because it's his job to help you understand things. It's never his job to judge you. If a counselor has a religious belief that causes him to do that, then he's acting as a priest or rabbi or imam and not as a therapist.

Honestheart 03-23-2010 05:10 AM

Eugene,
what an amazing comment about the directives of a therapist.
Spacehippygeek (sorry if i spelled that wrong) i won't tell you what to do or not to do but do you think your therapist will be all that effective if they dont understand all aspects of your life especially the most important relationship you can have outside of family?
just be prepared, hopefully the worst the therapist will do is be honest to say their spiritual beliefs conflict and refer you to somebody else. but to be honest, as a christian myself who engaged in a a poly relationship... i pray your therapist is open and non judgmental enough to keep you as a patient. just remember

"finding a good therapist is like finding that perfect pair of shoes. you want something that is comfortable, does the job it was intended to do, and doesnt hurt you while its does its job"

spacehippiegeek 03-27-2010 01:56 AM

Thanks for the advice, everybody. I have not been as diligent as I should have been about following up on this and making phone calls, but that is something I will start doing in April. After the advice I've received here, I definitely feel more confident about asking their openness to polyamory over the phone.

It may take a few weeks, but I will post an update here to let everybody know how it went. Thanks again for the support!

NinaM 10-27-2011 04:54 AM

Poly Friendly Counsellor
 
Hi

not sure if you have already managed to find someone, but I am a poly and kink friendly counsellor in the Inner West (Lilyfield). I am a registered psychologist and eligible for the Medicare rebate.

If you are still looking for someone you can email me through my website at www.imanadari.com

Good luck! :)

Nina


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