Relational Counseling for the Non-monogamous and Polyamory Community

at Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids

Relational Counseling for the Non-monogamous and Polyamory Community
In Grand Rapids, MI and West Michigan At Health for Life Counseling Grand Rapids, MI

Health for Life Counseling is now offering Non-Mono Normative Counseling for the Non-Monogamous and Polyamorous Community program from Gottman-Trained therapists. This Healthy Relationship Dynamics program for the Non-Monogamous and Polyamorous Community includes an initial 12 meetings and aims to help each person or group find what they are looking for in relationships. 

Health for Life Counseling’s program is available in the West Michigan area including in-person in Grand Rapids and Ada, Michigan as well as online throughout the State of Michigan. 

Non-Mono Normative Counseling built on relationship counseling principles can help build a foundation of understanding, compassion, and skills to create stronger relationships for goals of longevity, commitment, and intimacy.

(Note: Health Insurance Plans do not cover premarital or couples counseling).
Relational Counseling For The Non-Monogamous And Polyamory Community​
  • Empowering Polyamorous Relationships: A Comprehensive Program for Thriving Polycules
    • Embark on a transformative journey to empower your polyamorous relationships and cultivate a thriving polycule. This comprehensive program, designed specifically for polyamorous individuals, partners, and metamours, provides a safe and supportive space to explore the dynamics of non-monogamous relationships, develop essential skills, and foster deep connections within your polycule.
  • Cultivating an Open and Accepting Environment
    • Step into an open and accepting environment where you can freely discuss the intricacies of polyamory without judgment or stigma. Our facilitators, knowledgeable and experienced in polyamorous relationships, will guide you through open dialogues, group exercises, and individual reflection to foster a deeper understanding of non-monogamy and its unique challenges.
  • Aligning Skills and Expectations Within Your Polycule
    • By the end of our 12-week program (or more), you and your partner(s) will emerge with aligned skills and expectations, ensuring that everyone in your polycule is on the same page. We’ll equip you with the tools to navigate communication, boundaries, and emotional expression in a healthy and constructive manner.
  • Integrating Autonomy, Personal Responsibility, and Boundaries
    • At the heart of successful polyamory lies a balance between individual autonomy and collective responsibility. Our program will guide you in integrating these concepts, fostering personal responsibility while maintaining healthy boundaries within your relationships.
  • Mastering Effective Communication, Trust, Respect, and Emotional Expression
    • Communication is the lifeblood of any relationship, and polyamory is no exception. Our program will equip you with the skills to communicate effectively, express your needs and desires with clarity, and listen attentively to your partners and metamours. We’ll also explore building trust, fostering mutual respect, and expressing emotions in healthy ways.
  • Harnessing the Power of Metaphors
    • To enhance understanding and deepen your connection, we’ll utilize metaphors and analogies to explore complex concepts and relationship dynamics. These metaphors will provide a fresh perspective, allowing you to gain new insights into your polycule and the relationships within it.
  • Achieving “Kitchen Table” Polyamory
    • Our program aims to help you achieve a dynamic similar to “Kitchen Table” polyamory, where all members of your polycule can comfortably coexist and interact harmoniously. We’ll provide guidance on navigating the complexities of polyamorous relationships and cultivating a sense of community within your polycule.
  • Tailored to Your Polycule’s Unique Needs
    • Our program is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We’ll tailor our sessions to address the specific needs and concerns of your polycule, ensuring that you receive personalized guidance and support.
  • Embrace a Thriving Polyamorous Lifestyle
    • Through this comprehensive program, you’ll gain the knowledge, skills, and support to cultivate thriving polyamorous relationships. You’ll emerge with a deeper understanding of non-monogamy, enhanced communication and conflict management skills, and a stronger, more connected polycule. Embark on this transformative journey today and experience the joys of polyamory in its fullest form.

Therapists That Provide The

Non-Mono Normative Counseling for the Non-Monogamous and Polyamorous Community

Brittani Decess

Counseling through a trauma-informed, inclusive, and equitable lens for individuals, relationships, and families.

To discuss which programs could work for you, call (616) 200-4433 or complete the form below.

What to Expect

  1. What to expect in the Non-Mono Normative Counseling for the Non-Monogamous and Polyamorous Community Program

    Session 1: Rapport Building and Intake

    • Establish a safe and supportive environment for open communication and exploration of relationship dynamics.
    • Gather information about the partners, metamours and/or individual’s relationship history, goals, and challenges.
    • Identify areas of focus for the counseling sessions.

    Session 2: Understanding Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fawn Responses in Relationships

    • Explore the physiological and emotional impact of stress responses in non-monogamous relationships.
    • Develop coping skills to manage stress and prevent emotional hijacking.
    • Identify patterns of fight/flight/freeze/fawn behaviors in the relationship.

    Session 3: Gottman-Rapport Communication Method

    • Introduce the Gottman-Rapport Communication Method, a framework for effective communication in relationships.
    • Practice active listening, empathy, and emotional expression in a supportive environment.
    • Develop strategies for resolving conflict and building a strong emotional connection.

    Session 4: Emotional Literacy

    • Enhance understanding of emotions and their role in non-monogamous relationships.
    • Identify personal emotional triggers and develop strategies for self-regulation.
    • Cultivate emotional intelligence to navigate complex relationship dynamics.

    Session 5: Assumption Checking

    • Understand the impact of assumptions and biases on communication and relationship dynamics.
    • Practice identifying and challenging assumptions in non-monogamous relationships.
    • Develop skills for clear and direct communication to avoid misunderstandings.

