As the first comprehensive, intersectional examination of consensual non-monogamy, this handbook provides evidence-based research and practice across mental health disciplines on working with consensual non-monogamous (CNM) people and relationships. Leading experts in this emerging field provide counselor educators and practicing clinicians with the authoritative, essential information they need to serve a growing—yet frequently stigmatized—client population with affirmative, research-based, ethical care. Readers will learn basic information related to the development of their own unique relational information, acquire knowledge about CNM and CNM-focused communities, discern how identity, culture, and community impact intimacy and functioning, and take away practical recommendations, insights, and tools to promote CNM-affirming practice across settings, services and populations.
Michelle D. Vaughan, PhD, (she/her) is a white, cisgender, pansexual, queer, able-bodied, polyamorous woman living on the land of the Kaskaski in Dayton, Ohio as an Associate Professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University. She was raised in a white, working-class, rural farm community on the land of the Kikapoo, Kaw/Kansa, in a fundamentalist Christian community embedded in cisheteronormativity, mononormativity and white supremacy. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Baker University and her M.A. (Psychology) and Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from The University of Akron, as well as post-doctoral fellowship in Addiction at the University of Virginia. She is a counseling psychologist, researcher, author, educator, therapist, and community leader focusing on cultural humility and the strengths of marginalized/oppressed populations throughout her work, centered primarily on queer, transgender and consensually non-monogamous individuals. She also serves as the Executive Director of PolyColumbus, is a member and co-chair within APA Division 44’s Committee on Consensual Non-Monogamy.
Theodore R. Burnes, PhD, (he/his) is a white, cisgender, queer, able-bodied man living on the land of the Chumash, Tongva, and Kizh in Los Angeles, California as a Clinical Full Professor of Education in the Rossier School of Education at University of Southern California. He was recently a Full Professor of Psychology in the School of Counseling, Psychology, and Therapy at Antioch University, Los Angeles. He was raised in a white, middle class, urban community on the land of the traditional territory of Nacotchtank, Anacostan, and Piscataway people in Washington DC. This community was embedded in cisheteronormativity, mononormativity and white supremacy. He earned his B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from Bucknell University, M.S.Ed. in Psychological and Community Services from the University of Pennsylvania, and M.A. and Ph.D. in Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology from The University of California, Santa Barbara. He is a licensed counseling psychologist and licensed professional clinical counselor in the state of California, as well as a researcher, author, educator, therapist, and community leader. His professional work focuses on advocacy, cultural humility, and the experiences of marginalized/oppressed populations in receiving mental health services and how organizations can continue to serve these communities. His work has centered primarily on queer and transgender individuals and individuals who work in the sex industry. He is a fellow of the American Psychological Association (in Divisions 17 and 44) and an Associate Editor of Training and Education in Professional Psychology.
Part 1: Foundations
1. Introduction: Towards CNM-Affirming, Anti-Oppressive Clinical Practice (Michelle D. Vaughan)
2. Living outside the BOX: Consensual Non-Monogamies, Intimacies and Communities Notes on Research and Terminology (Christian Klesse & Daniel Cardoso)
3. Stigma and Prejudice Endured by People Engaged in Consensual Non-monogamy (Amy Moors & Ashley Ramos)
4. Polyam Affect: Working with Emotions in CNM (River Farrell)
5. Stronger Together: CNM Resilience, Strengths, and Growth (Michelle D. Vaughan & Ryan G. Witherspoon)
Part 2. Within-Group Differences
6. Consensually Non-Monogamous Families and Their Children (Dena Abbott & Jessica Boyles)
7. Intersectionality in CNM Relationships (Apryl A. Alexander)
8. Disability & CNM relationships (Alex Iantaffi)
9. Queer(ing) Consensual Non-monogamies, Queering Therapy: Queer Intimacy, Kinship, and Experiences of CNM in LGBTQIA+ Lives (Christian Klesse, Leehee Rothschild, & Jaisie Walker)
Part 3: Specific Applications and Contexts
10. Creating a CNM-Affirming Mental Health Agency (Theodore R. Burnes & Alexandra Kropf)
11. Polysourcing: Anti-Oppressive CNM-Affirming clinical training in graduate mental health programs (Michelle D. Vaughan)
12. Ethical Clinical Practice with Consensual Non Monogamous Clients (Elizabeth A. Duke)
13. Developmental Approaches for Clinical Work with CNM Individuals (Cadyn Cathers & Stephanie M. Sullivan)
14. Social Class and Polyamory (Elizabeth Sheff & Hope Smith)
15. Polyperspectives on Anti-Oppressive CNM-Affirming Clinical Practice (Michelle D. Vaughan & Theodore R. Burnes)
This is a very useful if somewhat limited book. Written for clinicians whose practice involves anyone practicing consensual non-monogamy (CNM), this informative text covers a considerable amount of practical information. Vaughan and Burnes provide useful steps for this practice area and a solid summary of the relevant research and theoretical constructs underlying current clinical approaches. The book's strength is how practical a resource it is for any clinician whose practice involves individuals whose lives are experienced and structured in terms of CNM. The book effectively begins with a case study description of a clinician who agrees to work with a CNM couple despite having limited experience in this area, exactly the type of professional likely to find this book particularly useful. Recommended. Graduate students and professionals.
