Intimacy Matters

Cate Mackenzie - Bridging, Flirting and being an Octopus

March 28, 2021 Jason Season 1 Episode 2
Intimacy Matters
Cate Mackenzie - Bridging, Flirting and being an Octopus
Chapters
Intimacy Matters
Cate Mackenzie - Bridging, Flirting and being an Octopus
Mar 28, 2021 Season 1 Episode 2
Jason

We chat to sex and relationship therapist Cate Mackenzie about being in lockdown with your partner, the importance of flirting and the difference between Turtles and Octopuses.   Cate introduces us to the practice of Bridging as away of enhancing communication, and the importance of 'going slow'.  We also find out how it was to do couples therapy 'live' on air with Denise Van Outen and fiancé Eddie!

Cate's website is here: www.catemackenzie.com

And you can find us at www.wanting-more.com

Show Notes Transcript

We chat to sex and relationship therapist Cate Mackenzie about being in lockdown with your partner, the importance of flirting and the difference between Turtles and Octopuses.   Cate introduces us to the practice of Bridging as away of enhancing communication, and the importance of 'going slow'.  We also find out how it was to do couples therapy 'live' on air with Denise Van Outen and fiancé Eddie!

Cate's website is here: www.catemackenzie.com

And you can find us at www.wanting-more.com

Nicola Foster:

Welcome to intimacy matters. I'm Nicola Foster. I'm a sex and relationship therapist and a self confessed intimacy geek. I work with couples around the challenges of keeping passion alive, and how to deepen intimacy.

Jason Porthouse:

And I'm Jason Porthouse. Nicola's partner. I'm also fascinated by what makes for fulfilling, nourishing and sexually alive relationships.

Nicola Foster:

So whether you're in one or you want one, join us as we learn from the best experts in the field, and find out how we can have healthier, happier, sexier relationships. Guess what is coming in the post this week, I hope? I'm waiting every day for the knock at the door to tell me that the postman's here

Jason Porthouse:

I'm gonna take a wild stab that it might be a book. Yeah, I think it might be a book.

Nicola Foster:

You saying that I order lots of books

Jason Porthouse:

I can't possibly comment. But our delivery drivers know us on first name terms. What book's coming?

Nicola Foster:

You're quite right. A brand new long awaited book, The Art of Giving and Receiving by Dr. Betty Martin.

Jason Porthouse:

Okay, so I know that Dr. Betty Martin is a bit of a heroine of yours and that you love her work, don't you?

Nicola Foster:

I am an absolute fan of, of Betty's contribution to this field. She has been offering workshops and working with individuals and couples for many years around giving and receiving like a book says the art of giving and receiving her main body of work many listeners may know it many may not is the wheel of consent, which is about so much more than consent. It really is about I mean, once you get into it can be about the whole way you live your life. Yeah,

Jason Porthouse:

yeah.

Nicola Foster:

Well, you know it we Yeah, we did a workshop.

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah. It was it was transformative. Really. It's pretty powerful stuff. So I'm looking forward to possibly sneaking a look when you're not buried in it

Nicola Foster:

I might even let you read it before me. Well, I do have a bit of a queue stacked up on my bedside table. No, I'm I am really looking forward to reading it. And I'm rather hoping that if we ask Betty, she might be willing t... if we make a clear request, clear request she feels into whether she's got a yes or no for it, maybe she'll give us a yes to come in on this podcast and talking about the book.

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah, that'd be fantastic. Let's hope she consents to do just that. See what I did there?

Nicola Foster:

So in this episode of intimacy matters, we've invited Cate Mackenzie Davey, who is a relationship therapist, a couple's counsellor, and a psychosexual therapist, to join us. Kate's been on some podcasts recently, and works in the UK. And I met Kate Kate a few years ago. And our careers have been tracking sort of alongside each other. So really wanted to get her onto the show and ask us some questions about her work with couples and some of the areas that she's passionate about.

Jason Porthouse:

So how have things been Kate, how have how how's lockdown being for you as we are approaching the end of it?

