Stellar Blog

Which Open/Poly Certification Is Right For Me?

Which Open_Poly Certification Is Right For Me-434-png

Exploring the landscape of relationships has always been a central theme in the field of mental health. As society becomes increasingly diverse and open-minded, therapists are recognizing the importance of understanding and supporting individuals and couples who engage in consensual non-monogamy (CNM). To meet the unique needs of these clients, many mental health professionals are seeking specialized training and certifications in CNM. In this article, we will delve into the world of CNM certifications, discussing various programs and organizations that offer training to enhance therapists’ competence and cultural sensitivity in working with individuals practicing non-monogamous relationship dynamics. Whether you are a seasoned therapist looking to expand your expertise or a curious professional seeking to better serve your clients, this comprehensive guide will provide valuable insights into the available certifications in consensual non-monogamy.

Sexual Health Alliance – Consensual Non-Monogamy Certification

What is Sexual Health Alliance – Consensual Non-Monogamy Certification?

SHA (Sexual Health Alliance) offers a path to go from a poly-friendly provider to a certified CNM provider. Partnering with Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, SHA’s CNM program is a great way to educate yourself on a variety of CNM relationships including: monogamish, open relationships, swinging, and poly+. This certification program also offers live webinars with Q&A, case consultations, and monthly special topic recorded webinars. If you’re looking for a CNM program that is more than reading then SHA’s CNM certification might be the right choice for you.

What topics does the SHA – CNM certification program cover?

With 125 hours of AASECT CEs and CEUs there are a lot of topics covered in the SHA – CNM program. Some topics covered include:

– What is polyamory

– Why people want CNM

– Ways to structure relationships

– Negotiating boundaries

– Daily life including: time & money management

– Managing conflict

– Consent violations

– Defining co-spousal or polyaffective relationships

– Polyamory and pregnancy

– Polyamory and parenting

– Aging & retiring

– Legal issues

– End of poly relationships including breaking up, death & grieving

– Best practices for therapists supporting CNM relationships

Unfuck Your Polyamory – Professionals Course

What is the Unfuck Your Polyamory – Professionals Course?

If you’re a professional wanting to expand your practice to include CNM, then UYP’s (Unfuck Your Polyamory) course could be the best fit for you.

What topics does the UYP – Professionals Course program cover?

With 12 hours of instruction there is a lot to cover. Some topics that will be discussed are:

– Power imbalances, how to identify and ways they manifest

– Navigating jealousy

– Learning to listen and treat clients respectfully in regards to relationship style

The Affirmative Couch – Various CNM Certifications

The Affirmative Couch Certification Offerings

The Affirmative Couch (TAC) offers a wide variety of CNM certifications. We encourage you to check out their full list of offerings on their website. Some of these certifications on offer are:

– Mono-Poly Relationships in Therapy

– Psychodynamic Therapy & Polyamory

– Feminist Structural Family Therapy with Polyaamorous Clients

– Multiplicities of Desire: Working with the Intersection of Bisexuality and Polyamory

– Healing Power of Open Relationships

– Polyamorous Clients in Therapy: What You Didn’t Know You Needed to Know

TAC offers these certifications in a variety of formats. Some are homestudy while others are a recorded, edited video. The benefit to these non-live certifications is you can obtain them whenever. Unlike SHA and UYP which have specific start dates, many of TAC’s certifications are available 365 days a year.

If you are interested in live webinars, The Affirmative Couch has those too. Visit their website for a full list of their upcoming live events.

Why you should become certified in CNM

Regardless of which certification you choose, becoming certified in CNM is a great way to expand your knowledge and help more clients. Here are some other reasons to become CNM certified.

Meeting client needs

As society becomes more accepting and diverse in relationship structures, there is a growing demand for therapists who are knowledgeable and competent in working with clients who are practicing or exploring CNM. Becoming certified in CNM allows therapists to better meet the needs of these clients and offer them informed and affirming support.

Professional development

Therapists may be motivated to expand their expertise and gain specialized knowledge in various areas of therapy. By pursuing certification in CNM, therapists can enhance their professional development and broaden their skill set, which may attract a wider range of clients seeking assistance with non-monogamous relationship dynamics.

Culturally competent care

CNM encompasses a range of relationship styles, such as polyamory, open relationships, and swinging. These relationship structures often involve unique communication patterns, negotiation skills, and emotional considerations. By obtaining certification, therapists can increase their cultural competence and improve their ability to provide sensitive and effective care to individuals practicing CNM.

Ethical practice

Therapists are committed to providing ethical and non-judgmental care to their clients. Acquiring certification in CNM helps therapists understand the complexities, challenges, and benefits associated with non-monogamous relationships. This knowledge allows therapists to approach CNM with a foundation of understanding and work with clients in an ethical manner that respects their relationship choices.

Peer networking and collaboration

Pursuing certification in CNM can connect therapists with a community of like-minded professionals who are also passionate about working with individuals and couples in non-monogamous relationships. This networking opportunity can lead to collaboration, knowledge sharing, and ongoing professional support.


The realm of consensual non-monogamy presents mental health professionals with an opportunity to adapt and grow in response to evolving relationship dynamics. By pursuing certifications in CNM, therapists can enhance their knowledge, skills, and cultural competence, ultimately providing affirming and effective support to clients practicing non-monogamous relationships. As the field continues to evolve, it is vital for mental health professionals to embrace ongoing education and professional development, staying attuned to the needs of diverse individuals and couples. By becoming certified in CNM, therapists can contribute to creating a more inclusive and understanding therapeutic landscape, where all clients feel seen, validated, and empowered in their chosen relationship structures.

Share This: