Jun 032015

Cultural Humility and Affirming Polyamorous and Non-Monogamous Relationships
Organized and facilitated by Shawn Chrisman and Ruby B Johnson
June 26, 2015
Vantage Point Counseling
3300 Oaklawn Ave, Suite 415
Dallas, Texas 75219
for more details, go to polydallas2015.com.

Polyamorous and Non-Monogamous relationships have increased over the last decade. The way individuals, in the 20’s to early 30’s or Millennials, are relating, connecting, attracting, and permitting themselves to have non-traditional relationships is creating a more sex positive and dynamic relationship structure. However, Generation X proves to have a different experience and expectation of relationships and their structure.

Hence the exposure, experience, and knowledge base of these different relationships is esoteric to many mental health and substance abuse providers within the community. Demystifying and educating providers is key to providing a conducive non-shaming therapeutic environment. However providing knowledge is a practice of cultural competence, infusing cultural humility into practice creates authenticity and positive regard within the clinician.

To support these principles of the helping relationship, the content richly addresses definitions of polyamory and non-monogamy, coupled with a graph which offers a visual aide for attendees, under language, Unpacking heteronormative and monogamy privilege is exposed as well as the challenge to provider’s beliefs, values, and norms of relationships. To assist with unpacking privilege, myths and misconceptions of these relationships are debunked. Next, the focus shifts to the therapist.
The way of being, in the helping profession, is cultural humility. The four tenants of cultural humility are:

Commitment to lifelong learning & critical self-reflection
Recognize/challenge power imbalances
Develop & maintain mutually respectful dynamic partnerships based on mutual trust
Institutional accountability

With each one of the tenets, solutions, techniques, and suggestions for change are offered that include (not limited to) unconscious bias, racial bias, counter transference, professional boundaries, dual relationships, microaggressions,, social, political, economic bias, sex positivity versus sex addiction, and intellectual privilege (Dunning-Kruger Affect).

Certain theories have been shown to assist with effective practice such systems, constructivism, Bowenian, feminist, and gender queer. Techniques such as the genogram, gender/relationship
inclusive assessments, narrative versus structured assessment, collaborative (with client) treatment planning and interventions, including considerations for cultural, social, community, and services barriers. Additionally, one must be aware of community resources and support.

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