Cate Mackenzie:

Well, I know it's been dreadful for lots of people. And there's been lots of domestic violence and a lot of suicides. I don't want to diminish any any of the difficulties up and illness, all kinds of things for lots of people. So I don't want to you know, I always feel a bit careful to sit to say, you know, certain things I know, it's been really hard. And I know, I've got friends who are home educating their children, and their therapists and their husband maybe lost a job or I know it's not been easy, but for me, I have to say, it's simplified my life. Yeah, it's simplified my life and I'm so I'm very grateful for I live somewhere quite quiet. And yeah, it's my husband's working home. I'm working at home. And so we've had more time together. So it's created this simplicity. And yeah, so in a way, you know, what, what matters and what do I want to do in space, going for a walk every day, this type of thing? You know, it's created that for me, so yeah, but I don't want to take away from anyone who's lost their business or suffered because I know that there's there's been many things hasn't there and this lockdown, so yeah... For me. It's, and maybe I'm lucky because I do

Nicola Foster:

I mean, you mentioned that you've, you know, you've been able to spend some time with your husband and I know couples who've had to work in the same room, I do. Couples know that a lot of the couples I've been working with it, especially at the beginning of it, it was actually quite good for their relationship, they found that they were able to resolve some of their difficulties as they leaned in to get the support in the kind of worry and concern realising that they had someone at home who had their backs was very supportive. But I'm noticing now that there's that kind of mer ing happening, you know, wit the with all the closeness I t ink for some couples now whe we're kind of a year in, th t that kind of becoming very fa ilial, very cosy, very like, li have had to allocate one corner of the room is one person's e housemates, and seeing each ot er all the time, might be ge ting in the way of kind of in imacy and desire. I wonder wh t, what your thoughts are ab ut, you know, keeping in imacy alive in a relationship th t's ve workstation and another, or I know couples, and that they're having to swap round with the kitchen in the bedroom for work. And they literally have to keep moving depending who needs what, which is a big thing to manage, isn't it? And then like you said, How do you keep intimate and how do you keep separate because we need a bit of separation to be intimate. I mean, I recommend people dress up and have dates. So you know, there's marvellous, I'm a comedy fan, and there's marvellous 'Live At The COVID Arms', and Always About Comedy. I watch this guy called Ron Bennington, quite a lot to interviews, comics in America. They're free. They're free interview shows brilliant. And it's so I yeah, I recommend people make dates. And even if it was to do you know, a kind of trick traditional massage night with feast of delights night Even if you just did a 10 minutes each make a date. Make a date dress up because you know, we all, many f us can get a bit casual with ith with the letting go. But ake a date dress up. That that s really good fun. And it's ery simple. But just but once ou get the hang of doing it gain. Yeah, I've been I've spoken to some couples who you know, they're really missing some of the things that they used to do. And I've encouraged them to find out if that thing has turned into online. I know we've been to a couple of music gigs have away and really enjoyed ourselves. And here we've been to a couple of zoom parties where Yeah, we do dress up and put your silly hats and makeup on and it does feel like this, yeah, you're enjoying the kind of flirty fun sides of each other that you're not seeing when you're just working like you say across the room. Yeah, that's great.

Cate Mackenzie:

That's exactly it. Yeah. And dancing, dance on zoom. And a bit like probably any sex therapist would would talk about how are you... what's your pleasure practice what's your daily pleasure practices for each of you on your own as well that that brings those pleasure hormones in? Because if you're feeling you know, we've been walking a dog recently someone else's dog so much fun! Yeah. So much fun, and doing other things that are just a lot of fun and that enlivens things you know things it doesn't have to be just about you two connecting it can be you two doing stuff that's that's fun together you know so even going to Asda I have to say because I wasn't going to Asda, we had our food delivered but I went to that was going into a festival It was such an It was such an exotic experience seeing... I hadn't gone clothes shopping for a long time and to see clothes and I bought pink pyjamas I bought a pink fluffy blanket, you know and a pink and a pink woolly sheep. We just started to make, started to bring all these pleasure things. more pleasure things. Both of us have salt baths every night was rose oil. So just kind of like an I got more pyjamas for him more pyjamas for me, so that we're enjoying all the different stages in the day, you know, we're enjoying the pyjama bit we're enjoying the working bit and enjoy the different dressing up bit if that makes sense.

Nicola Foster:

It totally does. Yeah.

