Working with difference in CAT - offered by NECAT
24th September 2021

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Opening the dialogue with our social selves in an unequal world

Rhona Brown + Nargis Islam  9.30am – 4.30pm

Royal Station Hotel, Newcastle upon Tyne    

£80 including lunch and refreshments.

Delivering Cognitive Analytic Therapy competently is a complex and skilled endeavour on the part of the therapist. There is no manual, and the “self” of both parties in therapy is an essential aspect of the therapeutic dialogue. Therapist judgements and decisions change moment-by-moment in response to the contextual meanings of events and interactions, and within the client’s ZPD. Through an actively collaborative stance, CAT aims to manage and equalise differences in power in the therapy relationship. However, we live in a social world with embedded inequalities, which continue to exist as we cross into the therapy setting.

When we factor in social context issues, aspects of identity, diversity, and inequalities in power, resources and privilege, additional complexities to therapeutic tasks and process arise for both therapist and client. Impasse, ruptures and enactments around these issues are as likely as those around early and more proximal relational patterns.

As therapists we each have our own ZPD in relation to understanding our own blind-spots and unconscious / unacknowledged privileges and how these link to our values of working within a framework of continuous humility across difference and diversity. How we acknowledge and work with these issues is crucial to the quality of the therapeutic experience and outcomes, particularly for people from minoritised backgrounds. Power differences associated with racial identity are particularly important to examine in a profession that is predominantly white, as they parallel dominant social inequalities.

This day workshop aims to provide

  • space to consider aspects of identity and the “self” of both therapist and client
  • frameworks for approaching and understanding issues around diversity, inequality and power in CAT
  • opportunity to build confidence through interactive group work with illustrative clinical scenarios
  • skills and tools to adapt for your own practice

Nargis Islam is a CAT Practitioner and Clinical Psychologist based in Oxford. She currently works on University of East London Clinical Psychology Programme as a senior lecturer and clinical tutor, and has a consultancy practice. Nargis previously worked for the NHS in CAMHS, then adult community and inpatient services in Oxfordshire, and also the Oxford Clinical Psychology Training Programme, leaving these posts in 2019. She has been working internationally since 2014, now offering strategic, workforce planning and skills training consultancy work with NGO’s working in the Rohingya refugee camps and mental health initiatives across Bangladesh. As well as an EDI advisor and strategist in the charity sector and supporting organisational and staff well-being initiatives in Higher Education, she has a small independent clinical practice, alongside active training and research collaborations. Nargis draws predominantly on CAT, CFT and Values Based models throughout her organisational consultancy work. She works with Clinical Psychologists and CAT colleagues on difference and anti-racism within clinical work and health service workforces, including a project on ‘mapping difference and racism’ with Steve Potter.

Rhona Brown is a CAT Practitioner with a core training in clinical psychology. She trained and worked in the North East for several years before making the transition to Manchester in the early 1990’s. Her interest in diversity issues grew from that point as her practice became embedded in the needs of Manchester’s many diverse communities. In addition to working clinically across culture, race and language, her complex outpatient/primary care role included co-facilitating training on intercultural work for staff, and leading a number of community-based initiatives to enhance accessibility of psychological therapy services to local communities. She currently works with NHS staff in a staff support/occupational health setting, worked in residential drug and alcohol recovery services for a year, and has a small independent practice. Rhona also works with ACAT to help promote public awareness of cognitive analytic therapy through its public engagement initiative. In a voluntary capacity she is a member of ACAT’s Equality & Diversity Committee.

To book download the application form under "Event Documents" below and submit as instructed



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