Mental Health Awareness Month Post Again

I posted ten days ago that I wanted to discuss mental health issues for May’s Mental Health Awareness Month by listing ten random topics rated to Mental Illness and Health. This post aims to finish off this goal with six more such short discussions.

5. Alternative Medicine and Alternative Approaches: These can work alongside the more traditional Western Medical Model Approach of medication coupled with psychotherapy. These alternatives include massage, Reiki, acupuncture and acupressure and other forms of body and energy work, including regular yoga classes, regular meditation, and/or individual yoga therapy. In addition, regular exercise and healthy diet have been shown to play a big role in altering brain chemistry, especially anxiety and depression. And I don’t think there is one kind of diet out there that works for everyone. Ayurvedic Medicine has an interesting approach to nutrition in terms of not seeing food divided into good versus bad; as with most substances, almost any food or beverage can be used well or abused. In Ayurvedic Medicine, there are 3 “doshas” based on a lot of criteria, and for each category, healthy food is very different. A person with a lot of “pitta”, the fire dosha, needs to avoid spicy foods and eat cooler foods while a person with a lot of “vata” needs to eat heavier foods to ground themselves. The other dosha, Kapha tends to need lighter foods. When i had my dosha diagnosed as very “vata” I was pleasantly surprised to learn that my tendency to eat a lot of ice cream isn’t so bad in moderation. This food that’s on the heavy side would not be great for Kaphas. Anyway, I’m not an expert on this, I just find it interesting that the philosophy behind it relies on the idea that different kinds if foods are better for different people. Also I definitely ascribe to the belief, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” meaning that if a person stumbles on a good combination of treatments, say, an anti depressant that works, weekly massage therapy and yoga classes, moderate exercise and Reiki added on when symptoms arise, go for it! Keep doing the self care that works for you. his person may have had enough psychotherapy and be in a period is working on their mind body connection through these alternative treatments. Even approaches to treatment can be seen from an Ayurvedic point of view: “pitta” people like structure and discipline so the above treatment plan would work for someone like that whereas a more vata person would not take on so many forms of treatment and might do one thing or two for a while and then switch to something else….google Ayurvaduc Medicine and read about it. It’s a fascinating approach to healing that is way older than Western Medicine…

6. The DSM V: wait another year and then fork out your $80 for it and it will finally be here in May 2013! It’s the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders, fifth edition. Some new disorders under consideration include binge eating, hoarding and hyper sexuality; substance abuse now termed “dependence” will maybe be considered an addictive disorder. Non-suicidal Injury Disorder and Suicidal Disorder are under consideration. Of course there is controversy on all of the proposed changes…

7. Hoarding seen as a mental illness: as with all behaviors, the quantity, frequency and dependence on a non healthy behavior is usually what tips it into mental illness from plain old eccentricity or just pretty “normal” behavior”, eating emotionally for a few days after a breakup, having a fee drinks every once in a while, punching a wall once when enraged or throwing your cell phone… Many people hoard without it becoming pathological but sometimes moderate hoarding behaviors co occur with ADHD and depression in adults. I’d be interested to know the role of trauma in extreme hoarding behaviours. When hoarding gets to an extreme, the individual tends to engage in and display a lot of distorted paranoid thinking and fantasies, as well as overwhelming feelings of abandonment and social anxiety and phobias. “Don’t leave me, but don’t come too close to me, and don’t touch any of my stuff or move it around. Don’t come in my house; if I leave someone’s going to mess with my stuff so I’ll stay here. You’re trying to get me out of the house so you can take my belongings away…” Binge eating can also go with hoarding for obvious reasons. I see hoarding could be considered a sort of obsessive compulsive disorder, definitely a phobia and form of social anxiety, or a paranoid delusional one or even a form of addiction as well as part of PTSD… How complicated!

Alright it’s almost 1 am here! Time to stop and I’ll put the next three topics in my next post before May is over!!!

