So you're thinking about opening your relationship...
I work with a lot of clients who are just beginning to consider an open relationship.
Maybe monogamy didn't work for them in the past, or they want a more diverse sex life.
Maybe they don't believe in traditional relationship structures, or want more robust relationship and self-development work.
There are lots of different paths to polyamory. I'm here to help you find one that suits you, and amend your plans as they grow and change moving forward.
Please understand more relationships means more relationship maintenance- polyamory, triads, swinging, thruples, open relationships - they’re not for everyone. Let’s see what’s right for you.
Non-monogamy isn't right for everyone.
Many couples question if this is the right format for their love, and I'm happy to help you both decide on a less conventional model that might fit for you.
I help people negotiate boundaries, set up support structures, and navigate challenging emotions that can arise when opening a relationship.
It's not uncommon for couples to come to my practice because one partner is interested in non-monogamy and the other isn't. Let me help you determine a path that is right for both of you.
It can be helpful to discuss new territory with a knowledgeable and non-judgmental professional.
Many clients have said it was a life-changer for them!
THE POLYAMORY PREP PACKET
Thirteen essential resource guides for couples considering polyamory for the first time.
These simple tools were developed over a decade of work as a couples therapist specializing in work with ethically non-monogamous, polyamorous and open relationships.
Download them once and use them forever as your relationship grows and changes.
RELATED ONLINE COURSES:
I lead several online courses that can be useful for people new to consensual non-monogamy and open relationships. CLick the links below to learn more:
Schedule a free consultation if you're not sure which option is right for you!
I've been writing about newly open relationships and the practical polyamory for over ten years. Read some of my articles below.
Check out my talk on default monogamy and its problems for couples who want to stay together.
Listen in to my Swoon Podcast Episode focusing on Consensual Non-Monogamy:
Or listen to my guest interview about managing consensual non-monogamy, open relationships and polyamory around the holidays.
WHAT I DON'T DO
Sit and nod - instead, we'll take action (I've been described as "direct and not-coddling")
Add shame or judgment to your experience (there's already too much of that in the world)
Bring an agenda that either monogamy or non-monogamy is right for you (that's for you to decide) I just help you determine what's right for you with integrity
Pathologize you (I don't treat mental illness, so you won't receive a diagnosis, assessment or treatment for mental health conditions or substance use)
Support couples who are actively violent with one another- your safety needs to come first, then our work together can begin
WHAT I DO
Bring nearly ten years experience with polyamory, and open relationships to the table to help you decide what's best for you
Support you in setting and respecting boundaries
Use a strengths-based approach to help you grow in a positive direction
Develop an individualized plan to change the way you do relationships
Help you listen, build trust, negotiate and communicate effectively with yourself and your love
Follow a sex-positive kink-knowledgeable framework and draw from extensive experience as a sex educator
Keep momentum and hope alive - even if it's hard for you to feel hopeful
How did you get interested in this work?
When I was studying marriage and relationships in graduate school I was supporting LGBTQ couples in my internship. A number of couples brought up non-monogamy and there was nothing reliable in my studies to help me support them.
I was also in the middle of my own personal relationship transformation. So I turned my thesis work into an opportunity to fill a research gap and started focusing on the necessary tools and skills to make healthy non-monogamy work.
You can hear me talk more about how I came to non-monogamy and polyamory in my work in these podcasts:
Do you work with monogamous couples?
Even for clients who choose monogamy, it can be important to know this is a specialty of mine. These clients love working with me because I apply the same open non-judgmental approach to my work with all couples.
I love all kinds of love!
Do you believe polyamory or monogamy is healthier?
I don't think relationship health is determined by the number of partners involved- but I do believe it can be measured by the level of communication, empathy, trust, and connection experienced by partners.
For some people open relationship structures are overwhelming. And for others monogamy is stifling.
I don't think you always have to choose one or the other, but I want all my couples to be able to openly discuss these with kindness and ease.
How did you learn about open relationships?
I became interested in couples work when I was in graduate school studying couples counseling. I was fortunate to study in a holistic program that emphasized non-traditional therapeutic styles. I was also really lucky to intern at the Gottman Relationship Research Institute when I finished school and really learn about strengthening trust in relationships.
I wrote my final research on non-monogamy in couples therapy and have only expanded my research and education since then. I left the profession of therapy in 2016 to focus on coaching but this area remains my true passion.
Does non-monogamy really work?
Absolutely. If you define "working" as being together a long time, I will tell you I've supported couples who are married or who have been together for 14, 17, 22, and over 40 years while practicing many forms of nonmonogamy.
If you define "working" by being generally satisfied with your relationship, supporting one another's growth, feeling empathy and desire for your partner I will tell you I've supported couples who are married or who have been together for 14, 17, 22, and over 40 years while practicing many forms of nonmonogamy.
But to make non-monogamy work, you need to be willing to do some work. That's where I can help you.
What about affairs?
Affairs happen in both monogamous and non-monogamous relationships. I work with couples to rebuild trust and overcome jealousy every week in session. I have helped hundreds of couples move forward after an affair. (Read more about my work with infidelity here)
I can to help you build and repair trust no matter your relationship structure.
MY THREE FAVORITE NON-MONOGAMY BOOKS
The three books below are my favorite go-tos for couples starting the conversation about non-monogamy. If you haven't read them click below for more information.
Read something great?
I'm always looking for suggestions. Send your reading recommendations to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Gina Senarighi, PhD, CPC is a certified relationship coach, retreat leader, speaker, and author specializing in human connection, intimacy, authenticity, shame-resilience, and alternative relationships. For over twelve years she has supported hundreds of clients creating fulfilling integrity-based relationships according to their own rules.
She earned her Master of Arts degree in Marriage and Family Therapy in 2010 from Saybrook University. She received her Bachelor degree in Education from the University of Wisconsin in 2002 and a Masters of Science in Education with a minor in Human Sexuality from Indiana University in 2004. In 2019 she completed her PhD in Spiritual Studies and Pastoral Counseling.
Gina was named Portland’s Best Life Coach in 2019 by Portland Business Recognition and has taught psychology courses, communication workshops, couples intimacy retreats, and guest lectured on alternative relationships and sex-positive therapy at universities across the US. Students love her no nonsense “real talk” presentation style.
Gina knows with better relationship and sex education we’d build a more compassionate, creative, confident, and fulfilled society. She believes we are entitled to desire and we all need meaningfully connected relationships to thrive. She knows all relationships need a tune-up from time to time and has been praised by clients for her friendly non-judgmental approach to couples work.
She understands first-hand the struggles non-traditional couples and “alternative relationships” face as they navigate the abundant joys and challenges that come with a less traveled path. Her clients span the globe and a full spectrum of relationship possibilities.
When she’s not teaching, coaching or consulting you can find her in her gorgeous urban garden, hiking Door County with her tiny dog, cooking lavish dinners, playing with her two sweet kids, or traveling the world with her partner, Rae.
A NOTE FROM GINA:
Whether you’re facing communication issues, starting a project together, rethinking your future, or struggling with intimacy, I’m here to help you gain the tools you need to move forward with confidence.
I love love in all it's forms. Non-traditional relationships have been my specialty for over a decade. There’s no judgment here.
I've been coaching couples all over the world leading retreats and guiding clients to deeper, more authentic connection with themselves and each other. Most recently I’ve been supporting couples who are co-founders, creatives, and entrepreneurs with world-changing dreams create life balance and maintain connection amid busy lives.