The Many Faces of Polyamory
Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships
The Many Faces of Polyamory: Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships provides new perspectives on polyamory and the longing to belong in the relatively uncharted territory of nonnormative relationships.
This volume offers a valuable and compelling account on how to approach polyamorous relationships from the clinical perspective. While there is no uniform answer, Dr. Fosse’s compassionate and discerning approach that combines relative neutrality, an open-minded embrace of nontraditional lifestyle choices, and skilful attention to countertransference dynamics is likely to be inspiring. Dr. Fosse exposes the dynamics of love, sex, jealousy, and compersion as they play out in lives of those interested in polyamory, and more broadly, consensual nonmonogamy. Her focus is on relationships worth having.
With its nuanced clinical focus, The Many Faces of Polyamory will be an essential resource for psychotherapists, educators, students, and anyone inside and outside of the mental health field drawn to the intricacies of sexuality, intimacy, and how they are intertwined with relational satisfaction
Table of Contents
PART I: POLYAMORY IS HERE 1. Polyamory Enters Therapy 2. The Mystery of Love PART II: MANY FACES OF POLYAMORY 3. Mono-Poly: Opposites that Do Not Attract 4. Polycurious: Flirting with Polyamory 5. Polyfurious: Wishing for the Whole Poly Business to Disappear 6. Poly Fix: Saving the Marriage by Opening Up? 7. Established Polyamory: Facing New Challenges 8. Unicorns: They Exist, Don’t They? PART III: THERAPEUTIC STRATEGIES 9. Negotiating Speed Limits: One Partner Wants to Speed Things Up, The Other to Slow Down 10. Contracts: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (sometimes) 11. The Vulnerability Cycle: Turning the Tide 12. Fight, Flight or Freeze: Attachment Issues at Play 13. Accelerators and Brakes: Sex in Polyamory and Open Relationships 14. Jealousy: A Signal of Danger that Can Empower 15. Compersion: A Beautiful Aspiration
Dr. Magdalena J. Fosse is a licensed clinical psychologist and AASECT certified sex therapist in private practice in Cambridge, MA. She works extensively with individuals and couples who identify as polyamorous or consensually nonmonogamous. Dr. Fosse is on the faculty of Psychodynamic Couples and Families Institute of New England (PCFINE), which provides advanced training in couples’ therapy to licensed clinicians.
"This beautifully written book is filled with theoretical richness and clinical wisdom. It is a page-turner, replete with vivid case illustrations — many of which have unexpected outcomes — and Dr. Fosse’s insights as to what polyamory itself reveals about the longing for intimacy."
—Peggy J. Kleinplatz, Ph.D., Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
"The Many Faces of Polyamory takes the little known and sometimes controversial topic of polyamory and makes it a poignantly powerful story of people’s yearnings and bravery, vulnerability and love, fulfillment and heartbreak. Dr. Fosse presents a thorough history of this emerging form of multiple intimate relationships and addresses the emotional, psychological, and cultural issues that have given rise to it.
Most importantly, Dr. Fosse reveals herself to be a superb and compassionate therapist who truly accepts and honors those who bring their pain and conflicts, hopes and fears into her office."
—Dr. David Treadway, Author of Treating Couples Well: A Practical Guide to Collaborative Couple Therapy
"The idea of being polyamorous is enticing, but few if any clinicians have the in-depth knowledge of its joys and challenges to responsibly work with these clients. We need a brilliant teacher. Now we have one. Dr. Magdalena J. Fosse’s book The Many Faces of Polyamory: Longing and Belonging in Concurrent Relationships is a thoughtful and deep exploration of the many faces of polyamory. It is a treasure trove for psychotherapists who are interested in becoming more competent in treating non-monogamous patients. Her advice to therapists about dealing with ethical issues and other themes common to working with non-monogamous couples is thorough and its tone is reassuring. Dr. Fosse’s writing is a pleasure to read, and with its vivid case studies and the inclusion of a glossary of terms, it makes a fascinating read for the lay public as well."
—Aline P. Zoldbrod, Ph.D., Author of SexSmart: How Your Childhood Shaped Your Sexual Life and What to Do About It