Other Loves: Polyamory, Polygamy and Arranged Marriages

Most therapists will recognise that individual therapy skills are inappropriate to working with dual intimate systems, often referred to as “couples”. The role of the therapist is different, the client is the couple (rather than two individuals) and the skills are fundamentally different. Many therapists will find the step from individual to couples therapy daunting in itself.

However, our clients who identify as culturally different further challenge our way of thinking: they may identify as polyamorous and consider themselves as “multiple partnered”.  Some consider polygamy as the norm, whilst others may have met their partner through an arranged marriage.  Each of these require a different skills set. 

We recognise that few of us had the training, the supervision, the experience to work with more than two in the consulting room and yet we are meant to work within our competence. Our view of relationships as always based on romantic or sexual attraction might not serve all client populations.

This two-day Intensive is dedicated to exploring a wide range of relationship models taking into account culture, sexuality, gender rather than assuming that one size fits all.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the training participants will have

  • learnt to differentiate skill sets appropriate to working with two-person intimate systems, multiple intimate systems and “arranged marriages”
  • Enhanced therapeutic skills in working with multiple partner relationships 
  • Critically examined a wide range of relationships styles 
  • Learned how to adjust couples therapy skills when working with arranged marriages
  • Applied a developmental lens – Bader Pearson – to working with all forms of relationships
  • Appreciated the difference between individualist and collectivist cultures 

The workshop will lean into what we can learn from those cultures to expand our own understanding of conventual notions of coupledom.

This Training Intensive includes theoretical presentations, working in pairs and triads, case studies and live supervision. 

Dates: Sunday 28 and Bank Holiday Monday 29 August 

Tuesday & Wed 24 & 25 Jan 2023, if you want to join that group drop and email to sambaker.pa@gmail.com

Timing: 10am – 4pm (BST – UK time) 

Cost: £140 if booked by 28 June, £160 if booked by 28 July, £180 full price


CPD: A Certificate of Attendance form for Continuous Professional Development for 10 hours will be sent by email once you have filled in the feedback form.  

Where: The course is offered on-zoom only.  Participants need a high speed broadband connection as well as private space. 

Handouts: A course handbook including pre and post course reading is included in the fees

Tutor: Bernd Leygraf

Consultant Psychotherapist co-founded a number of organisations (London Men’s Forum, UK Standing Conference on Sexual Abuse of Men, the Centre for Personal and Professional Development, the Whittington Hospital Psychotherapy Clinic, the Hungarian Gestalt Association, NAOS Institute). He co-authored with Judi Keshet-Orr the first MSc in Humanistic Psychotherapy and the first Masters programme in Psychosexual & Relationship Therapy in the UK. He also authored or co-authored, as well as led, several masters programmes in the UK, primarily at South Bank University, Middlesex University, Westminster and the University of Surrey. He was external examiner to various universities in the UK.

A former Chair of the Professional Standards and Accreditation Board at the European Association for Counselling, and Ethics Committee of COSRT, Bernd works currently with trainees, from over 40 countries. He is familiar with and interested in working with issues of cultural difference.  His principal influences in sexological and couples work are David Schnarch, Joseph Zinker, Ellen Bader, Judith Hemming, Joan Lachkar, Judi Keshet-Orr and, as ever, his clients. 

Bernd is proud to have supported – alongside Judi – a significant number of sex and couples therapists in shaping their own professional identities and careers – both in the UK and further afield; some even have moved into offering specialist sex addiction clinics; others are now trainers in this field in their own right. 

Bernd is delighted to be (founder and) Honorary Member of the Hungarian Gestalt Association. Clinically speaking Bernd focuses on working with celebrity clients, and on men in leadership, both nationally and globally.

CANCELLATIONS: Any request to change (eg defer to alternative dates) or cancel your place at a workshop, that is made at less than 21 days before the course start date will be charged in full.  Any cancellation / amendments / requests to defer before 21 days, will be subject to a 12.5% handling charge.

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Organised through Sleeping Mountain Ltd