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah, no, it's that sort of introducing well it's a combination I think isn't it of introducing variety but also mindfulness about you take the ground Yeah, so you know finding intimacy in everyday moments. Yeah. But I totally with you on going to the supermarket in six weeks into the first lockdown, and you were like, 'Take me to Waitrose. Now. I need to go to Waitrose'. And we kind of ventured out on this sort of quest to go to the next town,

Nicola Foster:

Im not looking at food, I just going to look in the bubble bath section. That's all I want, to buy something frivolous and fun. Yeah.

Cate Mackenzie:

But I think that's the thing is that. And I understand it, I absolutely understand it that sometimes there's the assumption that we have to get that pleasure worked up, either from our partner or from something else. And we can we can grow it in ourselves and feel quite excited. Or I might meet people and they're going but I'm not going to any galleries. I'm not going to anything interesting. And how do I get that excitement? And you can, you can in very simple ways, although I did hear a lovely tip, which is a woman I know. And her boyfriend went on a three day trip around the world. They went to Tokyo, Iceland, and Costa Rica. And what they did was they dressed up each, they were living in Brighton, but they dressed up and ate the food of those countries each day, and then did a YouTube travel around each country and did a dance class of each country each day. And she said even though they didn't leave Brighton, they felt like they travelled.

Nicola Foster:

That's terrific. That's such a good idea. And I might put a link in the show notes to the cookery book that I have. From the radio 6 DJ Cerys Matthews. She's got this amazing cookbook, that has

Jason Porthouse:

It's recipes from around the world. And a playlist.

Nicola Foster:

It's got a playlist, yeah, playlist on Spotify. So there are so you pick a country. And it's got a few recipes, and they're quite simple. But then while you're cooking, you can play the playlist. It's fantastic. We've done Scotland and

Jason Porthouse:

Did we do Ireland?. Can't remember.

Nicola Foster:

Yeah, I think we did Mexico. Really good. So that's, that's a really good idea. So we talk about all the fun stuff. One of the things I was thinking about asking, because it's such a common thing that comes up, I'm sure you hear it too in the therapy room about like housework and domestic domestic chores. Any any tips for people with that as an issue in their, in their different, you know, in their partnership?

Jason Porthouse:

Lets be honest about this. This is tips for us, isn't it? This isn't for the listeners, this is just purely for us...

Nicola Foster:

I can't possibly comment.

Cate Mackenzie:

That's brilliant. Do you know what's funny, every couple is different. And every couple has different configurations or pairs or even thruples, you know, there's different configuration, but everybody has different ways of managing different things. And I think partly, it's, it's working out what it is for you. So for example, you know, in my own relationship, I used to feel like I was doing the bulk of things. And now that's not the case. And what what happened was it it was I'm probably, you know, I'm a pursuing type, I'm a doing type. I'm a do-er. And what happened was, what shift shifted it completely, was just giving my husband for example, the space, so he puts his headphones on. And he does the kitchen every every night. And he does other jobs, too. And he just said, he can make it a fun thing. He can put his headphones on listen to a podcast or music. And it's his thing. And I'm not interfering, saying no like that. No like that. No, like, there's that. But that, that that was a real learning curve for me that if that he needed to feel his freedom and his space out how he did it. And so I can say I can make a request, not a demand, but I can make a request. And that was the other thing, you know, I could be demanding and I could be critical. And that didn't work. But if it is like his ownership, you know, he did that he cleaned that kitchen. He did you know, he put the clothes out? I don't know if this is making any sense.

Nicola Foster:

It totally is. Yeah, yeah, absolutely. And requests not demands is certainly something that I talk about with couples all the time. It's so important, such an important simple distinction, isn't it? That you can make request and then I'll often, we often do it don't we all say you know, is that something you want to do? Because if it's not, then we can shift it change it. But it has to be...

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah, it's about finding that sweet spot isn't it, between what you can offer with an open heart.

Cate Mackenzie:

That's it. And also, which may take a bit of time working out the how. So finding out he could make it fun if it was just, you know, me helping him do it doesn't necessarily make it as much fun as just him with his music doing it himself, he's got his time and his space to himself. So it's like there's a how isn't there? There's a bit like sex. Isn't it a bit like sensuality. There's a how to how you can get both people into a good place to try things out.

Jason Porthouse:

Yes. Probably best not to do that with your headphones on listening to music, but it might work for some!

