20th Annual ACAT Conference
22nd March 2013 to 23rd March 2013

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20th Annual ACAT National Conference

“Cognitive Analytic Therapy and Ethical Practice: Maintaining our Professionalism and Humanity”

Friday, 22nd March to Saturday, 23rd March 2013

Wokefield Park, Goodboys Lane, Mortimer, Reading, Berkshire RG7 3AH

Book Now to Ensure your Place

Booking for Workshops closes 9 am on Monday, 18th March
There will be further opportunity for booking/changing options at Conference

If booking on or after 1st March, overnight rooms on Friday, 22nd are no longer guaranteed available -  please book asap if you require a room


Tony Ryle developed CAT during the 1970s and 80s in order to respond to the high demand for mental healthcare for a deprived and ethnically diverse busy inner London area. CAT recognises the relational and social origins of distress and deprivation, and the need to offer short-term focused therapy for the NHS with its limited resources.  It offers a model of therapy which is inclusive, non-elitist and non-stigmatising, and where each client provides a unique starting point for the therapy dialogue.

The ethical values of CAT can be difficult to maintain in systems that are moving towards, as Glenys Parry has put it, the ‘industrialisation’ of psychological therapies or where the needs of the system impinge on the freedom of the client and therapist to work creatively within the therapy contract and boundaries.

This will be an interesting and lively conference with a diverse set of speakers and workshops that aim to help us raise our awareness of the influence on our practice of the many contexts in which we work as CAT therapists. We do hope you will join us.

KEYNOTE SESSIONS  (subject to alteration)

1. Preserving the Key Values of CAT

Anthony Ryle, President of ACAT, will address the conference through a pre-recorded short film* on the plenary topic and will look back over the last 30 years of CAT.

A distinguished panel at the venue, to include Professor Mikael Leiman, Steve Potter, Annalee Curran, Annie Nehmad and Ian Kerr, will then be able to respond to Tony’s thoughts before opening out to questions from the conference floor.  If you have a question you would like considered by the panel, please email this to maria.cross@acat.me.uk.  This promises to be a memorable and stimulating session.

*Sadly, Anthony Ryle will no longer be able to attend the conference in person.


2. Practising with Compassion: Challenges in the Modern NHS

John Ballatt, co-author of ‘Intelligent Kindness: reforming the culture of healthcare’

Compassionate clinical practice requires, at the best of times, hard emotional work – to stay with the patient’s distress or disturbance, to maintain the capacity to imagine, to think and to respond.  In the face of ill-being and anxiety, practitioners need to be able to reflect on what is happening if they are to maintain this capacity.

But there is more.  In the contemporary NHS, individual, team and organisational life is shaped and profoundly influenced by public anxiety, a culture of distrust, limited resources and a range of processes and systems that, if not carefully considered and managed, can perversely undermine compassionate work.

John Ballatt will explore these dynamics in his talk.  He will argue that practitioners, managers, regulators and politicians need to understand and work to minimise this ‘pull towards perversion'.


3. CAT in Forensic Practice: Reformulation of the Capacity to Harm

Philip Pollock and Karen Shannon, Consultant Forensic Clinical Psychologists
The paper discusses how CAT can assist the clinician, team and multiple agencies to conceptualise, understand and intervene for those clients who demonstrate a capacity to harm either self or others. In many cases, clients struggle to articulate the underlying processes that determine why they harm themselves or others. It is proposed here that CAT serves as a conceptual tool to articulate a shared model for client and therapist towards improved understanding, ownership and joint intervention towards change.  The client’s capacity for harm and capacity for concern are addressed during a process whereby the clinician ‘bear witness’ to the intolerable RRPs and states of mind that underpin harm.  The paper provides illustrative clinical examples of CAT perspectives on capacity for harm and concern issues across the spectrum of such behaviours.  How CAT reformulation can be useful within risk assessment and management is highlighted.

4. The Great Debate: Cognitive Analytic Therapy in the 21st Century –  Science or Art?

This house believes that for its successful future development, CAT should consider itself more a science than an art?



There will be opportunity to attend three workshop sessions on clinical and ethical CAT topics out of a choice of 20 in total.  Further information regarding workshops can be downloaded and is also emailed to delegates booked into conference.  Online workshop booking opens on 12th February for those delegates who have already booked to attend the conference.

Self-care and Nourishment for Therapists
Liz McCormick and Jason Hepple
Alongside the Saturday afternoon workshops there will also be an opportunity to be nourished by a selection of grounding and mindfulness exercises, including chanting, mindfulness of breathing and body, walking meditation and visualisation.



There will be a reception prior to Dinner during which John Ballatt will be signing copies of his book: "Intelligent Kindness".  Entertainment following this year's Conference Dinner will be provided by the vibrant folk and ceilidh band, 'Threepenny Bit'.  "Consisting of suitcase percussion, fiddle, flute, guitar and clarinet, they play a wide range of Irish, English, Cornish, Breton and Scottish diddly-dee music with a hint of klezmer!"  For more information, and to get a taste of their music, visit www.threepennybit.net



We hope that this year’s conference will provide a relaxing, supportive and stimulating environment in which to engage in dialogue about the creative solutions to maintaining our compassion, humanity and professionalism in the practice of CAT.



We welcome poster contributions on any CAT related topic.  Please scroll further down the page for the poster presentation outline form which is to be returned to maria.cross@acat.me.uk.


