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Old 02-02-2010, 12:10 AM
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CielDuMatin CielDuMatin is offline
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Upstate New York, USA
Posts: 1,456

I had mixed experiences with counsellors. The first one claimed to be "poly-friendly" but thought that poly was some outgrowth of the 60s free love movement and just didn't "get it".

The second one was far better.

I dug up some articles that were aimed at her profession, like and Franklin's site. She totally "got it" and was impressed at the maturity and the amount of thought that went into engaging in poly relationships.

She commented that in her opinion, a lot of the stuff that we always talk about needing to do to make poly work is actually good stuff in any relationship and she wished it was more ingrained in the material about regular relationships (things like effective communication, talking about expectations, talking about dreams and hopes, degree of commitment and just plain sharing). She saw the added complexities and the downsides, too - I really felt she was realistic.

Her initial impression was that it was far more of a liberal attitude towards relationships, but once she did mroe reading around and saw how different people did it, she said that while there were some that were obviously very liberal, there were some that were quite conservative. It was interesting to hear her talking about his, during our sessions.

The big one was when she was able to explain how I felt to someone who wasn't poly in a way that I had never even thought of it. I don't even remember the exact words she used, but it was great because she was able to see things from both toe monogamy and polyamory perspectives and "translate".

She was a major help to me, both personally, and for my relationship, and I have referred several people to her who were looking for help. She has told me that she has shared the information about polyamory with other professionals in her network.

When I asked her how others who weren't local to us could find someone like her - what they should be looking for, or questions to ask of a prospective counselor, she seemed amazed, because in her book, any counselor worth their salt should be able to put themselves in the position of their clients, speak their language and relate to them, without judging.

Now I know that this isn't the reality for many, who have come up against all sorts of "let's find a way to fix your polyamory thing" attitudes. But a different friend once said that when you go to a counselor, you need to "shop around" and find one that resonates with you who will give you the help you need. If one seems judgmental, don't give up, but move on, and find another.

I would suggest avoiding the ones that are directly affiliated with churches that do not support polyamory - you're not playing the odds well if you do that.

The other thing I would suggest is to compare notes - like I said, I have given her name to many who have been struggling locally - in an out-of-the-way place like Alaska it might be a good idea to document good and bad experiences with different professionals so that others can benefit from our experiences. Share it with some of the online resources for poly-friendly professionals.

Note, though, that some professionals don't want to "come out" as poly-friendly in any sort of public place - respect that (like this forum is available for Google search so I won't be listing any names here). If you have a more private forum or group where you can collect that information for others in a similar situation to you, then please do so.

Well, there's some suggestions, based on personal experiences. Not sure how useful they are, but you did ask!
Please check out The Birdcage - an open, friendly Polyamory forum for all parts of New York State

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