Nicola Foster:

May be!. Yeah, well, I mean, certainly music I think it's really good. You know, we're joking about it, but actually, yeah, creating conditions where you can feel relaxed feel safe feel like it's like sometimes, like Goldilocks, isn't it? Like, just so - you know, I want the lighting just like this, I want the temperatures just like this I want...?

Cate Mackenzie:

Exactly. I mean, it's amazing. Because, you know, some people love housework. So it's, that's fine. And that may not be a problem in some relationships. But But how do you make it fun? For someone who that may not seem like a joy. And so how do we make these things fun, fun. rapport, like Jason said the sweet spot, Heart to Heart communication? How do we make these things fun? And I think this is why I love I'm quite passionate about flirting and EFT they call it the risk voice, the soft voice polyvagal theory they talk about lowering your tone, body language, tone and pace. All this how do we invite each other into exploring whats for you and consent being a continuum, not just black or white? Yes, you've agreed it. So you do the washing up forever. No. Like you said, how's that for you? Does that feel okay?,

Jason Porthouse:

And I suppose really, it's like anything is just learning new technique, isn't it?

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah. And also people give up asking as well. So in Rosen method, which is something I've trained in, it's a bodywork therapy, we call arms reaching muscles. And people, understandably, can stop reaching. So that's when couples can get out of balance, when one does all the housework or, and the other one does something else or feels left out or doesn't know how to join in. They stop asking. Yes.

Jason Porthouse:

And I guess that's a recipe for resentment, further on down the line.

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah. Yeah.

Nicola Foster:

You mentioned flirting, Cate, and I know you run flirting workshops. What is it why flirting is sort of an important part of what you offer?

Cate Mackenzie:

So I think it's a bit like, it's a bit of what you were talking about, with the sweetness and the request not demand, invitation not expectation. So I work have worked and do work a lot with, for example, individuals who may never have had a relationship or may not have had a relationship for 20 years or may not feel very experienced. And so there's a pullback. So with those kinds of people, I want to encourage them to, to dare to get light to get fun to have fun without expectation if they can, to just enjoy connecting. And for those that might be more of a pursuer type, more octopus-y type, and they are they're always out there, but they're finding that people are turning away from them. I want to help them to get lighter. So either way, if you're a bit of a turtle, and you're back, I want to encourage you to come forward. And if you're a bit of an octopus, and pursuer, how do you lighten it up? Because when we look at a puppy dog that's happy or a little child that's happy, they naturally flirt and expect in a nice way, people to connect back they just go they bounce up. And human beings we have that same propensity, but we can get afraid and shut down and parts of us can freeze off and not... or, parts of us get so anxious, we leap at people. Yeah. And so it's how do we get to that? That lightness again, that we can do it lightly and sweetly and, you know, be really charming, or I find you so attractive. I'm shivering all over, you know, how do you encourage people to do that?

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah, yeah. And I imagine that without intervention, both of those states, like if you're an octopus or a turtle, they they sort of get worse. If you're not successful in your strategy

Cate Mackenzie:

You've nailed it. you've nailed it. It's it's because it doesn't make sense. Like if you're an octopus, a pursuer, you're like, 'I'm trying. I'm trying. I'm trying'. And it doesn't make sense, the same in relationships, isn't it? Which is why flirting is very important. People forget to say the niceties they go. I said to him, 'tell me what you feel'. I said, 'I could say what I feel. Tell me what you feel'. And I might say, 'how safe do you think he felt when you're demanding?' And so it can take quite a bit to know what each of us need, because we do need it differently. Many of us have got different parts, and we need it expressed in different ways. But yeah, when you've got a certain setting, it's not always easy to understand other people's settings. And so yeah, how do you help everybody? loosen up, lighten up, connect again, have fun, how do you help people have fun?

