CAT and the Therapeutic Relationship

The one, shared understanding within all approaches to psychotherapy is of the value of the therapeutic relationship as a way of understanding a person’s inner world. It is within this confidential relationship that psychological and emotional wounds reveal themselves in relation to the therapist and have the opportunity to find healing. The structure of CAT offers important contributions to this potential healing journey through relationship. The shared description of learned patterns of relationship (these are called reciprocal roles in CAT) and how these patterns of relationships will almost inevitably be experienced in the relationship between the client and the therapist. This is called ‘enactment’ in CAT and can be very powerful and learning experience for client and therapist.

you can begin to connect your cognitive (or ‘head’) understanding with your emotional (or ‘heart’) understanding

The therapist recognises and names these difficult relationship patterns as they happen so that you can begin to connect your cognitive (or ‘head’) understanding with your emotional (or ‘heart’) understanding. However painful or difficult, this process is shared and explained, in a mutual and respectful way.

The process of change comes from naming, experiencing, sharing, recognising and understanding these patterns. Developing awareness allows new, healthier relationship patterns to be born. The relationship between the client and therapist itself models this more accepting and respectful way of relating. 

CAT is not prescriptive or pre-designed, and it’s not like ‘painting by numbers’

CAT is not

  • CAT is not prescriptive or pre-designed
  • it’s not like ‘painting by numbers’
  • the work is shared collaboratively
  • right from the beginning you will be involved in your own self monitoring and diary keeping
  • alongside the therapist who starts the ball rolling, you will be describing your own life story and mapping goals for change

It is an individualised programme for uniting each person with their emotional history in a way that makes sense and out of which is born the real possibility for revision of old patterns and change.

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