Connecting to Compersion: Helping clients understand, facilitate & promote positive emotions towards their metamours
With research on compersion (positive emotions about a partner’s relationship/other partner) rapidly growing in the last few years, new data about the nature of compersion has provided insight into this unique experience within consensually non-monogamous (CNM) relationships. This 2 hour training will offer an overview of several recently published studies on compersion and clinical implications for those who practice CNM and have partners with other partners (metamours). Key insights will include the challenges of defining/conceptualizing compersion based on a recent mixed-methods study by the author that resulted in the development of the recently published COMPERSe (Classifying Our Metamour Partner Response ScalE: Flicker et al. 2021), a self-report measure of compersion for research and clinical use.
Exploring the dimensions of compersion (Sexual Arousal, Happiness about Metamour/Partner Relationships; Excitement for New Connections) through measure, we’ll discuss strategies for recognizing, assessing and fostering compersion in session as well as emerging data on how compersion relates to personality, other emotions as well as relationship satisfaction. Lastly, integrating findings from the author’s in press scholarship, we’ll explore factors that facilitate and hinder compersion in CNM relationships, as well as expectations and pressure to experience compersion in CNM (particularly polyamorous) communities and relationships.
Following this presentation, participants will be able to:
• Identify the three dimensions of compersion
• Identify demographic differences in compersion
• Understand the relationship between compersion and jealousy
• Understand the relationship between compersion and relationship satisfaction
• Identify therapeutic skills that may foster/promote compersion
About the Presenter
Michelle D. Vaughan, Ph.D. (she/her) is pansexual polyamorous psychologist and an Associate Professor in the School of Professional Psychology at Wright State University. She trains health providers in sex, gender, and relationship-affirming practices and conducts strengths-based scholarship on LGBTQ+ and Consensual Non-Monogamy (CNM) in addition to serving on committees and organizations focused on CNM. She is the co-editor and co-author of The Handbook of CNM Affirming Mental Health Practice which will be published this summer by Rowman & Littlefield.