Nicola Foster:

Oh, now I've got two questions. I want to ask you at once - I might just hog the mic for a bit and ask them both one after another. So I wanted to ask you, you mentioned the turtle and the octopus. So can you talk a little bit more about about those, you know, for listeners who are not familiar that with that? Yes,

Cate Mackenzie:

absolutely. So this comes from Harville Hendrixs, and although he uses think turtle and the ainstorm, turtle and the rainstorm, I like the turtle and the octopus, which other people do too, because it's two creatures, so it kind of relates And in EFT would be the pursue and the withdraw. And in IFS, we all can have these parts. We

Jason Porthouse:

And I loved because you've done a podcast can all have different parts of us that might pursue in some ways a distance in other ways reeze in other ways, but the dea is sometimes in couples hey polarise. So even if you re a pursuer and another ouple, if your partner is more f a pursuer, you'll become more f the turtle. It's the kind of olarisation where one person eaches out more high desire, erhaps overdoer, pioneering, and you have another one who needs their space more, we all need our space, and we all need our creative pursuits. But sometimes it polarises in couples. And so with a turtle, it would be how do you help that withdrawer to feel safe to open up so sometimes, people who've come from a more withdrawn background, it might feel quite dangerous possibly to open up to emotions. And so in a turtle world, you would just do activities. You know, just go for golf, or watching comedy or playing or listening to music. But in a pursuer world, they feel quite desperate without some meaningful communication. And so how do you, if couple have got polarised, how do yo help the withdraw, reengage an feel safe? How do you creat that safety? And how do you hel the pursuer, who may have bee trying for so long, the octopu trying so long, doing so much to try and get this relationship on track... how do you help them soften? So it's how do you help them? And of course with IFS, Internal Family Systems, w all have different part and different parts ca get triggered in couples. And h w do you help them understand the parts got triggered when the 're being demanding, or the 're withdrawing? How do you get hem to understand and know a out those parts? Y recently with Denise van out and then her husband to be Eddie. And I loved what you said to them about the that the in understanding the other you can help to heal. Can you talk a bit more about that?

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah, that is the most extraordinary thing that you were, you know, we're drawn to this other being who initially there might seem like there's a lot of similarity actually, when people often meet, it often seems like there's an incredible similarity. And then you realise over time, you're in really very different. But the differences and then the differences can become incredibly annoying, and very, very difficult. But as Schnarch said, you know, committed relationships are people growing machines. And you know, when you come from an octopuses world, a pursuers world - me, for example, who is someone who gets very engaged in a little bit overdoing having someone who, in my life, my husband is more of a turtle more of a withdrawer, it's very important for him to have downtime, pootle time, watching comedies, we've been enjoying walking dogs having walks, listening to music, he's constantly bringing in podcasts and interesting things or books or ideas. You know, I might be going, huh? Well, that could that could be, that could be an idea of something. For him this is we just have to, it's important that we just have, if I immediately go 'oh that, that could be an article that could be that could be a', you know, that's not the point. The point is, we're pootling together, and what a genius, how genius is the design of life, that, you know, my husband qualified to be a counsellor and his is building a website for himself, and gently he'll build that website to be a counsellor. So in some ways, there was ways I've encouraged him and he's encouraged me, he encouraged me to slow down, I've encouraged him to go, go go for things, you know.

Jason Porthouse:

I totally recognise that because we are very much like that, you're very much a do-er. And I could pootle for England, like I'm in an Olympic level pootler. Whereas you on the other hand... So yeah, it's been really interesting in our dynamic to recognise those two sort of sides.

Nicola Foster:

And it's it's beautiful like you say that, we come together in relationship to grow to heal to discover new things about ourselves, and I'm, I am learning how to be more slow I hope through

Jason Porthouse:

And I'm learning how to do more, rather than be catatonic.

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah, it is an alchemy, isn't it? I mean, initially it shocked me because he kept when we first moved in together, he kept saying, 'Can we watch your film while I rub your feet?' Now, in my world at that point, I thought 'I can watch half an hour film, not sure about the rubbing of the feet,' because there was so much to do, sort the place out and sort everything out, and I do this thing called Bridging which is from Harville Hendrix listening to each other and in a bridge one day, he said, 'I've been asking for a long time Can we watch a whole film while I rub your feet?' And I thought he was being nice. You know, like people are nice. Like they're like they're just saying it so I thought he wants to rub I didn't want to rub his feet you know, I didn't mind rubbing his shoulders, but I didn't dream of having his feet on my lap and rubbing them and watching a film at that point. So I thought he was just being nice and I had to learn that that's not in his vocabulary. He doesn't have that, I have that. I have the 'I should be nice'. He doesn't have that he really meant it, and so that's that's part of our life. That's part of our life regularly. he rubs my feet and and he regularly encourages me to pootle, runs me baths a lot of gets me to relax and he likes that - and it's so opposite to the way I've been and I've been amazed each time if you see what he teaches me to pootle I'm getting him more active. Yeah, yeah.