Baked-in prejudices extend to the ways that couples therapists are trained, says Michelle Vaughn. She’s coauthor (with Theodore R. Burnes) of The Handbook of Consensual Nonmonogamy: Affirming Mental Health Practice, the one book I most wish I’d read before I started seeing couples 30 years ago. “All of us are raised in a society that assumes monogamy,” she notes. “We’re taught there’s one way to do a relationship: the right way, the respected way. In graduate programs, we’re taught that if you’re interested in multiple intimate relationships, you have an unhealthy attachment style, or trauma, or a mental health issue.” She highlights the often-heard fallacy that there’s research proving you can only form one healthy intimate adult attachment. “A complete fabrication,” she adds. “There’s no such research.”
The Handbook on Consensual Non-Monogamy provides a much-needed comprehensive overview of what we now know about consensually non-monogamous relationships, drawing on a wide range of academic, therapeutic and activist theories and research. Situating monogamy and non-monogamy appropriately within a current capitalist, colonialist way of relating, this collection foregrounds anti-oppressive and relationship diversity affirming approaches to working with non-monogamous people across intersections. An invaluable resource for all professionals hoping to practice cultural humility around relationships and beyond.
Sexuality education everywhere needs a source like this. This is a practical, direct, and informational book for private practices to become sensitized to people in consensual non-monogamous relationships and to better support them.
Psychotherapists are often hesitant to work with CNM clients, as evidence-based practice is required; however, there is very little clinical research available. The Handbook of Consensual Non-Monogamy: Affirming Mental Health Practice fills this significant gap through a multi-leveled approach in providing effective and anti-oppressive mental-relational health care to CNM clients.
This handbook is the most comprehensive, well-researched resource available for clinicians supporting individuals exploring or engaging in consensual non-monogamy (CNM). It is a much-needed, culturally relevant, guiding resource that unifies the latest research with qualitative anecdotes to humanize the lived experience of those practicing consensual non-monogamy. It addresses the knowledge gap that persists in society and the mental health profession about how to care for a sizable minority of individuals seeking services. I am thrilled about the anti-oppressive, intersectional lens of this handbook, and its contribution in the broader context of efforts to provide support to this large and growing marginalized community.
There is so little literature that is accessible to the public about CNM that takes a clinical approach. The overall vision of The Handbook on Consensual Non-Monogamy is a comprehensive, engaging improvement to other books on the subject, namely books on CNM that target mental health clinicians as its audience. This book is so necessary for our field, in which CNM and related topics in psychotherapy have been historically under-taught to clinicians.
At long last there is an extensive, comprehensive, and well-written resource for therapists and clinicians whose clients are practitioners of consensual non-monogamies (CNMs). This authoritative work equips counselors to be empowered, educated, and effective, with a framework for treatment that considers intersectionality and how CNM clients and communities experience the dominant culture.
The Handbook of Consensual Non-Monogamy disrupts the narrow narrative about relationships put forth in current sexuality and mental health texts and creates a different dialogue possibility that centers on the wellness of the individual in any type of relationship. This text invites the mental health practitioner to consider the diversity of valid, healthy relationship styles that exist and how they impact the multiple identities of our clients. The perfect guide for every clinician with clients who are practicing consensual non-monogamy, this text lets us meet their needs with skill and grace.
This book offers mental health providers a much-needed exploration of consensual non-monogamy (CNM), viewed through the wider lens of intersectionality. It begins by examining how monogamy-centrism, or mononormativity, is based on white supremacist and heterosexual ideals. CNM is then centered within its own context, exploring the evolving language, family structures and strengths of its participants. Recent literature on CNM is reviewed to give the provider a sense of the needs and concerns of the CNM community. Existing psychological theories and tools are explored in terms of how these might be brought to bear when CNM participants enter the therapy room. A critical eye is then turned within, questioning who has access to the CNM community and who does not, and how access might be expanded for people of varying races, genders, abilities, socioeconomic status, and asexual/aromantic identities. Finally, the mental health clinic is explored, with an eye towards how it too may be made more welcoming to CNM community members, including the unique situations that CNM therapists find themselves within. In sum, this book is a rich, thought-provoking journey into the world of CNM and the many identities within and around it.
With this text, Drs. Vaughan and Burnes have created a much-needed resource in the field. Not only will this be a valuable addition to Counseling and Sexuality courses in training programs, but also to clinicians as well. It is an area of our work that has not been addressed as much as it should be and fills a definite gap in the resources.
Vaughan and Burnes' The Handbook of Consensual Non-Monogamy will be a valuable resource for graduate level courses and for clinicians already in practice who want a comprehensive overview of working towards a consensual non-monogamous, anti-oppressive clinical practice.
[This] new handbook is a wonderful addition to any relationship therapist’s toolbox. It is timely and incredibly thorough, though the editors also explicitly acknowledge just how much we have yet to learn around CNM and those engaged in such relationship structures. In addition to compelling theory and practical recommendations, the Handbook includes wonderful resources and starting point considerations for clinical faculty and supervisors working to unlearn their own biases in order to better serve therapists-in-training. The Handbook is likely to be a challenging read for those without at least some familiarity with liberation psychology and anti-oppressive frameworks, those lacking a foundation in multicultural theory, or providers without a personal approach to cultivating their cultural humility. For these mental health providers, however, I would argue that the Handbook of Consensual Non-Monogamy Affirming Mental Health Practice is perhaps all the more important to read and reflect upon. It is a wealth of knowledge and deserves serious consideration from the mental health field.
4/14/22, Choice: This book was featured in a roundup of forthcoming titles in psychology.