Polyamory Is Going Mainstream (2nd update)

This 2nd update of “Polyamory Is Going Mainstream” is brought to you on a break from my project, letting you know I am alive (other than my Twitter feed.)

It looks like I am doing two year updates of my blog post of 7/1/13. With an update of 5/27/15, and now this. It’s quite coincidental to me, except that since my post almost four years ago, I have thought continuously about this subject. So, I’m motivated to follow this active relational/social shift, at least in the U.S.


“Married & Dating” (Showtime Networks)

A Paradigm Shift

Can a shift like this – from monogamous (in values; beliefs, including spirituality) to multi-relational – be connected to other social, historical, cultural developments? We don’t know whether multi-relational practices tend to drive social trends, or the opposite. The talk of monogamy’s “breakdown” is a bit of retailed panic; multi-relational life can include parenting a couple’s progeny.

Possible Privilege

We don’t know much about poly peoples’ diversity, though informal studies show a more affluent, white and younger demographic. It may reflect some degree of privilege to be able to relate, openly or not, outside of social norms.

Defining Self In Relationship

I work with clients who are trying to define themselves clearly in the fluid shifts between one paradigm and another, relationally speaking. Personal integrity is of course the one common foundation for both desire and commitment.

marriageFew Grew Up This Way

But in the new relationship paradigm, one that few people grew up with, a very personal integrity can come in a “qualified second” to indulging (or plunging) into the new world of wanting. Or mastering today’s new social skill, one with a considerable but often overlooked ethical canon. It’s been remodeled actively over the last two decades, and of course is subject to every possible variation. Many partners I see consider the shift after they have birthed and raised their preferred number of children.

Polyamory Mastery Is Hard

There is a significant number of people in multi-relational partnerships where the partners have had some experience with it, and have in fact developed ways of maintaining desire and clear enough commitments across them all. And yet even these folks would not lay claim to mastery of these skills. To open up desire in one’s life is indeed to open oneself to greater variability, and some pressures, including those related to spending so much time just relating closely.

Separating Commitment From Desire

The separation of commitment from desire, mainly for desire’s sake, is welcome. It can free desire up somewhat, if life’s other commitments can be carved away enough. It’s exhilarating, and then the larger number of moving parts start to bring change. More of life is devoted to relationship. That alone challenges most people’s levels of personal development.

Desire Least Understood

Desire is the least understood part of relationships, and the most frequent reason for breakups of all kinds. In monogamy, people usually stop wanting each other, and then stop choosing each other. In multiple relationship households desire can easily flicker too, though for different reasons, often about how difficult it is to maintain commitments that get built onto relationships made mainly from desire. Longer term, it’s more likely about how to maintain a robust individuality; clear but open boundaries, durable relationships, bringing and keeping people in your life.

An ethical framework for managing desire is becoming less and less controversial, and more frequently the basis for therapy and counseling.

Seattle Therapist: Twitter


Starting Twitter

I’m starting a Twitter feed in the right sidebar, with some faith that a brief expression of a true feeling or idea is still a truthful moment. I’ve avoided Twitter up to now, while admiring its ability to shape social movements. Please note that Twitter is anything but confidential. Posting on it will likely reveal your identity.


#SeattleShrink will be my main hashtag, but I imagine many others will surface in Tweets that address my interest in relationship and couples therapy, depression counseling, family therapy, etc.


I will share Tweets from folks I find interesting. I will re-tweet all manner of stuff that I think will stimulate, amuse and educate.

Keep Blogging

Blogging, even now during my third year of it, is a challenging writing experience. I’m not really a natural or quick writer. Every post you see was labored over quite a bit. I also re-visit posts, sometimes to add new links, to touch up language, or to update with new information on the subject. So, perhaps having a place like Twitter, where briefly written ideas flow, will work some motivational magic to help me blog more often.

Online Therapy Using VSee Instead of Skype

What Is VSee?

online therapy



For all online therapy appointments, I use VSee instead of Skype. VSee calls its product a “telemedicine platform”. Unlike Skype, Vsee has embraced the big Federal law known as HIPAA, which governs privacy for individual health information. It offers the legally required service contract to health care professionals, which my office has completed. That agreement is necessary to legally qualify my online video communications as being sufficiently compliant legally for secure online therapy.

For users like myself and my clients, VSee is visually about the same quality as Skype. It is apparently somewhat better encrypted (most security vulnerability is due to local internet access, e.g. wireless network protection, including firewalls.)

Guidelines For Use Of Online Therapy

I make selective use of online video with clients. Most often, I use it with clients who are moving or traveling away from Seattle and wish to continue our work. These are all clients who have been seen for a number of office appointments.

Couples therapy via video is quite unproven as far as any increase or decrease in effectiveness. No public research is available on this.

Preferred Uses

Increasingly, online streaming video is being used for psychotherapy. The research so far shows that this medium is effective for a limited number of psychotherapeutic goals.

I prefer to use it with counseling & therapy clients I have seen in the office. A two-dimensional screen diminishes my view of the client in significant ways. Even the best audio quality loses some important nuance. The containment and consistency of the office setting is lost.

In-Person Appointments

Having some in-person experience is vital to perceiving the video/audio accurately. To begin an intake with video would I believe require more appointments, in order to build a good clinical foundation including the client’s overall presentation (including gait, posture, etc.)

Registering With VSee

Registering as a user with VSee is free. It will download the app that streams the video to your computer. You can create ‘Contacts’ as easily as with Skype.