Dorset CAT Practitioner Training
1st November 2017 to 31st October 2019

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Dorset CAT Practitioner Training 
November 2017 – October 2019

CAT is a time-limited therapy, normally 16 to 24 sessions, which integrates theories derived from cognitive psychology, and psychoanalytic therapy.  It involves developing an active collaborative therapeutic relationship with the patient and is particularly applicable to work in NHS settings with people with complex needs.  CAT is increasingly recognised as an effective, trans-diagnostic, evidence-based model for working with people with complex presentations, such as personality disorder. It is suitable for both individual therapy and also as a conceptual framework for whole team and systemic approaches.


Following successful completion of the course you will be accredited to practise CAT within your core profession and will be entitled to become a full member of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT).  Course graduates will also be eligible to apply to do a further two years Psychotherapy Training in CAT, leading to UKCP registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).

Course Structure

The course starts in November 2017, with 11 taught training days per year, mainly on the second Friday of the month, excluding August.  Training days will consist of a combination of lectures, presentations, small groups and experiential work focusing on personal exploration and the development of CAT skills and their clinical application. The Course will take a holistic approach with the concept of the embodied mind being essential in the formulation of mental health difficulties. There will also be a strong emphasis on the personal development of trainees.

Course Content

The Course will provide an exploration of the integration of concepts from both Analytic and Cognitive theories, which have informed the development of CAT theory, formulation, alongside key psychotherapy skills. 

These include:

• Fundamental CAT Concepts and Tools

• Development/Disruption of a Sense of Self

• Therapeutic Skills, Therapy Relationship and Therapeutic Alliance

• Transference and Counter Transference

• Applying CAT with Complex Cases and Challenging Presentations

• Ending Therapy and Follow Up

• The Process and Theories of Change

• Evidence-Based Psychotherapy Practice

• Ethical Practice


Each trainee will meet with one of the course directors twice a year to plan and evaluate their individual learning process. There is also the possibility of one academic tutorial with an ACAT tutor/specialist, which will be arranged as required.

Supervised Clinical Work

Trainees are required to have weekly supervision in groups of 3, for one and a half hours, 30 minutes each, with an accredited ACAT supervisor. Clinical work is for a minimum of two years but may take longer. The cost of supervision is not included in the fees for this course, however we are able to support trainees in locating a supervisor. There may be opportunities within DHUFT for supervision provided at no charge if the trainee provides CAT therapy for the Trust on an honorary basis. Alternatively, trainees may prefer to arrange their own ACAT accredited supervision in NHS settings or by private arrangement. Trainees are expected to remain in clinical supervision for the duration of the course or until course requirements are fulfilled.

Clinical Work

Trainees will be expected to work with a minimum of 8 patients with a range of presentations. Two cases are normally carried concurrently wherever possible.

Personal Therapy

It is a course requirement that trainees complete a minimum of a 16 session personal CAT during the first year of the course. The cost of this is not included in the fees for the course.

Written Work

There is a course requirement to complete one case study and one theory paper per year.  Additionally, trainees need to ensure they allow sufficient time for private study.

Ethical Practice

Trainees will become Trainee members of ACAT and will be expected to work within ACAT’s Code of Practice and Ethics for Members, including adhering to their Appeals and Complaints Procedures.


Successful completion of the course will comprise:

• At least (85%) regular attendance at all aspects of the course;

• Satisfactory completion of case studies, and essays;

• Completion of clinical practice requirements;

• Satisfactory reports from trainers and supervisors;

• and completion of a personal therapy.

Course Location

The Training days will take place in Dorchester, Dorset.  Dorchester has good rail links from both Bristol/Bath and Southampton lines.

Teaching Team

The trainers will include: Liz Fawkes, Jason Hepple, Steve Potter and Alison Macdonald.  Other ACAT members are involved on the team as supervisors, tutors and markers.


The cost of this training is £2,300 per annum. This includes the cost of training days, seminars, tutorials, marking, and ACAT’s annual registration fee for the duration of the taught part of the course.

Criteria for Applying

CAT Practitioner Training is relevant to the needs of a diverse range of care professionals who wish to establish CAT as one of their core skills. Applicants will normally, but not exclusively, have a professional background in mental health or caring professions, with at least two years post qualification experience and have some understanding of the model.

How to Apply

Applicants are encouraged to apply as soon as possible as places are limited, and date of receipt of application will be taken into account if the course is oversubscribed. The closing date for applications is: 8th September 2017. Interviews will begin from 21st August.  The Application Form is available for download below, please complete, print and send to:

Suzanne Lyons
Dorset CAT Course
30 Maiden Castle Road,

Applicants Must Include:

• A Current CV: giving details of your academic qualifications and a brief summary of any training or experience you have in psychological therapy.

• A typed Personal Statement, in 3 sections including:

  • Your Current Therapeutic Approach (250 words)
  • What You Hope to Gain from This CAT Training (300 words)
  • Why it is Important for Clinicians to Develop an
  • Understanding of Their Own Emotional Life (400 words)

For further information please contact:

Suzanne Lyons, Course Director:

Nicola Coulter, Deputy Course Director:

Please send any emails to both of us, we will be happy to contact you by phone if you email phone numbers we can call you on.


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