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Polyam Relationship Escalator — 1st Annual Chicago Non-Monogamy Conference

by Elizabeth Duke, PsyD

I had such a blast attending the first ever Chicago Non-Monogamy Conference! The day was a whirl of shared wisdom, friendly faces, and excited energy.

Josephine Kearns, co-founder of Chicago Polyam Cocktails, and I had the honor of sharing a model we created to help people construct the non-monogamy version of a relationship escalator. We dubbed this agentic (vs. reactive) and ever-shifting version, The Moving Staircase, a reference to the magical moving staircases in Hogwarts.

Borrowing the idea of ontological givens  (or conditions of being human) from the Existential tradition, we discussed how people can achieve the fullness of who they want to be by:

  1.  examining eight conditions of being human (bodyhood, time, space, finitude, history, attunement, choice, and co-exsistence)
  2. and creating unique relationship milestones for each condition.

The participants came up with a diverse list of concrete ways that non-monogamous people can create steps on their own staircase within each condition. The ideas and suggestions were creative, fun and powerful.

I felt so lucky to be a part of this trailblazing conference!

About Elizabeth Duke

Elizabeth Duke, Psy.D, is the former Clinical Director at LifeWorks Psychotherapy. She trained as an Equine Assisted Psychotherapist and also has had a therapy dog. Clients who are experiencing depression, loss, or long standing difficulties in relationships sometimes find a therapy animal can offer a unique channel of healing that may not require words. Elizabeth is a member of the American Psychological Association; Division 32, Society for Humanistic Psychology; Division 44, Society for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Issues; and Kink & Poly Aware Chicago Therapists (KPACT).

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