Relationship Counseling

Finding the Right Therapist for LGBTQ, Kinky, And/Or Poly Relationships

finding a poly therapist | Uncommon Love Counseling for Open Relationships

One of the most difficult issues many of my clients face is finding a mental health provider who truly understands their needs as a member of the LGBTQ and/or kink and/or poly community.  

All too often well-intended providers on well established referral sites click one easy button to list themselves as LGBT-friendly without training or exposure to our community.  

I've heard far too many horror stories of unfit professionals harming clients and friends with good intentions over the years.

So I’m writing today to list some of the specialized sites I use to find referrals so you might have an easier time finding someone who understands.

Finding a referral is the first step but it’s even more important you interview your provider to be sure they are a good and knowledgeable fit for your unique relationship before you start working together. 

Remember your therapist works for you not the other way around.  

This is your hour and your life, do not hand your trust over to just anyone. You deserve a provider worthy of your trust (and financial investment) and who can create a shame-free space for your to talk (or not talk) about these topics as appropriate.

I’ve listed a few suggested interview questions under each topic below.  If you have additional interview question suggestions please leave them in the comments section I would LOVE to add them!

Finding a provider you trust is imperative to the success of your coaching or counseling relationship.   I am happy to help you find a provider in your area if you need help.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me for assistance.  If you have a provider in mind you would like to add to the listings, please add their information in the comments section to share with others!

Sex Positive, Kink, Fetish, and BDSM Therapists

Questions to ask your potential therapist or coach:

1.  Please describe your previous work with BDSM, kinky or fetish communities and clients.

2.  What does sex-positive mean to you and how does it influence your work with clients?

3.  What kind of training have you received on sex-positive, kinky, or fetish communities?

4.  What makes working with sex-positive clients unique?

Sex-PositiveTherapist Referral Listings:

Kink Aware Professionals is provided by the National Coalition for Sexual Freedom and is a resource for people who are seeking psychotherapeutic, medical, and legal professionals who are informed about the diversity of consensual, adult sexuality.

Fet Life is a social media site for the BDSM, kinky, and fetish community (think facebook for kinksters).  There are some therapists who list on this site and there are groups where you can ask for community member referrals in your area.

Polyamory, Non-Monogamy and Open Relationships Counseling

Questions to ask your potential therapist or coach:

1.  Please describe your previous work with polyamorous clients or open relationships.*

*I recommend asking specifically about your specific relationship style if possible, open, swinging, polyamorous, non-monogamous etc.  As you know we are a beautifully diverse community with unique needs- be sure your provider knows how to help YOU.*

2.  What kind of training have you received on open relationships and non-monogamy?

3.  What makes working with polyamorous clients and couples unique?

Poly Therapists Referral Listings:

Poly-Friendly Professionals is a list of professionals who have identified themselves as being, open-minded about polyamory and polyamorous issues.

Opening Up List based on the excellent book Opening Up (on open relationships) by Tristan Taormino, a listing of professionals worldwide.

LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning) Counselors

Questions to ask your potential therapist or coach:

1.  Please describe your previous work with LGBTQ communities and clients.*

*I recommend asking specifically about your specific identity group, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer etc.  As you know we are a beautifully diverse community with unique needs- be sure your provider knows how to help YOU.*

2.  What uniquely qualifies you to work with lesbian, gay, and/or bisexual clients?

3.  What kind of training have you received on transgender, gender variant, or genderqueer populations?

4.  What makes working with gender variant or sexual minority clients unique?

LGBT Therapist Referral Listings:

Q Center Resources (this link is for Portland, OR to find a LGBT Community Center near you click here)

Portland State University Queer Resource Center (this center will likely have referrals only in the Pacific Northwest, to find a LGBTQ campus resource center near you click here)

Bisexually Aware Providers the professionals who have chosen to list themselves in this directory have all stated to the directory coordinator that they meet criteria for bisexuality-awareness.

Queer Health Care Referrals (North America)  This is a facebook group of queer and ally identified individuals referring based on personal experiences with healthcare providers.

Informed Consent for Access to Trans Health Care  Not a provider directory, but a great resource for transgender individuals seeking mental health care.

Finding a provider you trust is imperative to the success of your counseling relationship.  

I truly am happy to help you find a provider in your area who respects and affirms your lifestyle and is knowledgeable about your identity.  Contact me here if you would like help.


Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).

Invest in Your Relationship's Emotional Bank Account

Emotional Bank Account | Uncommon Love Polyamory Couples Counseling

One of the most important things to assess in within couples relationship is the state of the emotional bank account. 

 John Gottman's research shows every time you turn towards your partner with warmth, follow through on your agreements, share affection, appreciation, and gratitude, and create positive future plans you are making a small investment in this account.  You can also make withdrawals and overdraft the account by doing the opposite.

Having a positive balance in the account can provide sustenance during crisis and help couples through times of repair.  It creates the possibility of long-term sustainability.

Couples who are successful make tiny investments in their relationships frequently.  Satisfied long-term partners will turn toward one another with affection, gratitude, and appreciation in both verbal and nonverbal ways up to hundreds of times per hour.

This is even true of non-romantic partnerships.  Family members, and friends who who attend to relationships regularly in thoughtful ways are better equipped to build long lasting relationships.  Even business partners who tune in to the importance of relationships will have greater success in negotiating contracts and meetings.  These folks stick together with greater loyalty and trust.

So how can you invest in your relationships?  

Five simple tips to invest in your emotional bank account

1.  Have daily positive/warm contact.

It's amazing how little time we actually spend with our partner each week.  Think about it, you're at work over forty hours, plus commute time, you work out, or watch TV and then it's time for bed.  Carve out 30 quality minutes to spend with your sweetheart each day (away from electronic devices) and I promise you will notice a difference.

2.  Share appreciation and gratitude often.

Over time we forget to say those sweet things to our loved ones.  This is a problem because we stop noticing all those wonderful things, and our partner stops hearing about them. 

Make sure that once a day you are making an investment in your relationship bank account by sharing something you appreciate about your partner.  Think about it as a vitamin for your relationship's health.

3.  Notice the attempts your partner makes for your attention and clearly state your attempts for theirs.

John Gottman (the most respected relationship researcher out there) talks A LOT about the importance of bids in relationships.  Bids are the times we ask for attention from our partner.  Successful couples notice bids, and more often than not, they respond warmly to their partner.  Missing bids can quickly get you into shaky territory.  

You don't have to go along with everything your partner says, but it helps to notice all the ways they reach out to you (eye contact, affection, requests for help, invitations etc) and respond with care.

4.  Give the benefit of the doubt.

Sometimes when we are together for a while we start building resentments in relationships.  These can snowball if you don't stop them quickly.  Trust your partner's best intentions. 

When in question, ask for clarification, "Honey, you're just asking if I am wearing this so we don't accidentally dress as twins- not because you think it looks bad, right?"

5.  State your shared mission/meaning/values regularly. 

It's important to have a shared goal on the horizon and values guiding your decisions.  This doesn't mean you always agree, but that you have a shared sense of meaning to help guide your collaborative process.  Set some dates for the future and talk openly about how much you look forward to them (not just a wedding, think about travel or shared celebrations).  

Talk with your sweetheart about the things that add meaning to your life and shared time.

If you want help strengthening your relationship I am taking new clients starting next week.  Give me a call for a free consultation to see if we're a good fit to work together.

 


couples counseling in portland | sex counselor portland

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).