Today I had the pleasure of interviewing Cat Etherington who lives on the other side of the world from me (in the UK). Cat runs a program for betrayed wives (and also their husbands/partners) through a ministry called The Naked Truth Project. She is also an APSATS certified partner coach.
I've long been a fan of Cat and her work with betrayed wives (so much so that I'm joining her shortly). Hence, I thought I'd share some of my talk with the Beyond Betrayal Community today. I hope to eventually (when I find a few spare hours) get the video of this interview posted in the video resource section of the site. In the meantime, these are some of the highlights of that talk.
Lisa: Can you just start off by telling us a little bit about what the Naked Truth Project is?
Cat: Naked Truth Project is a UK-based charity and our vision is to open eyes and free lives from the damaging impact of pornography. We do that really in those two halves: we open eyes through education and awareness in all sorts of places, in churches in communities in the media and we have done a little bit of work with legislation... And then the other half of the work we do is the free lives stuff, so that's recovery, healing and freedom for people... and also supporting their family members too.
Lisa: What is your role with the Naked Truth Project?
Cat: I joined the Naked Truth Project as head of spouse and partner development, which is a fancy way of saying that I looked after the work that we were doing with spouses and partners or at least, we started doing that when I came along.... having journeyed through my own experience of sexual betrayal [I] was really aware that there were no services for women. So I started hammering on the door of Naked Truth Project and saying, "hey we should do something about this," and eventually the gave me a job. I now have the job title of Head of Recovery and so I look after all of the work with people who are seeking recovery and people who are seeking healing from all of the trauma that comes with being in a relationship where sexual betrayal has been a feature.
Lisa: Can you tell us a little bit more about the Whole Hearted Programme — that's the name of the program for the spouses that you started.
Cat: Our Whole Hearted Partner program is somewhat unique in as much as we operate a model that offers both support and education, and application of said education.
So, currently we operate a number of support groups each week, I think we've got five running at the moment at different times of day. We run a monthly webinar which covers mostly the "hot" topics, in betrayal trauma healing. So we've talked about triggers, boundaries... those same questions that come up time and again. So we cover a different topic each month in a 90-minute webinar, which is the educational piece. And then we often follow up our webinars with a topic group. So, we'll take that education and we'll spend some time just unpacking that in a group together and understand what does that piece of learning actually mean in terms of my life.
And what I love about our partner program is that we do all of that in a way that is affordable, accessible and anonymous: so kind of taking that thing that makes porn successful and turning that on its head and redeeming that. So all of our groups are online and what we've been able to do because we're a non-profit and a charity is offer that for a really affordable price in comparison to what else is out there. That's another thing that really reflects our heart: we want to break down as many of those barriers as we can.
Lisa: And I've looked at some of your materials in the past and recommended them to clients and the feedback has always been great. The quality of the materials that Cat is talking about is just astounding... When a woman comes to the website, where does she usually start?
Cat: If you visit our website, there's actually an overview page. What we've then got is kind of an individual page for each of our offerings..
Lisa: Is the program open to anyone?
Cat: We are open to talking to anybody who has suffered any kind of marital betrayal. We do like to meet with women who apply to join the program just to make sure that they're in the right place for doing group work. And if group isn't the right thing, we also offer individual support and we could help women get to the point where a group would be right for them.
Lisa: What's your future vision for Whole Hearted?
Cat: We have a big vision at Naked Truth Project. We have a global vision for this ministry... there are women all around the world screaming for support as they're trying to navigate this thing.
So I've got my sites set on all English-speaking countries right now, but even there, I don't want to put any limitations on. I hope one day we'll have well-trained betrayal-trauma professionals in all countries speaking all different languages so that women don't have to struggle to find the support that they need.
Cat will be speaking at the C-SASI conference in Houston this April on the spectrum of spiritual experiences in relationships impacted by sexual betrayal. This conference includes a full-day, pre-conference workshop just for partners.