Mental Health Awareness Month Post Number 2!

Ok. I’m interrupting my attempt to get deeper into the issues around money and therapy because I have until the end of May to do my part in raising awareness around mental illnesses and the paths to mental health and stability…

I think this is too great an opportunity to pass up. On my personal Facebook I pledged to post at least once a day a fact or question to do with this subject. Then I decided to do the same on my LinkedIn “share” with connections. I am in too many professional LinkedIn groups to post on all of them! Then I decided to post about it on my public Facebook Artist Page. In fact after I’m done with this post I will announce it on my Artist Page.

I confess as a therapist and human who works closely with people on their very personal paths towards health and real soul fulfillment, feeling myself to be, or at least aspire to be, a sort of modern times Shaman or Doctor of the Psyche, I am really excited about this discovery that May has been Mental Health Awareness Month for over 50 years! How dare they not tell us in grad school or at our jobs and internships! How many therapists know about it??? Check with your therapist and/or psychiatrist to see if s/he knows about it! Spread the word! Thank goodness for the Internet and social media, as they help us raise awareness of such an important topic. There is just too much stigma out there about mental illnesses and so much ignorance. Why do health insurance companies still limit outpatient mental health treatment to 20 or 32 visits a year!?? How dare they set a limit on something so important in such an arbitrary manner! I’ve never had a patient with a mental illness who was invested in his or her therapy, who thought 20 visits or 32 sessions was enough per year. That has to change. What would people with one kidney do if they limited their dialysis visits per year? Unthinkable…

To get back to the point, though I don’t think I’ve strayed that far, in this post I will do what I’m doing daily on Facebook and LinkedIn: I’m going to make a list of ten questions or lesser known facts about various mental health issues. By mental health I include addiction, eating and personality “disorder” issues as well as trauma of various kinds and healthy positive behaviors related to this topic…

1. The relatively new phenomenon of personal blogs about how a person is living day to day with his or her symptoms and feelings about having some type of mental health issue is a wonderful way that people can see up close the courage and strength it takes for people to face their life day in and day out, struggling with staying healthy. It’s also a great testament to how far we’ve come with medications that work for people and with diagnostic criteria that help people come to terms with and manage their daily self care. Of course there is a lot more to improve with medication and treatment, but these very raw personal and honest blogs out there are a great way for people to feel less alone with their particular struggles. For some, the blogosphere is the only community they have and place they feel safe discussing such personal issues and struggles. So I start with a very positive aspect of mental health awareness by saluting all you people out there blogging about your struggles and triumphs. I follow many great blogs of this type and hope to find many more…

2. Schizoaffective Disorder: how many of you have heard of it? I first learned about it at an internship at a Continuing Day Treatment program long ago, so I have worked with individuals given this diagnosis. The term was first coined in 1933, but I have a feeling most people haven’t heard of it unless they have it, know someone with it, or work in the mental health field. You can find very particular detailed explanations of it on the Internet. I would describe it as bipolar and mood disorders meets and marries schizophrenia types of symptoms. What a challenge to be dealt this card! You have some sort of mood instability, whether primarily depressive, manic or both, as well as possible psychotic episodes, paranoia, hallucinations and delusions. For a really up close and personal account of it, read the memoir “The Quiet Room” by Lori Shiller. There’s still a lot of controversy about this diagnosis, and it comes up in this very moving book. In my experience, I think this diagnosis can be helpful to people suffering from such a confusion of symptoms because usually Bipolar Disorder and Schizophrenia thankfully now are seen and recognized and treated as very different because they are completely distinct. In the past people with either of these illnesses were lumped together , but we know a lot better now. However, there are some people who suffer from symptoms described by this “cross sectional” type of disorder. In my experience it really does exist, and the diagnosis is helpful, as people can be treated with both a mood stabilizer or anti depressant and an antipsychotic type of medication that people dealing with schizophrenia take, and they can have potential relief of their mix of symptoms and also begin to experience themselves as functioning at a much higher “level” in their lives which can be greatly improved and a lot less painful and confusing…

