Craig Young believes we are starting to see the legislative and judicial inclusion of people in non-monogamous relationships in New Zealand.
Content warning: This article describes references to sexual assault.
The Health and Disability Commission has just named a counsellor involved in an unsatisfactory and disrespectful attitude toward a woman in a polyamorous relationship who was receiving counselling support for past sexual assault.
This signals the further evolution of changing social attitudes toward the eventual legislative, judicial and professional inclusion of people in non-monogamous relationships as legitimate public participants. However, it’s also an initial step in a gradual process.
The Commission is to be commended for its disciplinary action toward the named counsellor. Without going into too much detail about the case, which is 20hdc01793 for those who want further elaboration and detail described inside it, this happened:
In 2020, a Mrs A, her husband and her female partner began attending counselling sessions with the named counsellor, separately. The counsellor seemed to adopt a judgemental attitude toward Mrs A, indicating that he regarded her as ‘manipulating’ her husband and female partner, and had violated professional confidentiality norms in her context insofar as informing her partners went. The triad then appealed to the Commission and the Commission subsequently made attempts to contact the counsellor. These were unsuccessful, although the complaint was finally heard and adjudicated. The counsellor consequently failed to implement the Commission’s recommendations and has just been named.
Polyamorists are often engaged in polyfidelity, meaning that although they are not engaged in monogamous fidelity, it does occur in a polyamorous relationship between three or more participants and with no one outside that relationship. Frankly, they should not face reprehensible and unprofessional conduct from counsellors like the above, particularly in the context of grave concerns like recovery from the trauma of past sexual assault.
Given that polyamory is particularly prominent within the bisexual community, this will no doubt raise concerns and debate within those quarters. One awaits subsequent reactions from them with interest.
Article | Craig Young.