Jason Hepple, Yvonne Stevens, Sue Yabsley
Conference Planning Group

PROGRAMME (subject to change):

Conference Day One - Friday:

08.00 - 09.15 Registration and Coffee
09.15 - 09.30 Welcome and Conference opens
09.30 - 11.00 Plenary: John Ballatt, 'Practising with compassion: challenges in the modern NHS' 
11.00 - 11.30 Coffee
11.30 - 13.00 Plenary: Anthony Ryle, President of ACAT, 'Preserving the Key Values of CAT'
13.00 - 14.00 Lunch
14.00 - 15.30 Workshops
15.30 - 16.00 Tea
16.00 - 16.45 ACAT's Annual General Meeting
16.45 - 18.00 The Great Debate
19.00 - 20.00 Wine Reception and book signing
20.00 - late    Conference Dinner followed by entertainment provided by Threepenny Bit

Conference Day Two - Saturday:

08.30 - 08.55 Registration for Saturday Only Day Delegates and Coffee
08.55  Welcome
09.05 - 10.30 Workshops
10.30 - 11.00 Coffee
11.00 - 12.00 Plenary: Philip Pollock and Karen Shannon, 'CAT in Forensic Practice: Reformulation of the Capacity to Harm'
12.00 - 13.00 Lunch
13.00 - 14.30 Self Care and Nourishment for Therapists or choice of four experiential workshops
14.45 - 15.25 Experiential Closing Event with Vicky Petratou
15.25   Closing Remarks
15.30  Conference Close


ACAT departs from its traditional campus style conference venue this year to offer the 20th Annual Conference at Wokefield Park, a conference centre within an 18th century country house set in 250 acres of  tranquil parkland and landscaped grounds.  The house has been sympathetically restored to retain its original architectural character and offers leisure facilities including a deluxe Spa.  The beautiful parkland and grounds offer opportunities for jogging and walking, or space for quiet reflection. 

Wokefield Park is easily accessible from the M4 (Junction 11) and close to Reading for direct trains from London and many other parts of the country (15 minutes from the station by taxi).  There is plentiful free onsite parking.

The conference key presentation room together with the workshop rooms, offer plenty of natural light and are located within The Mansion House, as are the majority of the en-suite bedrooms.  For delegates booking the whole event, there is also free use of the leisure centre facilities.

For further information about the conference venue, Wokefield Park, please click on the following link: http://www.deverevenues.co.uk/locations/wokefield-park.html

Please follow the link below for map and directions to the venue:
Or scroll further down this page for a downloadable map with directions.


We are pleased that our inclusive Whole Event Package this year also includes free use of the leisure centre facilities at the venue together with delegate fees, lunches on Friday and Saturday, a wine reception, conference dinner and overnight bed and breakfast stay on Friday night.  The venue offers free wi-fi and car parking and unlimited tea and coffee throughout the conference.  The beautiful parkland and grounds offer opportunities for jogging and walking, or space for quiet reflection. 

Description of Booking Options and Delegate Fees

We are offering two booking options:

Whole Event (to include the conference and accommodation as stated below)
or Individual Items for those who cannot attend the whole conference and wish to book items separately

Please note, however, that booking the whole event saves around £40 on the total of the individual item costs.

Whole Event includes Friday Day Delegate with buffet lunch, Saturday Day Delegate with buffet lunch, both days including unlimited tea, coffee, and water, Wine Reception and Conference Dinner with entertainment on Friday evening, En-Suite B&B accommodation on Friday night and free use of the Leisure Centre facilities:
ACAT Member £ 320 and Non-Member £365

Parts of the Conference can be booked individually (if you are unable to attend the whole event):
Friday Delegate includes lunch and refreshments :
ACAT Member £150 and Non-Member £175

Saturday Delegate includes lunch and refreshments (09.00 am (tbc) to 15.00):
ACAT Member £110 and Non-Member £125

Wine Reception and Conference Dinner on Friday evening:
ACAT Member £35 and Non-Member £45

En-Suite Bed and Breakfast Accommodation on Friday night:
All delegates: £85.20

B&B Accommodation on Thursday and/or Saturday nights:
If you wish to stay on Thursday or Saturday night then this will need to be booked directly with Wokefield Park.  The cost per person is £85.20 (including VAT) to include a full English buffet breakfast.  To book accommodation for the Thursday or Saturday please telephone the Reservations Team on 01189 334021 or 01189 334076 and quote the following code CONF210313. You will be  asked to supply your credit card details to secure your booking.  It is important that you use these numbers for booking Thursday and/or Saturday night and do not book through DeVere online or centrally.  This will ensure the booking is tied up with a booking for Friday night made through ACAT so that there is continuity of accommodation.  Should you need to cancel the room booking, then you will have up to 1st February 2013 to do so without incurring a charge.  Please note all bookings for Friday night have to come through ACAT.

Booking Information

Ways to book:
•book and pay instantly using a credit or debit card
•use the downloadable booking form to pay by cheque and post to ACAT, PO Box 6793, Dorchester DT1 9DL
•use the downloadable booking form to request that your employer be invoiced, and email to maria.cross@acat.me.uk, or post to ACAT, PO Box 6793, Dorchester DT1 9DL

Please note that cheque and invoiced bookings attract an additional admin charge of £10


The closing date for bursary applications (18/1/13) has now passed.


Programme changes:
Please note that ACAT reserves the right to make changes to the advertised programme

Cancellation / Refund Policy:
A refund, less a £25 admin fee, will be made if cancellations are received, in writing, at least six weeks before the event.  We regret that any cancellation after this time cannot be refunded and refunds for failure to attend the event cannot be made.

Data Protection:
For the purposes of the Data Protection Act 1998, the data controller in respect of your personal data is the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy.  Your data will be used to administer the event to which you have subscribed

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Details and Booking Information

22nd March 2013 to 23rd March 2013

Please see the main body of the Conference feature for Booking and Contact information



You can book this event online if you are registered or logged into this site. Click here to register or log in using the boxes at the top of this page.

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