3. So, on the topic of mood stabilizers and “anti psychotic” medication, otherwise referred to as “psychotropic” medications: In contrast to what I said above, it can be confusing for people suffering from Bipolar Disorders, Schizoaffective Disorder, or other schizophrenia related disorders on terms of the wide variety of medications currently used to treat such illnesses. On the one hand, modern medicine has put to rest the confusion of what used to be called “manic depression” and “schizophrenia.” We all know now how different these are, but some of the medications treat both types. The difference is in the dosage. Old fashioned medications like Haldol, as well as the newer “anti psychotics”, such as Geodon, Risperidol, Seroquel, Zyprexa and many others, are prescribed for any form of psychotic episode, as well as being maintenance medication for schizophrenia and related “schizo” type disorders. To make matters more confusing, people with Bipolar Disorders, for whom a typical mood stabilizer like Lithium or Depakote, just to name 2 main ones, does not help enough to stabilize moods, can now take such medications as Zyprexa or Seroquel as mood stabilizers, usually on lower doses than for schizophrenia type symptoms. Some people with a kind of Bipolar Disorder take a typical mood stabilizer, as well as one of these other meds, and as well as an anti-depressant and other medications such as those for anxiety, which are in a totally different classification. So we’ve come all this way in distinguishing Bipolar type symptoms from those of schizophrenia related illnesses, and yet the same medications may be used to treat both. A little confusing. However, it is great that these other medications were discovered to have mood stabilizing properties, as some people need to take them instead if or alongside their regular mood stabilizers. Seroquel is also considered to have anti depressant properties, so probably some of the others like it also do.

4. While in my experience with working with people who suffer from very serious mental illness, mood stabilizers and medications like them can really be miracle workers for those suffering from Bipolar type issues in that, once the right medication or combination is found, people who take their medications daily can experience a great relief of symptoms and a sudden experience of real stability, those suffering from “unipolar” depressive illnesses such as dysthymia and major depression, tend to have more struggles with their medications. There are the lucky people who find the right anti- depressant and get relief; unfortunately of those people there is the group who after 6 months to a year find the medication no longer works, and they are plunged into a depressive episode and have to try some other anti-depressant(s) to see if a different one will work. For others, none of the different types of anti depressants out there seem to work. Some women in the latter group find a doctor who decides to try the more innovative treatment of using hormone medications to treat their depression. I read an interesting article about this a few years ago which really amazed me, as many people I know who suffer from mood disorders tend to complain that they can’t take birth control pills because it sets off depression. Others take hormones for birth control alongside their other meds without any trouble. Thankfully now there is a small group of women who take only hormonal medications to relieve their depressive symptoms! What a great medical breakthrough!

Ok. I have not yet reached number five and this post turned out to be much longer than I expected. So, the above is my food for thought on this topic thus far. I pledge to reach number 10 before Mental Health Awareness Month is up!!!

Mental Health Awareness Month

I’m interrupting my multiple posts on money and therapy to get the word out! If it weren’t for my following a lot of mental health blogs I would have no idea it is Mental Health Awareness Month this month May!

It’s now halfway through May but better late than never. Therapists out there tell your patients about this and tell other therapists. Others out their with a mental illness tell your families! People out there who want to know more about mental health, get online, read articles and blogs! See if your local newspaper is aware of this. Tell your friends on Facebook and other social media.

I know so many people out there quietly taking their psychotropic medications and just trying to get through each day. This month we celebrate you for your courage in finding out about your mental illness and trying to get healthy in a society that still promotes too much stigma about mental illness.

This month everyone should have been aware of this from end of April. It’s been going on since about 1949 and not well enough publicized.

