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Extraordinary interventions for extraordinary clients: existential sex therapy and open non-monogamy

Berry, Michael D. and Barker, Meg (2014). Extraordinary interventions for extraordinary clients: existential sex therapy and open non-monogamy. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 29(1) pp. 21–30.

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Open non-monogamy is an important and sensitive area for psychotherapists and counselors, as it can challenge the practitioner's personal values, and professional assumptions about dyadic sexual relationships. Additionally, the increased attention to non-monogamy in popular culture, and the sometimes-ambiguous distinction between “monogamy” and “non-monogamy” make understanding the potentials and challenges of non-monogamy a priority for sex therapy specialists. We recommend existential sex therapy as a useful, non-pathologizing model for addressing the needs of openly non-monogamous clients. Both therapists with limited experience working with non-monogamous clients, and those seeking new theoretical frameworks, may benefit from the use of existential sex therapy. We identify core existential therapy principles, including bracketing (i.e. reflectively identifying, and endeavoring to separate out one's own prejudgments and values) and horizontalizing (i.e. working to situate the client's sexual identity within the wider context/horizon of their life experience), as methods for affirming the importance of freedom and belonging in light of the client's subjective, lived experience.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2013 College of Sexual and Relationship Therapists
ISSN: 1468-1749
Keywords: sex therapy; existential psychotherapy; non-monogamy; polyamory
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Psychology
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Item ID: 40960
Depositing User: Meg-John Barker
Date Deposited: 26 Sep 2014 08:51
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 19:10
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