Jason Porthouse:

And of course if you if you hadn't had the understanding, and just gone on thinking Oh, he's just being nice and kind of ignoring it and rebuffing the kind of the attempts to kind of do it then again, that's sort of a crack where distance can start.

Cate Mackenzie:

Well, such a good point, because if you look at the, the actual animals, the turtle, which who lives for 100 years in the octopus lives for a year but it's very busy and does a huge amount and apparently has three hearts and is very, you know, tender and and get you probably watch that movie... but the turtle if it gets a turtle lives forever, but if the turtle gets a crack in its shell... that's it. So if you hurt the turtle too much, that's it, it can't survive. So this is the thing, which is why in a way, there's a beautiful art to couple counselling because the two worlds seem so different. Who would who would get it right? And so the, the octopus doesn't realise how they're coming across so critically, so blaming, so sharp, you know, and when they tell the turtle what they don't realise how tender the turtle is. Yeah. takes a long time to realise.

Jason Porthouse:

And that communication, I guess is where Bridging comes in, you mentioned it earlier on, and we did one of your Bridging workshops. And yes, it was pretty amazing, but for people who haven't ever heard of it before, can you give us a quick?

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah, lovely. So the thing, which I really loved about Bridging is that, like any ritual, you know, like setting the table for eating a meal, dressing up and watching the comedy on zoom, but you can still make it feel like you're going on a night out, Bridging, you are creating a setup, you are creating a ritual. The script in a way is the therapist or the object. And I've got scripts on my website, people so people can use them. But this is where one person listens to the other on a theme, or it might not be a theme it might be you explore what it is, but you get yourself relaxed, ideally, before you do it, so that you're ready to do it. And it's not a chat, it's not both ways, it's a deepening. And it's a very special experience one person deeply listening to the other. And the more you build those experiences, having a clear, clean conversation - if both of you feel like, if both of you are ready to do that, if you're in if you're 'available, responsive and engaged' in Sue Johnson's words. It's very, very special. Now it's not easy. It's very, very simple. It's not easy. Sometimes it's a bit easier to come on a course or to be led initially. But having said that, I've been leading them with Paul, we've been leading groups, and people are getting it people are getting it about creating that space and time and using a bridge - different bridges. So yeah, they're getting it

Nicola Foster:

Makes me think I'd like to come and do another one. I remember feeling really heard by you when we did one before.

Cate Mackenzie:

That would be lovely.

Jason Porthouse:

But it is that interesting thing of slowing down and listening.

Cate Mackenzie:

That's it, that's it.

Jason Porthouse:

that so often we don't do because we're either sort of defensive, or we're thinking about our answer to, you know, whereas actually just stopping and listening...

Cate Mackenzie:

It's so profound because you find out so many different things that we wouldn't know if we didn't have that space and chance. And the more withdrawing person needs a really safe template in order to open up - it needs to be a pretty non-doing pootling atmosphere in order to even begin because apparently, if you're more of a withdrawn personality, which many of us can be in different ways, but it's a bit like being forced underwater, and thoroughly pushed, almost to drowning to be pushed into deep communication. But if you make it if you make it relaxed and open and suitable for people, then it can feel safe. And it's partly because communications in in their upbringing may not have been may not have felt safe.

Nicola Foster:

Yeah, it reminds me of the book The Queen's Code if you;ve read that book. Yeah, I found that book so thought provoking and interesting. And I really noticed for myself, because I'm quite a fast talker, and I my mind's quite quick, I like to ask questions and I'm really curious. I learned from that book that it's really important for me to give my partner space for thinking, you know, that I've learned with, you know, with, with talking to Jason that he might need quite a few beats after he said the first thing to then get to the second thing to go and get to the third thing. And, um, it's still a work in progress, right, but I now know that it's important for me to just shut up but not come up with my next quick, quick thing to say when he hasn't even really got started.

Jason Porthouse:

But it is an interesting thing. And I think without wanting to seem gender stereotyped in this there, you know, women in particular tend to be more happy, I would say talking around emotions, and I think men are getting a lot better at it because men are getting more practice at it and there's more permission within society and more recognition that you know, men have feelings do kind of thing and, you know, all of those campaigns have there but, but I do think that sometimes makes it just sort of it takes longer to get in touch with what's going on.