Call your brother, sister, parent, other loved one and tell them how much you love them and how proud you are of them for coping with their mental illness and not giving up on themselves! There are still too many suicides in our country, a majority caused by mental illness and the deep pain of living with it…

Money and Therapy; A Very Confusing Topic

I just wrote a long draft for this post, and it disappeared, so I am very frustrated. I will try a shortened version of what I had in mind.

I started by describing a lot of potential scenarios (in private practice as opposed to clinics or training institutes or agencies) for therapists and patients to raise questions such as the following:
1. What is it about the exchange of money for therapy that directly affects the therapy?
2. With insurance companies often paying the bulk of your therapists fee, does your copay to your therapist hold any meaning for you or your therapist?
3. Is there such a thing as too low or too high a fee?
4. What does it mean for the therapy for a patient to be paying a very low fee over a long period if time due to real financial hardship?
5. Is the therapy compromised or changed when an outside party such as a parent or friend pays for all the therapy?
6. What is it like as a therapist to be mistakenly seen as very wealthy by your patients due to some misconceptions about therapists in private practice and their incomes?
7. What is it like for a therapist to have a patient who makes over twice the therapist’s income?
8. Is it wrong for a therapist to let a patient who has money problems and is paying a low fee get very far back in payments to the therapist and owe months of therapy? Who should bring up the topic?
9. Is there something strange about this scenario: therapist goes to a supervision group and pays a monthly fee 30$ more than the fee s/he charges her own supervises in the supervision group she runs.
10. What makes most therapists say no to bi-weekly (2 times per month) instead of weekly sessions and what makes a few therapists accept this scenario as well as a low fee due to the patients’ financial hardship?

In the world of many therapists the whole topic of the fee and sliding scale and how to handle the negotiations of it is hotly debated. Some say if you don’t pay attention to the fee and how it is paid you are avoiding a lot of important issues. Others have a philosophy of really using the sliding scale fee and accommodating people other therapists would never work with. I confess I fall in the category of those, the ones who lower their fee to accommodate patients with little money and at times I accept a patient coming only twice a month. In most cases it is a patient who has been coming weekly for a long time but not always. There are other reasons I have accepted this type of patient besides money issues though I agree with most therapists’ opinion that much more can be accomplished with the regularity and structure of weekly sessions. I also would never run a supervision group that did not meet weekly as I think the group process works with weekly meetings and consistency and keeps the group functioning for support as well as clinical issues.

Many years ago I read in the New York Times magazine a profile of a British therapist. I don’t remember his name or why the article was on him but I do remember him saying, ” I strongly believe that therapy should not cost more than (don’t remember the amount but it was equivalent to about $80 which these days might be around $120 as this was written around ten years ago)…” anyway I was really struck by his point. He actually thought there was a limit to a decent fair fee for his services despite his education, training and experience. Sort of like saying an ice cream cone from a truck shouldn’t cost more than 3$. This was and is very unusual in our profession to actually say that it’s indecent to charge more than a typical amount such as $100-$120 per session as your highest rate. Putting a limit on the value of therapy. Most therapist’s focus much more on the difficult issue of, can this particular patient afford to pay my highest fee and if not what can they afford. On the patient’s side, I have seen people say I don’t want to pay you less than such and such as I don’t want you to feel disrespected so this is what I could afford to pay you.

I admit I had a conversation with someone about couples therapy and how insurance companies often pay too little for it. Yes, some therapists charge more for couples than individuals. The reasoning is that couples therapy is much more difficult to do, which I think is definitely true. In addition, most couples don’t stay in therapy that long with some exceptions. While it is not unusual to have a patient in therapy for five years or more, the average couple dies not remain in therapy that long. I could diverge into a discussion of couples therapy but that is for another post. I will add that it’s not unusual for a couple to go to a couples therapist and end up with one partner continuing with the therapist individually and thus stopping their couples sessions. It is one way people kind of accidentally find a therapist they like for individual…

Back to money. The idea of going to someone’s office to share intimate details of your life and expose your self in various verbal and nonverbal ways is hard for some people to wrap their head around. Usually the boundaries of not knowing much about your therapist helps with this scenario and makes the whole money transaction make more sense to most patients. I am going to a doctor of the mental, emotional and spiritual body so of course I am paying as I would for a doctor of the “physical” body. This is how I would explain the process to a curious and puzzled Martian.

