Skills: Working with Complex Clients in Adult Mental Health or Forensic Settings
13th June 2013 to 22nd November 2013

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CAT Skills Training:  June - December 2013

‘Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Skills for working with Complex Clients in Adult Mental Health or Forensic Settings‘
with Karen Shannon, Marisol Cavieres and Dawn Bennett

Leading to Accreditation by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT)


Training dates

  • 13th and 14th June 2013
  • 19th July 2013
  • 9th September 2013
  • 22nd November 2013

This course is a repeat of a successful six month long, multi-professional skills training certificate in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) accredited by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT). It consists of five Theory & Skills training days combined with 35 hours of supervised clinical work, one personal development therapy session (1/2 day) and two reflective pieces of writing on the use of CAT ideas and methods. The course aims to enable core professionals with competence in their own mental health field to enhance their relational and therapeutic skills by using concepts and therapeutic skills derived from CAT.  The course will be of value for psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, offender managers, therapists, counsellors or social workers working in prison, forensic or mental health forensic settings.

Cognitive analytic therapy combines a relational approach to cognitive and behavioural therapies with current aspects of psychodynamic thinking about personality problems and the helping relationship.  It is a therapy, which has proven popular with a wide range of professionals responding to the complex needs of clients, thought of as ‘hard to help’.  It is in the NICE guidelines as a promising therapy for Borderline Personality Disorder. The course will focus on the use of CAT as a versatile method of formulating effective professional practice in adult mental health and forensic settings and will include the following areas:

• It explores the relational origins of personality difficulties and trauma. It uses collaborative activity-based approaches to a therapeutic relationship by using personal maps, enactments and writing.
• Links between personality disorder, difficulty seeking and using help, offending behaviour and common mental health problems will be explored.
• Demonstrations by course leaders and practice by delegates will address methods for working relationally and collaboratively with clients and in multi-professional teams; understanding and monitoring risk; and developing therapeutic understanding with clients in the context of everyday work.

The course serves as a good foundation for developing some clinical skills and developing skills in reflective practice in teams.

Who is this course for?
• Participants will need a core mental health profession, have employment in adult mental health and/or forensic settings, some familiarity with psychological approaches and interest in and aptitude for interpersonal and relational approaches to working with issues of risk and offending.
• Completion of all courses component and submission of written work will allow course members Skills Certificate Accreditation by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) in the UK.
• Participants can attend individually or as a group of colleagues.  Elements of, or the entire course can be adapted and tailor made for in-house training.

What will I learn from the course?
• Learn to formulate origins, context and triggers to trauma, challenging and risky behaviour
• A framework for understanding and working with service users and colleagues in treating and managing psychological and relational aspects of mental health, and personality disturbance and risky behaviours
• Develop a shared language for inter professional work based upon CAT’s approach to cognitive relational processes
• Use CAT for planning and assessing effectiveness of a variety of interventions and risk management.

What does the course involve?
The skills certificate takes six months to complete and involves five days of theory and skills training, a personal development component (half-day), thirty five hours of telephone or small group supervision, depending on your locality. It is assessed through two reflective pieces of writing (2,500 words minimum) on your use of CAT ideas and methods. Participants will normally sign up for the whole course.

Course Directors and Trainers
Dr Karen Shannon is a Clinical Psychologist, ACAT accredited practitioner, supervisor and trainer working in the National Health Service (NHS); developing community forensic psychology services, and is in independent practice. She has many years experience working with clients who have mental health problems, personality disturbance and who also offend. She has a longstanding commitment to working with both marginalised, and ‘hard to help’ clients with offending behaviours and has broad experience of the application of CAT in a variety of forensic settings both as a therapy and as a framework for consultation, care planning and systemic risk management. Her interests are working therapeutically with clients with personality disorders and also those at risk of harm. She has published in the area of CAT and risk assessment/management; women non-offending partners; male aggression/violence and bipolar disorder.

Karen is committed to using CAT to enhance staff skill and confidence in the development of relational approaches in the care and management of individuals with ‘complex’ presentations. She has been external examiner for other CAT course and taught CPD courses for a number of years. She has previously co-provided ACAT accredited Forensic CAT skills course in the UK and in-house CAT skills training and supervision for staff in a number of forensic institutions.

Dr Marisol Cavieres is a clinical psychologist, ACAT accredited practitioner, supervisor and trainer. She currently is in independent practice, and previously worked in a range of NHS services within adult mental health and forensic specialties. She is a core trainer and year tutor for the two year Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training (PG Dipl), and co-established the first CAT skills level training course in New Zealand in 2010. Her clinical areas of interest are working with adults with complex mental health problems particularly involving personality difficulties as well as working with staff teams within mental health inpatient settings; using ‘CAT mapping’ as a way to enhance relational understanding, management, and interventions with hard-to-help clients. 

Dr Dawn Bennett is Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Professional Lead in Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (part-time) and ACAT accredited CAT practitioner, trainer and supervisor. She was Course Director with ACAT North running the two year CAT Practitioner Training (PG Dipl) from 1999-2006 and is currently Chair of this group, which runs various training initiatives. She has been External Examiner for CAT courses and taught on other UK courses. She has run CAT skills courses for generic mental health workers within her NHS role and CPD workshops on using CAT as a consultancy tool. She is the ACAT liaison worker for the ACAT link with Sheffield Hallam University, the validating body for all ACAT practitioner courses. She has a PhD investigating therapist competence in CAT for borderline personality disorder and has published work on this and subsequent projects.

External examiner
The moderator/examiner(s) will ensure that the training course meets the standards and requirements set by ACAT for Skills Level training.

Venue for Training
To be confirmed

Full accredited training certificate in CAT skills in forensic and prison settings £1595.00
(5 training days, 35 hours supervision, course work marking, ½ day personal development session and accreditation with ACAT)

Expressions of interest
If you are interested in applying for this course or would like further information, please contact Marisol Cavieres  07754 117729, or Karen Shannon  07912611176.


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Details and Booking Information

13th June 2013 to 22nd November 2013

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