Committee Reports

Consensual Non-monogamy (CNM) Task Force

The CNM Task Force is a diverse team of over 80 researchers, clinicians and educators who are working on a range of initiatives that mirror the values of Div. 44.
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By Chrissy Holman, MS, Amy Moors, PhD, and Heath Schechinger, PhD

In 2020, the goals of the APA Division 44 Consensual Non-monogamy (CNM) Task Force are to generate research, create empirically informed clinical resources and promote awareness of CNM-issues to our field and the public. Approximately one in five people in the U.S. have engaged in CNM at some point during their life, with higher rates of engagement among lesbian, gay and bisexual people (Haupert, Moors, Gesselman, Fisher, & Garcia, 2017). Given the overlap in CNM and LGBTQIA+ stigma, such as concerns regarding adoption, child custody and disclosure, we are proudly a part of Div. 44. The CNM Task Force is a diverse team of over 80 researchers, clinicians, and educators who are working on a range of initiatives that mirror the values of Div. 44.

Here are a few highlighted CNM Task Force accomplishments from the past year:

  • Lisa Dawn Hamilton, PhD; Ashley Thompson, PhD; and Carm De Santis, MSc, created a special issue dedicated to CNM research and practice in Archives of Sexual Behavior. With recruitment support from our Communications Team, 67 proposals were received, and final papers were received in October 2019.
  • Amy Moors, PhD; and Heath Schechinger, PhD, created an initial draft of a new guideline addressing diverse relationships among sexual minority individuals for the updated APA Guidelines for Psychological Practice with LBG Clients.
  • Rachel Anne Kieran, PsyD; and Jen Rafacz, PhD, collected data with their team for a paper addressing best practices for inquiring about relationships style on demographic forms. Heath Schechinger, PhD, collected data and compiled best practices to create sample language for assessing relationship style on demographic forms.
  • Sharon Flicker, PhD, has organized symposia and presentations regarding consensual non-monogamy at local, national and international conferences with several CNM Task Force members and beyond.
  • Heath Schechinger, PhD, Amy Moors, PhD; Bree Zimmerman, MA; Deanna Richardson, MA; and Richard Sprott, PhD, successfully requested that CNM and kink-affirming terms be added to the APA Psychologist Locator , Psychology Today and GLMA provider directories.
  • Michelle Vaughan, PhD; Daniel Cardoso, PhD’ and Brian Watson, MA, created a Zotero database and catalogued more than 500 journal articles, chapters and artifacts related to consensual non-monogamy.
  • Chrissy Holman, MS, has organized several initiatives to inform the public about research projects related to consensual non-monogamy and the CNM Task Force.
  • Apryl Alexander, PsyD, and Lisa Dawn Hamilton, PhD, are leading efforts to develop an accessible hub for classroom educational resources (e.g., powerpoint presentations, lessons plans) for psychology college educators and to contact publishers about including CNM in their textbooks.
  • Amy Moors, PhD, and Heath Schechinger, PhD, are developing a fact sheet for researchers and clinicians on consensual non-monogamy, including recommendations for research and clinical practice.
  • Michelle Vaughan, PhD; Heath Schechinger, PhD; Amy Moors, PhD; and Susan Wright, MA, led efforts to create drafts of empirically-supported informational brochures for medical and mental health professionals.
  • Five other collaborative research projects on CNM have been approved by the IRBs of CNM Task Force members and are in various stages of development by project leads: Roberto Abreu, PhD; Christopher Stults, PhD; Leonore Tjia, MA; Ashley Thompson, PhD; Eli Sheff, PhD; Kimberly Rhoten, JD; Amy Moors, PhD; and Heath Schechinger, PhD.

It has been an honor to advance the mission and values of Div. 44 through our efforts with the CNM Task Force. The significance of having representation within Div. 44 cannot be understated. We hear regularly from members of the CNM community expressing excitement, relief and offers to volunteer their time. We also hear from many who have decided to disclose or discuss their relationship status more openly to friends, family or co-workers, pointing to the CNM Task Force as an indicator of legitimacy for their relationship structure. We appreciate the unwavering support we have received from Div. 44 leadership over the past two years and look forward to continuing our efforts in the years to come.

Reference

Haupert, M. L., Moors, A. C., Gesselman, A. N., & Garcia, J. R. (2017). Estimates and correlates of engagement in consensually non-monogamous relationships. Current Sexual Health Reports, 9(3), 155–165.