“I think as therapists, there is no such thing as true neutrality, right?…The importance is knowing and owning your bias so that we can prevent it from doing harm.” ~Jessica Fern
Polyamory. Well, now that I have your attention…let’s get into it, shall we? Ohhh, y’all, this episode is meaty with material courtesy of the brilliant Jessica Fern, psychotherapist, coach, public speaker, relationship expert, and author. Her new book Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy* explores healthy attachments through a refreshingly non-traditional lens.
But hold up, monogamy-minded folks! You’ll want to pay close attention as insecure attachment styles can sabotage any relationship; we either feel safe and secure within them, within ourselves, or we don’t.
We can, however, foster securely functioning relationships – no matter the number of participants. “Our childhood experiences with attachment create the blueprint for our adult experiences in romantic partnerships,” Jessica says. When multiple partners are involved, someone might exhibit a different attachment style with each individual making non-traditional relationships a bit more complex than monogamous ones.
So why even bother? Divorce rates may hint at what we intellectually already know: one person cannot meet all of our attachment needs. Nor should they be required to. When monogamy feels too limiting, multiple partners can fulfill various needs and desires. It takes a village, amiright?!
In all seriousness, the African proverb provides entry into the world of non-traditional relationships. These once-secretive expressions of love have become more mainstream as people seek alternatives to strict, patriarchal codes of conduct. In that way, too, a growing number of therapists like Jessica, herself polyamorous, are welcoming polyamory into their practice. They help clients navigate complex issues of jealousy and conflict unique to multiple-partner relationships. Still, too many therapists disregard the validity of nonmonogamy, incorrectly citing it as a byproduct of childhood misattunement rather than a healthy way of being. Jessica points out that “people who are nonmonogamous are not doing nonmonogamy because they’re insecurely attached.” Instead, they’re committed to working at their relationships often with a therapist, a practice that many monogamous couples could learn from.
There’s plenty more to my conversation with Jessica including definitions! acronyms! NARM talk! Awesome links! and everyone’s favorite healer questions! Give this one a listen no matter your preferred relationship style.
Jessica Fern is a psychotherapist, public speaker and trauma and relationship expert. In her international private practice, Jessica works with individuals, couples and people in multiple-partner relationships who no longer want to be limited by their reactive patterns, cultural conditioning, insecure attachment styles and past traumas, helping them to embody new possibilities in life and love. Jessica is the author of the book Polysecure: Attachment Trauma and NonMonogmamy and you can learn more about Jessica and her work at JessicaFern.com.
*Affiliate link: Thank you for supporting Bookshop.org! 10% of your purchase supports Conversations With a Wounded Healer and 10% supports independent bookstores across the US.
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MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE
Sex At Dawn: How We Mate, Why We Stray, And What It Means – by Christopher Ryan & Cacilda Jetha
Transforming Trauma – Episode 21 featuring Richard Schwartz & Laurence Heller
KPACT – Kink & Poly Aware Chicago Therapists
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