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Couples Counseling for Nontraditional Partnerships and Polyamory


couples therapy can benefit folks in many different relationship structures in colorado

As a couples therapist in training, I am thrilled to be learning more about the tools and interpersonal skills that can strengthen relationships. While the term “couples therapy” may feel limiting, what is often called couples therapy can benefit folks in many different relationship structures including:

  • Those in open relationships

  • Those in polyamorous relationships, or

  • Other types of relationships that fall outside of the traditional monogamous model


Research in couples therapy has expanded beyond male and female dyads and has been shown to be effective in LGBTQ+ relationships as well. When we develop our relationship skills, it does not just benefit our romantic relationships, it can also help us navigate other intimate relationships including those that are aromantic or asexual.


Here are some of the concepts that relationship therapists can help you with:


Clarifying Values and Making Agreements


couples therapy can benefit folks in many different relationship structures

While all types of partnerships can be very rewarding, they can also be demanding in different ways. A relationship therapist can help you explore and clarify your relational values. This includes discussing what you are looking for in a relationship and how you will handle conflict.


A therapist can help you and your partner(s) to have these difficult conversations and to come to agreements that work for everyone. This can include challenging norms around love, fidelity, and sexuality.


My favorite part of working with folks who want a relationship outside of traditional structures is the process of deconstructing norms and equipping them to co-create a relationship that aligns with their values. Developing a shared vision, coming to agreements, and adopting healthy relationship patterns can lead to a very meaningful and fulfilling dynamic.


A relationship therapist can also help you and your partners develop many skills to enhance your connections. Strong communication is valuable in all types of relationships, but there can be an even greater demand for openness, honesty, and awareness when you are co-creating a unique relationship structure.


We see the above pattern with boundaries as well. While most relationships need communication around boundaries, it is valuable to develop a strong practice of knowing yourself and being able to clearly communicate what you want. Having good communication skills and feeling confident negotiating for what you want can also make it easier to navigate difficult topics such as jealousy, conflict, and intimacy.


Dealing With Jealousy


Many folks in alternative relationship structures have concerns about being able to successfully navigate jealousy. It is important to feel equipped to navigate this discomfort when it arises as well as feel confident in your ability to talk openly about your experiences with difficult emotions.


Getting to the root of your jealous feelings may help you increase your window of tolerance for this emotion and can help you develop healthy coping mechanisms for managing it. Developing conflict resolution skills can help you learn to resolve conflict in a healthy and constrictive way that can improve the quality of your connections.


These skills are foundational to ensuring that you can navigate change as well. Navigating intimacy issues can feel intimidating. A strong commitment to enthusiastic consent and an increased understanding of each other's needs and desires can promote trust and enhance relationship satisfaction.


Finding Support


If you are in a nontraditional relationship and looking for couples counseling, contact us today

Relationship therapy can also help you feel more supported. Sometimes it is healing to have a safe space to share your thoughts and feelings, and to get support from a neutral third party. This can also be a space to find validation for your relationship.


Heteronormativity and mononormativity can put pressure on relationships and a therapist can help you to feel confident in your choices. Nontraditional relationships can also cause people to feel isolated from others. A therapist may be able to provide resources to help folks connect with other safe people to build a community of support.


If you are open about your relationship structure and facing judgment or misunderstanding, a therapist can help partners to inform and to advocate for their right to live their lives authentically.


If you are in a nontraditional relationship and looking for couples counseling, it would be valuable to find a therapist who is experienced in working with these models. This information may be in their bios or on their websites and you can also interview potential therapists to see if they are a good fit.


With the right therapist, you can learn the skills and tools you need to create a successful and fulfilling relationship. Remember, you are not alone. There are many people who have unique relationship structures, and there are therapists who can help you to create happy, healthy connections.


How We Can Help

Reach out to us today find the right therapist to help you learn the skills and tools you need to create a successful and fulfilling relationship


Schedule for a FREE 20 minute phone consultation to learn more and find the right therapist for you!



Follow these simple steps if you are looking for general support, or if you would like to talk to someone more about how we can help you:

  1. Begin your journey towards a calmer, more balanced life


Other Therapy Services Available at Catalyss Counseling:



Author Biography

Jessica Carpenter, Intern Therapist at catalyss counseling

Jessica Carpenter is an intern therapist with Catalyss Counseling who works with adults who have experienced stress or trauma to develop better self-regulation skills. Jessica is also a licensed massage therapist, yoga therapist, and TRE provider. She is passionate about making wellness accessible to everyone. Follow Catalyss Counseling on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram.













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