People may notice they are sometimes treating their therapist like their mother (transference) but it helps to have the distance and strangeness of the personal information mostly flowing one way, from the patient to the therapist.

I admit or confess to sometimes wracking up a large bill with a patient who is on a low fee and having a very hard time confronting the patient about it. It certainly would be easier if the patient brought up the topic. Confronting someone who has a job they work hard at and are paid little for who has loyally stayed my patient when s/he could have found someone in network on their limited health plan and now owes me for quite a few months if therapy is not easy. I also have a patient who left therapy suddenly owing me about $300. She has paid off most of it but still owes enough that I need to chase after her every once in a while.

The majority of my patients not using their insurance pay me some fee lower than my regular fee and pay it on time.

The one insurance company I am in network with pays me a little more than half my regular fee. What does this mean? Probably that the insurance company undervalues my work in a much more insulting way than any patient is capable of doing. It says with your license, level of training and experience we agree to pay you almost half your fee. If course experience usually doesn’t mean much to the insurance companies nor do they raise your fee according to inflation and cost if living.

Raising your fee is another big topic which a lot of therapist’s struggle with.

Money and therapy: big topic to be continued in the next post!

Polyamory and The Prejudices Against It

Ok. This is not going to be scholarly or exhaustive. Wikipedia covers so much information about this lifestyle choice including guidelines for therapists working with polyamorous patients, a topic I will touch upon in this post.

I do confess that I was quite ignorant about this topic until I started working with a polyamorous or “poly” patient, a young woman, a few years ago, and then I got interested as I learned a lot from her and others. I have worked with LGBTQ people who are polyamorous as well as heterosexuals who are polyamorous; there isn’t any difference in the philosophy or approach to relationships based on your sexuality, as polyamory is concerned with the topic of relationships between humans, more than sexuality and sexual or gender identity.

I approached the topic with an open and curious mind from the beginning and did not fall into the therapist trap of thinking that polyamory was an issue to be addressed as some kind of “problem”, but more that it would be a part of her discussion of her relationship issues. I was not unaware of this kind of lifestyle but had not gotten the chance to see it up close and learn about it.

As I said there are many scholarly studies as well as organizations, etc. around this topic. I just want to address the major misconceptions and stereotypes our monogamy oriented society has created towards polyamory. Imagine the President of the United States being an open polyamorous person. Once you do that, if you can even imagine it being possible right now in our current society, you can imagine the mainstream culture about so called family values’ view of it… Our society seems to expect the president to be married anyway, so the concept of a “single” president is just as foreign. Here are some misconceptions and “stereotypes” related to this minority group:

1. Polyamory is the same thing as polygamy.
Nope. Polygamy usually involves a man married to or involved with and cohabitating with multiple women and in rare minorities a woman with several male partners/husbands. The only thing in common here is that both groups exist in subcultures that accept and ascribe to these lifestyles. Polyamorous individuals emphasize equality in relationships, so a person may have multiple lovers or partners, but his or her partners usually also have multiple partners. It by definition is against there being a double standard in relationships. Gender equality is another big part if it. So actually polyamory is a very good approach towards no tolerance of any double standards, such as “I can love/be with others but she cannot…”