    Session 6: Assessment and Preparation for Second Half of Program

    • Review progress made and identify areas for continued focus.
    • Conduct a more in-depth assessment to tailor the second half of the program to specific needs.
    • Prepare for more challenging discussions that may arise in subsequent sessions.

    Session 7: Navigating Jealousy, Expectations, Boundaries, and Rules

    • Explore the nature of jealousy and its manifestations in non-monogamous relationships.
    • Develop effective strategies for managing jealousy and promoting trust and security.
    • Establish clear boundaries and rules to navigate expectations, group responsibility, and maintain individual autonomy.

    Session 8: Gender Roles, Implicit Biases, Masking, and Societal Pressures

    • Address the influence of gender roles and implicit biases on non-monogamous relationships.
    • Identify and challenge personal biases that may impact communication and decision-making.
    • Develop strategies for navigating societal pressures and expectations in non-monogamous relationships.

    Session 9: Coming Out, Discrimination, Microaggressions, and Family Dynamics

    • Explore the challenges of coming out as non-monogamous or polyamorous to family and friends.
    • Develop strategies for coping with discrimination, microaggressions, and unsupportive reactions.
    • Discuss the impact of non-monogamous relationships on family dynamics and communication.

    Session 10: Growing a Family, Parenting/Parenthood, and Expectations

    • Discuss the unique challenges and opportunities of parenting in non-monogamous and polyamorous families.
    • Explore strategies for navigating co-parenting dynamics and establishing clear family structures.
    • Address expectations and responsibilities related to parenting in non-monogamous relationships.

    Session 11: Codependency vs. Co-Regulation

    • Understand the differences between codependency and healthy co-regulation in non-monogamous relationships.
    • Identify signs of codependency and develop strategies for cultivating interdependence and healthy boundaries.
    • Foster mutual respect and support while maintaining individual autonomy.

    Session 12: Closure Session

    • Review progress made throughout the program and celebrate accomplishments.
    • Discuss strategies for maintaining healthy and fulfilling non-monogamous relationships.
    • Provide resources for ongoing support

Additional Sessions Might Include:

  • Family relationships/in-laws
  • Time spent together/leisure time
  • Dealing with anger or other intense emotions
  • Work/life balance


Level 3 (Enhancing Your Love)

12 sessions at $120= $1440 Total

What does this include? What are the differences between programs?

Includes: 1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, Assessment to garner areas of focus, 4 sessions directed on common relational topics, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1300 Total

Level 2 (Growing in Love)

10 sessions at $135 = $1350

What does this include?

Includes: 1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, Assessment to garner areas of focus, 2 sessions directed at common relational topics, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1200 Total

Level 1 (Foundations of Love- )

8 session at $145 = $1160

What does this include?

1 Introductory session, 6 sessions of skill building, 1 closing session, and a Relational Skill Building Booklet to take home and guide throughout the program.

Pay Up Front in a Lump Sum Discount = $1000 Total

(Note: Health Insurance Plans do not cover premarital or couples counseling).

Research about Non-Mono Normative Counseling for the Non-Monogamous and Polyamorous Community

The counseling field faces specific challenges and opportunities when it comes to polyamorous or non-monogamous relationships. According to Johnson (2013), many polyamorous individuals avoid seeking professional help because they’re afraid of experiencing stigmatization, bias, and misunderstanding of their lifestyle choices from mental health providers. Johnson emphasizes the ethical obligation counselors have to explore and address the unique needs of polyamorous clients, including their often deep-rooted mistrust of professionals.

A 2012 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior points out the effectiveness of couple counseling in such contexts. The study found that people in open or non-monogamous relationships often face barriers to care due to discrimination from service providers and inadequate research. Males, gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals were more likely to report being in open relationships, but they reported lower relationship satisfaction compared to monogamous individuals (Czuy Levine et al., 2018).

Therefore, mental health counselors who specialize in polyamorous or non-monogamy relationships make sure to familiarize themselves with the complexities related to ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, and SES  within the context of open relationships, which is in line with Zimmerman’s (2012) recommendations. Some of the most effective techniques in this case include the Gottman method, narrative therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

The concepts of codependency and co-regulation categorize the interdependence of couples’ interpersonal emotions. However, the impact of these two types of dynamics on relationships significantly differs.

Codependency is a dysfunctional relationship pattern where one partner’s emotional state and behavior overly influence and often control the other’s sense of self and emotional well-being. In this dynamic, one person typically plays the role of “the giver” and sacrifices their needs to satisfy their partner, who is “the taker”. As a result, codependency can lead to a loss of individual identity and an unhealthy reliance on the relationship to maintain self-worth.

Codependency in relationships is linked to a wide range of mental health and behavioral problems, such as emotional abuse and domestic violence.  According to studies, individuals with higher levels of codependency experience more negative dyadic coping — they perceive both their own and their partner’s behavior more negatively during stressful situations. This, in turn, leads to reduced life satisfaction (Happ et al., 2023).

Co-regulation, on the other hand, is a healthy form of emotional interdependence where both partners actively support and help regulate each other’s emotional states in a reciprocal manner. It involves mutual empathy, understanding, and respect for each other’s emotional needs. This supports healthy relationship dynamics where both individuals feel secure and valued.

Psychologists usually describe “co-regulation” as a psychological and biological experience of regulating the nervous system in a relationship that allows individuals to let go of sympathetic activations (like fight, flight, or freeze responses) and find balance and harmony in a relationship. According to Randall et al. (2021), co-regulation dynamics in relationships play a crucial role in how partners manage stress and emotional experiences.

These two concepts can be perceived on a spectrum of emotional interdependence in relationships, with co-regulation on the left, representing a healthy, balanced interaction, and codependency on the right, signifying an unhealthy, unbalanced dynamic.

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