Cate Mackenzie:

Do you know what Jason? I actually think it it really actually does take even though some people have that immediacy, you know, some people are more of an octopus and it's immediacy, but actually get to the depth. I actually think we all need slow. We all need real.. you know, I noticed, this is also me, but also when I'm working with couples, partners, pairs, that the person who is longing for the connection actually, once we get to a certain vulnerable place, it's not that easy. It's not that easy I think for anyone if you see what I mean, we all need the slowness, don't we? We all need that slowness to really... and I think sometimes withdrawers are guides, are guides in that slowness, but it's just if you're as fast as I can be, you know, it's taken me a long time to really notice and learn from my partner who, who's who's more of a turtle... who's taught me if you're what I mean, 'slow down, slow down, or, Cate, you're very fast then or slow down, slow down'. It's quite an art that's slowing down, isn't it? It's quite an art.

Nicola Foster:

We're talking about slowing down and and you were demonstrating beautifully, then that kind of, you know, using tonality to kind of slow down. I'm thinking about the podcast with Denise van Outen and Eddie, that also one of the things I really took away from that is the importance of humour. You know, I think sometimes people think that they're going to go into couples therapy, and that it's going to be arguments, and it's going to be really hard work and stressful. And I say on my website, you know, this actually can be fun. And I think that your your, that was just such a beautiful demonstration of how much fun it can be. I mean, sounds like you really enjoy some of your client work with with humour.

Jason Porthouse:

I, I do and thank you for saying that. Nicola, thank you for saying that. You've got that on your website, that's brilliant! Yeah, I think that safety is the biggest key. And, you know, we know this in sex therapy, don't we, without safety, you know, you can have sex and not feel safe. And it's not great. If you feel safe, you have a different orgasm, you know, there's different parts of the brain that join up if you feel safe, you can still have an orgasm, not safe. If you feel safe, and laughter is also a release, like an orgasm. So, so having laughter you know, I was their first session, for example. And they'd never done any therapy ever in their lives. And they're doing this live filmed and on a podcast, which going out to the nation, do you know? It's brave...

Cate Mackenzie:

And he in my world, it seemed like he might be the withdrawer. And also, she had said, I 'I never hear from him. When I ask him what he feels, he dips away, or he gets his cup of tea, or I can't get hold of him.' And I thought I wanted to give her an experience and him an experience of hearing him because she'd said, 'You know, I can't I can't get hold of him. Like, if I say what are you feeling? He's not there'. So I thought I wanted to give them both that experience of slowing down enough that he could open up and that she could hear him. And so she would get that she would get that experience, but they did laugh a lot. I thought that was kind of charming. I've found that very charming. Because they have this that's part of their relationship is that wonderful laughing and wonderful humour. And equally, I thought they're nervous and part of the safety is let the laughter come. Do you know?, Let it let it let it let it because it's moving the belly? Isn't it's moving the body? It's like shaking isn't it's kind of moving something through it? I thought. Yeah, I'm, I think laughter is quite important, isn't it? You know, I think it's quite key.

Jason Porthouse:

I definitely get that sometimes if I'm, if I'm feeling some sort of emotional breakthrough or something like that, I can just start laughing. And it is that, like you say, it's that sort of, and there's something very grounding about it as well. Yeah. And that's the importance of being in the body, and getting what's going on for us on a on a body level as opposed to just the mind.

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah.

Nicola Foster:

Yeah, something about Yes, it's interesting, just even as we're talking, you know, of course, the laughter can be a defence and jokes can be a defence and it can be a way of kind of cutting through the energy and that can happen, but it's also a way of like, I think my favourite sessions are the ones who don't wait. Yes, sometime. At some point during the session we go very deep, and there's a very sweet, tender, sad aspect to what we're talking about. But then at some point, we also come around to some, some humour, and some laughing because that's, that's life, isn't it? Yeah. You know, the, the depths and the joy? See, it's all there.

