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  • Alternative Relationships

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    Navigating Alternative Relationships in Tampa and St. Petersburg

    Couples Therapy or Marriage Counseling… Sorta, But Not Really

    You probably know by now that our team loves couples therapy and marriage counseling. We basically live and breathe all things couple, and we stand by our approach using the Gottman Method. With that said, the reality is slightly different. We actually love anything to do with romantic relationships. This means any type of relationship – whether that’s with two people, three people, four people, paramours, secondaries, or metamours (and more). And while we often use the phrases couples therapy and marriage counseling, we realize this phrase is limiting and that our work is really bigger than that.

    What’s an alternative relationship?

    Long story short is that alternative relationships are any relationship outside the monogamy ‘norm.’ They take a wide variety of forms, including but not limited to ethical non-monagomy, consensual non-monagomy, polyamory, swinging, and being in an open relationship. Basically, if you’re in any style of relationship that doesn’t fit a two-partner mold, then you might be in an alternative relationship. If you don’t go by that language, that’s cool, too! We’re happy to use whatever language feels right for you (and your partner/s).

    I don’t want to be criticized for my relationship/s. Can I trust you?

    Short version, yes. You can absolutely trust us. We also understand that just because we say you can trust us doesn’t mean that you immediately deem us trustworthy – all of which is expected and understood. Trust is earned. We both know and respect that.

    We’re also well aware of the fact that there are multiple different types and styles of relationship. The beauty in what we do is that we don’t take it upon ourselves to decide what’s healthy or right for any person or people (barring abuse). Even more beautiful is that the concepts of the Gottman Method are universal, meaning that we can take what we know and apply it to whatever relationship you’re in (lookin’ at you, communication and conflict).

    Basically, you won’t be criticized for your relationship and we can help you (ideally – we can’t guarantee anything because the work isn’t really up to us) since the concepts we use are applicable to many different kinds of relationships.

    How does alternative relationship counseling work?

    Through many of the same mechanisms – we meet you and your partner/s all together to get a feel for the problems and what successful therapy would be, then with everybody individually to get a feel for who each person is (additional context), and then we come together to talk about the health of your relationship. It’s as “simple” as that (simple doesn’t equal easy, of course).

    Yes, but how can you help us?

    Okay, understood. Although we can’t give you a straightforward answer (because, ya’ know, we don’t know who’s actually reading this page right now), we can offer some general guidelines.

    We can be the most helpful through getting as-close-as-possible-to-an objective, in-depth view of your relationship via a variety of assessments, and then organizing the information and distilling it back to you (with your input throughout the whole process). What this does is give people a much richer, in depth view of their relationships, which then allows for informed decision making. It also gives us the vantage of knowing exactly where to focus in the work we do together. The caveat, of course, is that the work can evolve while it’s happening.

    The other beautiful thing about having a thorough understanding of your relationship is that people tend to feel more hopeful. Instead of being overwhelmed “all the time” because things are “bad,” people feel grounded in a structure for what’s been going wrong and, most importantly, hopeful that there’s antidotes for the dysfunction and ways to address problematic patterns that have been taking over.

    The nutshell version? We can help you to learn about your relationship, understand what’s been going on and wrong, and practice and integrate new ways of being within the relationship.

    Okay, I think I’m interested in alternative relationship counseling. How do I connect with you?

    Great question. You can click below to get to our contact page and submit some basic information. We’re pretty quick on the turnaround and will get back to you as soon as possible. We’re also always happy to answer any questions, so don’t be shy and ask away!