ACAT: Complexity & Risk: Application of CAT to those who pose risk of harm to others
10th February 2017

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Presented by Karen Shannon & Kerry Manson

Times:  9am arrival for 9:30am start, to finish at 4:30pm

Location:  Augustana Centre, 30 Thanet Street, London, WC1H 9QH

Clients who present as complex and ‘hard to help’ can often pose actual or threatened risk of harm to others. This raises powerful, difficult and at times conflicting feelings in the therapist/manager, which can threaten the therapeutic alliance or service engagement.  As clinicians we can find ourselves in a dilemma between caring for the client or protecting others, including ourselves in our work role.

As we know those who pose a risk to others are not solely located in forensic mental health services or the Criminal Justice System.  They are most likely to be residing in the community, to be on the case load/waiting lists of all mental health services and clinical specialties. At a time of decreasing resources, increasing pressures and demands in services, and on clinicians, this workshop aims to provide a space to acknowledge these challenges and support you in your role.  Karen and Kerry will share their experience and skills in working with complex clients posing risk of harm to others, with a view to helping you develop transferable skills to build into your practice

Learning outcomes

The workshop aims to provide participants with:

Enhanced knowledge and skills in the delivery of CAT skills in forensic/complex case settings with individuals, staff groups and within a multi-disciplinary setting

Improved knowledge of different ways of working with “hard to help” clients. Understanding and starting where the client is and an awareness of their ZPD. 

Introduce an understanding about how we can use elicited counter-transference within a CAT reformulation (SDR) to provide a richer, relational understanding about a client’s risk and management.  How we respond impacts on client potential engagement, re-enactment of unhelpful patterns and enhanced risk, or creation of possible relational exits. 

Increase awareness and application of the use of CAT concepts to identify boundary breaches, which can be indicators of paralleling offending behaviours/risky RRPs and increased risk.

Assistance to improve ability to use CAT to understand the relational approach to risk and its systemic influences and how CAT can be integrated within risk assessment and shared risk management plans.

Relevant to

The workshop will be relevant to CAT practitioners and psychotherapists, trainee CAT practitioners and other professionals/therapists who have good knowledge of CAT concepts, working in broad range of clinical settings.


Dr. Karen Shannon is a Clinical Psychologist, ACAT accredited practitioner, supervisor and trainer working in independent practice based in Liverpool. Previously she has worked in the National Health Service (NHS) in high and medium secure services and latterly developed community forensic psychology services. She 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. 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 is a nominated trustee for ACAT.  She also has an executive role as CPD lead for Catalyse, and contributes to the Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training course.  She provides expert witness to courts incorporating CAT formulation. She has published in the area of CAT and risk assessment/management; women non-offending partners; male aggression/violence and bipolar disorder & supervision of CAT in forensic settings. She has co-developed and provided ACAT accredited CAT skills course for complex cases in the UK since 2009. She is Director of a 6 month CAT Skills Case Management Course.

Dr Kerry Manson is a clinical psychologist, cognitive analytic therapist and accredited CAT supervisor. Before qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 1999 she worked as both a general and psychiatric nurse. Since qualifying as a clinical psychologist she has worked in a community mental health team and a high secure hospital.  She managed a Primary Care Psychological Service in a local prison and recently worked in a Personality Disorder Service based within a Category B Training prison. She provided CAT for men who have contact with the criminal justice system. She also provides teaching on CAT for the Personality Disorder Masters course and presented CAT as a model for working with men who offend at national conferences. She also applied CAT systemically in her role in management and leadership. Having benefitted from CAT herself as a client and professional she is very committed to providing it to others, and offers Personal Reformulation to professionals through Catalyse.

ACAT reserves the right to make programme changes.

How to book

  • Book and pay by personal credit or debit card online instantly via this page (scroll down to Book Now section)
  • By email attaching the booking form (downloadable below) to:
  • By post enclosing the booking form (downloadable below) and a cheque to:  ACAT, PO Box 6793, Dorchester, DT1 9DL


Cancellations / Refund Policy: 

A refund, less a £25 administration fee, will be made if cancellations are received, in writing, at least four 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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