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open relationship coach & therapist

Opening a Relationship?

Valerie McDonnell, sex therapist & ENM specialist

Here's a coaching package for couples new to ENM

The journey can be incredibly rewarding, bringing you closer than ever—but what's your plan for navigating the challenges, obstacles, and pitfalls?

Do it strategically, with trauma-informed sex therapist & non-monogamy specialist, Valerie McDonnell, LCSW

Facing desire discrepancy?
Struggling to communicate?
Battling jealousy & insecurity?
Need clear agreements?

We knew we wanted to try opening our relationship, but had no idea where to begin. Valerie helped us work through the problems, and communicate clearly together how we were going to move forward.

— MR

Richmond Institute of Sexual Empowerment

Rise logo no bkg
Virginia non-monogamy therapist Valerie McDonnell

Welcome to RISE!

I'm Valerie McDonnell, sex therapist and intimacy coach. I help individuals and partners communicate, understand, and explore their sexuality and intimacy needs.

As a LCSW licensed in Virginia, I help people work through trauma, attachment, performance anxiety, and other issues that affect human sexuality.

As a relationship coach specializing in consensual non-monogamy, I help people manage the difficulties and learn about the possibilities, ethics, and challenges unique to the lifestyle.

You're not alone here

A bit of self disclosure—I know from personal experience how challenging it can be to bring up the idea of opening a relationship, or to sync two people's very different needs, insecurities, and perspectives on non-monogamy.

It's hard!

On top of that, there's all the cultural expectations and "norms" which are so deeply ingrained in us from birth, they can be difficult to recognize in ourselves.


  • Understand more about ENM & polyam concepts

  • Learn how to initiate tough conversations

  • Plan your journey & build agreements together

  • Talk comfortably about intimacy

  • Address avoidance & anxiety

  • Manage jealousy & discover compersion

  • Communicate your needs & boundaries

  • Stay connected as you venture out

You can do it... Coaching can help

Opening Relationship/non-monogamy coaching worksheets

"Valerie helped us out of a bad rut after months of trying (and failing) to open up on our own. Her knowledge and exercises opened our eyes to what we were missing in our communication... and we've definitely grown closer since."


Don't wait til problems arise. Start your journey together on the same page

Coaching is about strategy...having a plan

After your free 30-min consultation, if we decide to work together, we'll start with a couple's session to share perspectives and get up to speed on where you're at as partners.

Then you'll each have an individual session with me, to go deeper into what you're hoping for and worried about in non-monogamy.

I'll give you worksheets & assignments to continue on your own together, interspersed with two more couple's sessions to address anything that has come up.

Then you'll each have another individual session where we'll discuss your growth and anything you're working on internally.

After a total of 6-12 weeks we'll have your final couple's session to strategize what's next.

Four 60-min couple sessions ($640 value)

Four 60-min individual sessions ($560 value)

Worksheets & guided exercises ($250 value)

50% off Open Connection group ($150 value)


Poly symbol, non-monogamy coach in Richmond
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