Rebecca Calhoun-Shepard, Psy.D, is a 2019 graduate of the PsyD Program in Clinical Psychology at Antioch University, Seattle.

Dissertation Committee

William Heusler, Psy.D., Committee Chair

Christopher Heffner, Psy.D., Ph.D., Committee Member

Ashley Strauss, Psy.D., Committee Member


polyamory, therapy, millennials, phenomenology, qualitative, poly, non-monogamy, interpretative phenomenological analysis

Document Type


Publication Date



Polyamory (poly) refers to a way of loving involving multiple concurrent romantic relationships. It has been suggested that consensual non-monogamies are becoming increasingly visible, particularly in the millennial generation. This warrants exploration of cultural considerations and the unique needs of this population to inform care and minimize potential for harm. The present study used interpretative analysis to explore the phenomenon of polyamorous millennials in therapy as described across semi-structured interviews with therapists and poly clients. Three primary themes emerged from aggregate data, including Idiographic Experiences in Therapy, Therapy with Polyamorous Millennials, and information about Polyamory and Millennials beyond a therapy context. These themes synthesized participants’ accounts of satisfying, desired, and unsatisfying experiences in therapy, as well as recommendations for and the qualities of a preferred therapist. Therapists who “get it” were delineated, and results additionally reflect learning practices, processes and interventions within therapy, ethical considerations, and information about consensual non-monogamy and the millennial generation in general. In addition to striving to accurately reflect the essence of participants’ experiences, results of this study intend to support providers towards empowering and well-serving this population in therapy. This dissertation is available in open access at AURA, and Ohio Link ETD Center,


Rebecca Calhoun-Shepard, Psy.D., 2019

ORCID Scholar ID # 0000-0003-1394-8100