2. Leading directly to another common falsity, namely that polyamorous people are polyamorous in order to be promiscuous, or that polyamory is mainly about sex and being able to have sex with a lot of people.
The very term polyamory derives from “poly” meaning many and the amorous part means love, thus “many loves”. While many polyamorous people have a healthy sex life, most people who choose this lifestyle think of themselves as having and maintaining several romantic relationships at the same time and are more focused on the whole relationship, and not just the sexual aspects of the relationship. In fact many of the people who don’t choose this lifestyle are more promiscuous, for example, individuals who are single but choose to have sex with a lot of people or some people who suffer from sex addictions. Some sex addicts will have multiple sex partners in the span of a day or two. Some sex addicted individuals are in “monogamous” relationships but are actually leading a double life and secretly having many sexual encounters with strangers. In contrast, a polyamorous individual tends to be focused on getting to know a new person as a prospective romantic partner and, while s/he may be having sex with several lovers, these are actual relationships, not anonymous encounters. Each person involved is aware of the other person’s relationships and this kind of lifestyle tends to be concerned with openness and honesty, so secretive behavior is not sought out or encouraged. If your partner tells you about going on a date with someone else and you are accustomed to this type of behavior and would do the same, you are not very likely to be invested in secretive behavior.

3. Here is another false idea about polyamory: Most polyamorous people are gay men, thus even implying a stereotype that gay men do not like or engage much in monogamy. Well we know this is not true. First of all,many women of whatever sexuality are polyamorous too as are heterosexual men. In addition, this is quite false as LGBTQ populations are right now fighting for the right to get married and be thus recognized by society for being in monogamous relationships. Yes it is true that in places like New York, many gay men are comfortable with “open” relationships, not requiring complete monogamous fidelity. However, it is a big leap from being in a serious relationship and engaging in sex on the side once in a while that is tolerated or enjoyed by your partner and/or engaging in other sorts of casual sex in an open relationship to being polyamorous. The former that I described may be more common among some gay men, but it is an example of precisely how far that behavior is from polyamory. Also of course, there are plenty of gay men who are very monogamous anyway.

4. Anyway we now come to a very common misconception in our monogamy oriented society, that a polyamorous relationship is the same thing as an “open” relationship. Here the terms are confused. Basically all polyamorous relationships could be considered “open relationships” but not all open relationships are polyamorous. The contract in a typical so called open relationship is a rather vague permission from each partner for the other to be with other partners. Polyamorous relationships are more structured and involve a more complete concrete and detailed contract between multiple people. Which leads to misconception number 4, a bad trap most people fall into out of ignorance or plain prejudice.

5. Polyamorous people are in multiple love relationships at the same time because they aren’t equipped with the ability to communicate well in relationships and don’t take loving long-term relationships seriously. Very wrong. Quite the contrary; many polyamorous people have much better communication skills than monogamous couples. As such relationships involve establishing ground rules and a kind of very spelled out no secrets contract between each individual and couple, communication
in an open and honest way is a given most if the time, as well as a necessity for people leading this lifestyle to be comfortable in their relationships. Many polyamorous people have highly developed skills at communicating and working things out in their relationships, as jealousy is not clouding their judgment. This is a long topic, so suffice it to say that often the frustrations a very good communicator faces in being polyamorous is dealing with people who are new to it or who do not live up to the principle of all parties involved understanding the agreements… Sometimes a monogamy oriented person thinks they can be polyamorous but actually hasn’t thought it out enough and really is not able to follow the main principles of it. That is why most “poly” people look for other people that are very much identified as poly because there will be less misunderstandings. For obvious reasons monogamy and polyamory just do not mix at all because they represent opposing philosophy. Yet I would propose that there is plenty of room in our society for both lifestyles to coexist better if these misconceptions I am listing here were to get cleared up. In addition society would have to value them equally. That will take a while. Just take President Kennedy and his clan as an example of monogamy in its worst aspects. Cheating, double lives, the fantasy of “Camelot” of the Kennedy presidency. Not sure I’ve read exactly how many sexual partners he squeezed into his lifetime…

