Polyamory in Therapy 2020

Would you like to feel comfortable, confident, and competent working with relational challenges related to polyamory?

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If so, this course is for you.

Polyamory in Therapy:
A Deep Dive Into Clinical Strategies for Challenging Cases

Polyamory in Therapy will give you the grounding you need to tackle everything from broken agreements to new relationship energy, coming-out challenges, family issues, jealousy, and much more. Each 90-minute online class will have an information briefing, live Q&A, and case discussion. I’ll also provide worksheets, handouts, and exercises I’ve developed over my years of experience helping polyamorous people create strong, functional relationships. 

In this course, you will discover:

  • How to help your clients explore many options for how they might open their relationship, including weighing pros and cons, understanding risks and benefits, and exploring differences of opinion between partners
  • How to guide your clients as they craft strong relationship agreements for their non-monogamous partnership, helping them avoid common pitfalls and recover from setbacks
  • How to assess what went wrong with previous failed attempts to open the relationship, and how to help clients recover and move forward strongly
  • How to examine your own belief systems about marriage, relationship, and fidelity, in order to better serve clients who are very different from yourself without getting thrown off course 
  • What you need to know about BDSM/Kink and LGBTQAI+ populations in order to work effectively with the overlapping marginalized groups that make up the polyamory community
  • Why I love working with polyamorous people and relationships, and why I think you’ll love it too!

Plus, you’ll walk away with:

  • Nuts-and-bolts information about a variety of consensual non-monogamies, including pitfalls and benefits of each
  • 13 worksheets and handouts, including several that you can offer your clients
  • 9 CEUs approved by AASECT,* with active participation and following successful completion of a learning assessment

Who am I, and why am I offering this course? 

My name is Martha Kauppi, and I’m an AASECT-certified sex therapist and supervisor. I specialize in relational sex therapy, including alternative family structures like polyamory. I have spent years thinking about why polyamory works beautifully for some and fails spectacularly for others. I’ve learned a lot in the process. I’m offering this course because I want to offer you the tools and information you need to help your clients craft relationships as unique as they are. 

Course details

The 90-minute live online meetings will be

  • Friday, May 22nd, 11 am CDT: “All About Polyamory for Therapists”—I’ll give you a rundown of the many forms of consensual non-monogamy and introduce you to key terminology. I’ll explain the major polyamorous relationship structures and shapes, brief you on the demographics of polyamorous communities, and explain “polyamory theory,” or the set of beliefs about love and intimacy many polyamorous people hold. We’ll also discuss how to identify and understand your own personal bias and how to conceptualize cases with polyamorous clients.
  • Friday, May 29th, 11 am CDT: “When Your Polyamorous Client is Also Kinky or Queer”—an indispensable primer on the marginalized populations that commonly overlap with polyam communities, including the particular challenges these clients face. We’ll cover working with kink/BDSM, and explore the relationship between LGBTQ identity and polyamory. I’ll also explain some key beliefs that resonate between kink culture, queer culture, and polyamorous culture and share advice for working with clients who are very different from yourself. 
  • Friday, June 5th, 11 am CDT: “Common Challenges and Necessary Discussion”—how to help your clients craft the polyamorous relationship of their dreams, and avoid common snags along the way. I’ll explain how to guide a differentiated agreement-making process, one that ensures that your clients address everything they need to discuss, and prevents broken agreements before they happen. I’ll also share an effective treatment plan for working with jealousy and describe how to help your clients self-regulate and co-regulate through emotional challenges. 
  • Friday, June 12th, 11 am CDT: “Recovering When Things Go Wrong”—what do you do when one partner just can’t seem to keep their agreements? Or when one partner engaged in infidelity, and now wants to give an open relationship a shot? This session will cover these thorny questions, as well as revealing the root causes of broken agreements and offering guidance for how to help your clients make a good repair when things go wrong. 
  • Friday, June 19th, 11 am CDT: “Challenges and Benefits Related to Relationship Roles and Stages”—each role in a primary-secondary polyamorous relationship comes with its own unique set of challenges. In this session, you’ll learn how to understand the particular difficulties faced by your clients who are primaries, secondaries, and hinges, and how to help them rise to the occasion. We’ll also discuss the challenges posed by a variety of relationship transitions, including breakups and shifts in relationship structure, and I’ll offer some guidance for how to help your clients handle the mountain-moving force that is new relationship energy (NRE).
  • Friday, June 26th, 11 am CDT: “Beyond the Partnership: Polyamory and the Wider World”—polyamorous partners aren’t just partners; they’re parents, siblings, neighbors, and coworkers, and being polyamorous can pose some unique challenges (and offer some potential benefits) for their other relationships, beyond the romantic ones. In this session, we’ll discuss coming out as polyamorous, children in polyamorous families, and the impacts of marginalization on your clients. We’ll also explore the ethical considerations you’ll have to keep in mind when working with polyam clients, and I’ll offer some useful tips for marketing yourself as a polyamory-friendly therapist. 