Jason Porthouse:

That's right. And I suppose this is the thing is what if therapy is a live art, isn't it? It's also sometimes tuning into, which are the right moments for that, you know. And I think it's also depending on attunement, and whether there's an alliance made, if you've got an alliance, you probably can have a laugh. And sometimes you have to allow that alliance to build before, do you know?. So it all everything depends, doesn't it on every situation? Yeah. And again, it comes down to communication, and really finding out about other person doesn't it? That's right, this is where I love the idea of consent, which I know you work with... that consent is, is ongoing. So even with couple work, you know, if you're, do you feel ready to listen to your partner? Are you okay? And then check again, and check again, to know, where are you? You know, are you here, or are you just saying? you know, so it's,

Nicola Foster:

it's such an important piece? Yes and it's great to be reminded, and I always start at the beginning of working with a client, talking about everything I'm offering, as it is an invitation, and I really want you to know that you can say no to, you know, to anything that would that's proposed or suggested. But it's a good reminder that we need to keep in a relationship, whether that's as a therapist client relationship, or in our personal relationships, that consent needs to be refined and checked in and it changes and shifts. Yeah, thank you for reminding me about

Cate Mackenzie:

Yeah, thank you, and also that no one owes us anything. Even if you're married, and you've got children, or you're not married or whatever, even if you've been together 30 years, no one owes any body anything. And that's, if we can undo a bit of that, and start to treat each other, like you're just a person, and you're, you're lent to me as a person. and so to ask people and give them niceties, like, please and thank you and, and requests, it changes things because somehow we've we're in a culture where, if I'm going out with you, you should do all kinds of things for me for some reason. And perhaps it's like in IFS - legacy burdens, you know, because we've come from backgrounds where people relationships had lots of shoulds. So maybe that's it, and we're learning how to take shoulds off, maybe that's part of it. But it's kind of helping people to realise no one has to do anything, and that they they often will resist if you pretreat them like that they'll resist.

Jason Porthouse:

Yeah, I think there's a really interesting point, because I think we're at a point in history where all of this talk of consent is is sort of a way of codifying something that's been nebulous up until now, because it wasn't that long ago in living memory that, you know, in terms of sort of conventional heterosexual relationships, a wife was considered subservient, and the property of almost a husband or something like that, or certainly, you know, was expected to provide marital duties and all sorts of things like that. And now that's gone out the window, thankfully, but this is a way of, I think codifying it. And I can I think that's ultimately, obviously for the good, but actually will probably help in terms of how, how we redefine relationships. Such a good point, because we're going to be looking out in the future at menus, in a sense, like, are we monogamous? Are we curious? Are we? What's our choices? if if if your partner goes off sex for a while, and what are you doing for your own sense, or emotional bonds with other people, or I think maybe dialogues will open up. It's not the people didn't do that people had best friends that wasn't there that weren't their partners, or people had other lovers. Maybe they didn't tell their partner, you know, people did all kinds of things in the past. I think like you're saying, Jason, it just wasn't open and upfront. It was just done. Whereas we're coming into the place where people are dialoguing about consent and how do I want my relationship to look or myself to look or my pleasure to look or what is pleasure for me

Nicola Foster:

I knew this would happen that we would get to a point where we just could go on for another hour because there's so many questions I want to ask about consent and the relationship escalator and how we define relationships and opening relationships. And I can tell that we're just going to have to invite you back, Cate to do a second show before very long at all. It's been absolutely fascinating, really, really interesting. I'm sure. I'm sure there's been lots of food for thought there. And we'll put links in the show notes to lots of the things we've talked about.

Jason Porthouse:

And where can people find you?

Cate Mackenzie:

Oh, thank you.

Jason Porthouse:

I don't mean just in Brighton.

Nicola Foster:

On the interwebs where can people find you on the interwebs?

Cate Mackenzie:

I love that. Thank you, catemackenzie.com Cate with a C, MacKenzie, ma ck e n z i e, and on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Cate Mackenzie

Jason Porthouse:

All the usual places. Cate it's been an absolute pleasure.

Nicola Foster:

Oh, yeah. Very, very much.

Unknown:

It's really cool just to be interviewed by a couple have to say and especially the two of you. It's a joy you you flow beautifully together. So it's what a gift. What a gift. Thank you very much for inviting me.

Jason Porthouse:

Thanks for listening. If you like what you hear, subscribe so you never miss an episode. And remember, you can interact with us at wanting-more.com