6. Monogamy is the be all and end all, and polyamorous people are simply unable to be monogamous. This is patently false. Some polyamorous people have tried out monogamy and simply found it limiting or just that this lifestyle was not for them, and so they chose to be polyamorous as it was their preference, not a judgment about monogamy or an inability to be monogamous. Polyamorous people, whatever their sexuality, often have a “primary” relationship that may last longer and be taken more seriously than their other romantic relationships, but usually the philosophy is that one can live or be in love with more than one “life” partner at the same time without trivializing any of these relationships. To simplify, polyamory is really by definition the opposite of monogamy, in the sense that many monogamous people believe there is “the one” out there, while polyamorous people place less importance on this kind of “soul mate” philosophy. So called “serial monogamists” tend to operate under the principle that each of their relationships is an attempt at being with the one love of one’s life, and the final one that “works out” ie. doesn’t end, is the one person one is meant to be with, or else the best choice possible. One could argue that a person who is in one serious relationship followed by another is not that different from a polyamorous person. The polyamorous person simply chooses to engage in more than one relationship at a time. A monogamous person could end up having more relationships than a polyamorous person in a lifetime. A side note, people also commonly think incorrectly that polyamory has some kind of emphasis on quantity over quality.

7. Polyamorous people are mostly into group sex and other types of “kinky” behavior. Some are, but plenty of polyamorous people do not engage in that kind of behavior. Some monogamous couples engage in this kind of behavior so it is not exclusive to any particular lifestyle choice.

8. If a polyamorous person goes to therapy, they probably need to examine their lifestyle and figure out what causes them to “not be able” to be monogamous or even that the person needs to try to change this choice if lifestyle. While this sounds ridiculous, you would be surprised at how many therapists out there think polyamory is some kind of deviant behavior that must have roots in the persons upbringing or sexual development or related to the persons parents failed relationships or something like that. This misconception sounds a lot like the old one where a parent might bring their son or daughter to therapy to make them “not gay”. Unfortunately this used to be common.

In any case, when a polyamorous individual chooses to engage in therapy, most often the reasons are the same as with anyone else, ie. issues around anxiety, depression, creative blocks and career issues, and low self-esteem (this low self-esteem is about the individual’s struggles with negative self-image and has little to do with being polyamorous, by the way…) Of course when you’re in therapy your relationships with your parents and other family members often get discussed as do your romantic relationships and your own comfort with your sexuality. However the emphasis is on each particular relationship with each individual. In some cases a polyamorous person will find him or herself involved with someone claiming to be polyamorous but actually not following the principles around ground rules and openness. So someone may come to therapy and say that s/he stopped dating a person after they discovered that this person’s partner was unaware that’s/he was dating that person. Some people claim to be polyamorous and may consciously think they want to be, but might not truly understand what it involves and are actually not cut out for the kind of open communication this lifestyle tends to require or lend itself to.

9. Polyamorous people are abnormal because they don’t get jealous or possessive, otherwise known as the false idea that monogamy is the best way to live and the best kind of relationship to have. Also not true. Our society finds it easier to follow this mainstream idea that one should aspire to loving one person and walking into the sunset with that “soul mate”. While it is true that people who really are polyamorous do not get jealous or possessive most of the time, this is not abnormal, it is simply different. If you want to stretch your mind, one could even posit the idea that ideally individuals would be neither jealous nor possessive. Indeed, imagine if society dictated that you should only have one child as people having two or more children were thought to be incapable of loving two or more children at the same time. To most people that sounds crazy, or we would live in a society where having only one child was the way to go. In a sense polyamorous people simply believe that they can and do have romantic and sexual feelings for more than one person at the same time and also do not mind if their lovers or partners also do the same. To some extent most people tend to try to decrease their jealousy and possessiveness anyway as these qualities usually do not help one to have a healthy and equal relationship with a partner. Perhaps polyamorous people are actually just better at putting this principle in action, or perhaps I am now suggesting that monogamy turns out to be a choice for people who simply are unable to love another one the way that polyamorous people are, that monogamy is simply easier, less challenging and just happens to be the norm, and we could “take a page from their book” as the saying goes…