This course is approved for 9 AASECT CEs*

*This program meets the requirements of the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (AASECT) and is approved for 9 CE credits. These CE credits may be applied toward AASECT certification and renewal of certification.


Q: I can’t make all the class meetings in person. Is that ok?

A: That’s fine; all classes will be recorded so you can watch them later, and you will be able to access them forever. You can email me any questions you have, and I’ll try to include them in the class even if you aren’t there live.

Q: Are there CEUs with this class?

A: My course is approved for 9 CEUs from the American Association of Sexuality Counselors, Educators, and Therapists* for students who successfully complete a post-test and evaluation. If you want to request CEUs from your own professional organization, you may take the post-test, and I will give you a certificate of completion with a detailed syllabus and learning objectives to support your request. Your professional organization guidelines should give you a good indication of whether they will accept my course and/or AASECT credits for CEUs, but I cannot guarantee or predict the outcome.

Q: I have never worked with a polyamorous client before. Will this class be over my head?

A: No. This class will cover all the basics, but then keep on going further than any other course I’ve ever seen on the topic. Plus, with live Q and A as part of every class meeting, I’ll be able to answer your questions as we go.

Q: I’ve taken other courses from you on this topic; is there new material in this course?

A: In this course, I’ll be unveiling a set of worksheets I created to support deeper continued work between sessions. I’ve also gone further and deeper with case conceptualization and strategies for handling New Relationship Energy and role-related challenges. In response to frequent questions, I’ve added a meeting to answers questions about BDSM/kink and queer sexuality, since these populations often overlap. Plus, I plan to do some in-depth case discussion and lots of live Q&A.

Q: Are you offering reduced fees or scholarships for this course?

A: Not this time. I know that many people are experiencing financial challenges right now; for that reason, I’ve cut the course’s price by 1/3, but that means that I can’t afford to offer any further discounts. If you can’t afford this course right now, definitely don’t feel pressured to take it! Instead, stay tuned…this won’t be the last thing I offer about working with polyamory in therapy.

Q: I want to learn how to work with polyamorous clients, but 9 hours seems like a lot.

A: You’re right; this course is intended to be very robust and in-depth. If you’re looking for a brief introduction instead, check out my webinar. (It’s short and sweet, but still pretty meaty!) This course is meant to really go deep, and won’t be the right fit for everyone. But if you really want to develop the tools to start working effectively with polyamorous clients, or take your skills working with polyamory to the next level, this course is meant for you.

Signups for the 2020 session are closed.

What People Are Saying About Martha’s Work

Martha has an incredible talent to teach complicated material in a digestible way. Every time I have heard Martha present, I have implemented what I have learned in my sessions right away.

Kelly Scharver, Couples Counselor—Virginia

Martha is so generous and welcoming with her information and abundant resources, experience, online seminar leadership, and knowledge.

Dian Rains Allen, Ph.D., MFT, LPCC—Vallejo, California

Martha is a consummate professional  and dynamic teacher and speaker, with an amazing breadth and depth of knowledge about work with sexuality and couples. I am so thrilled she’s offering a workshop for therapists about gaining competency with non-monogamy and poly relationships, because this is such a growing need and it’s so critical that we therapists respond to it from a place of information, awareness and understanding.  Martha’s work is really one of a kind and I am so excited to continue to learn from her.

Katherine Waddell, MS, LMFT—Northampton, Massachusetts

Martha’s seminar at the 2018 Couples Conference was a worthwhile and engaging learning experience. Martha is obviously clinically skilled and knowledgeable about polyamory, and she kept the audience engaged with each other in their thinking and learning. Her warmth and openness encouraged participants to share professionally as well as personally.

Ann Langley, Ph.D—Redwood City, California

What Martha teaches about poly is such important information for all therapists to learn. It is clear that she stands out as a specialist in this area of work. Our profession needs her expertise at a time when there are few trainings to address this issue.

Lori Weisman, MA, LMHC—Bellevue, Washington