Inter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training (IRRAPT)

Psychotherapy training enables CAT Practitioners to become Cognitive Analytic Psychotherapists via an additional two-year assessed course, which leads to eligibility for registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP). There is currently one Psychotherapy Training within ACAT, which is a two-year training (two year course with three residential weeks per year) known as the Inter-regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training (IRRAPT). Applicants to the Psychotherapy Training must have completed a two-year CAT Practitioner training. 

Psychotherapy training extends and deepens the core concepts learnt in the Practitioner training.

Psychotherapy training extends and deepens the core concepts and clinical skills learnt in the Practitioner training, consolidating and broadening the awareness of trainees and equipping them to operate independently as psychotherapists. Particular attention is paid to the role of the psychotherapist and knowledge of the therapeutic relationship. The core value of the CAT psychotherapy course is to generate a CAT learning community and enable cross fertilization of CAT practice from around the varying CAT regional trainings, drawing in a diversity of trainers and trainees.  The course seeks to apply the key CAT principles of collaboration and dialogue in the learning process between trainer and trainee.  Through a structured but collaborative process the training aims to maximize the trainees’ capacity to learn and begin to self-direct their own learning process enabling them to develop the skills to operate independently as a CAT psychotherapist.  Graduates of the training frequently take up senior roles in training, in service development and in specialised clinical settings.  Particular attention is paid to the personal development programme which each trainee undertakes as part of the training including personal psychotherapy.  There is an emphasis on experiential learning as well as didactic and problem based learning.

“The IRRAPT course is so stimulating, exciting, confidence-building and worthwhile. I would recommend every CAT Practitioner to take their training further and develop their CAT skills and understanding. This course has enabled me to stretch and develop my own ZPD, helping to really consolidate my knowledge and skills as a CAT Psychotherapist. There is such a difference and depth in my practice now and how I bring in my use of self within the therapeutic alliances that I establish. The course is very well designed, facilitated, sensitively paced and held by such a supportive team and containing environment. Worth every penny, blood, sweat and tears invested. But in true CAT style, the ending arrives too quickly”

The training comprises

A combination of workshops or training days, seminars, peer group work, personal learning, supervision, clinical practice and personal therapy.

Taught Study
The course consists of two years of taught study divided into six four monthly modules.  Each module consists of a residential five day meeting, seminars, tutorials and required reading.  The residential meetings include a reading group, skills and problem based learning, didactic teaching, experiential work, a group research project, a peer small group, a community group and peer and trainer led feedback. 

Clinical Practice
Trainees are required to be in ongoing CAT supervised clinical practice during the two years of the course and work with a minimum of eight cases under the weekly supervision of a UKCP accredited CAT supervisor.  This would normally consist of a minimum of 15 minutes per case, with a minimum of 40 supervision weekly meetings a year, normally face to face. Trainees are encouraged to seek group supervision but may access individual supervision if they had group supervision during their CAT Practitioner training.  Trainees are required to complete at least 450 client hours including all supervised cases from the start of their practitioner training. This will include assessments, follow-ups and uncompleted cases. As a guide approximately 25 cases of 16 sessions equate to 450 hours. Trainees need to remain in supervision until the completion of their clinical work which normally takes from two to three years.

Clinical work should include a diversity of individuals and problems reflecting social, cultural, racial and sexual diversity as well as diversity of age, clinical diagnosis and complexity of difficulties.  Trainees working in specialist settings are required to seek an additional placement for half of the 8 CAT psychotherapy cases (minimum) to ensure diversity of experience.  Trainees who have worked exclusively in specialist settings throughout their previous CAT Practitioner training may also be required to gather additional clinical hours outside their speciality within the 450 hours required. 

Please note:  most trainees take a minimum of an additional year following the taught two years to meet the hours’ requirements for clinical practice and to write their dissertation.

“The IRRAPT training both deepened and broadened my understanding of CAT. While clearly an extension of the practitioner training, it also introduced new dimensions, particularly in terms of exploring the use of self in therapy and ‘live’ training group dynamics. The intensity of a week-long residential, temporarily ‘living’ with others on the course, definitely facilitates a more involved immersion into CAT principles such as joint-working and managing interpersonal tensions / challenges through meaningful dialogue.”

“I would liken the course to that of a cinematographer, where there is a deliberate design to constantly frame and re-frame individuals in relation to each other, an ongoing recalibrating of role positions within differing relational structures. The result and experience for me was to enrich and enhance my own view of self and others from a multi-dimensional perspective, illuminating the jointly constructed pulsing nature of individual identity.”

Personal Development and Psychotherapy
All trainees will be expected to commit to an ongoing programme of personal psychotherapy throughout the two years of the training.  This must include a further experience of time limited CAT at some point within the two years.  Trainees are also expected to seek additional experiences of personal psychotherapy during the two years which reflect the integrative nature of CAT and their personal interests and developmental needs.  Personal psychotherapists are expected to be registered with UKCP or an equivalent psychotherapy accreditation body.  The confidentiality of the trainees’ relationship with their personal psychotherapist is respected at all times and no formal or informal communication about the trainee takes place, other than the therapist completing a brief form about frequency, duration and hours that the trainee returns to the course leaders.

Assessment consists of successful completion of written work, supervision reports and the successful completion of all course requirements. 

Written Work
Year One:  A theoretical essay and a case study with illustrative anonymous transcribed taped material.
Year Two:  A case study with illustrative anonymous transcribed taped material with additional reflective comments about developments in clinical practice since the first case study  and a dissertation (10,000 words)

Entry criteria

  1. Applicants will have completed or be near to completing their CAT Practitioner training (7th/8th case and written work near to completion) prior to beginning the application process.  Once Practitioner training requirements have been completed, applicants are required to seek accreditation with ACAT and remain members of ACAT throughout their CAT Psychotherapy training.
  2. Educational attainment:  As with CAT Practitioner training, entry is at a postgraduate level of competence.  Applicants are normally members of a core caring profession.
  3. Counselling or therapy experience:  Applicants need to demonstrate experience/training in any form of psychotherapy at an introductory level to an equivalent of 150 hours in addition to their CAT Practitioner training.  Applicants need to have access to appropriate patients/clients and be able to access appropriate CAT supervision within course requirements.  They also need to demonstrate experience of working within a psychiatric setting or have plans to meet this requirement.
  4. Evidence of personal development:  Applicants will have completed a minimum of 16 sessions of personal CAT (plus follow up) as part of their CAT Practitioner training.  Applicants also need to demonstrate a willingness to undertake a further programme of personal therapy and development throughout the CAT Psychotherapy training.  They also need to demonstrate an ability to sustain a commitment to the intensity of the training process.

“Wonderful proper adult course that adds richness and depth to theory and practice.”

“The IRRAPT course gave me an observing eye view of CAT that broadened my outlook away from mental health to see how its concepts and theory can be applied and adapted to conceptualise and work with gender diversity.“

Following successful completion of all course requirements and accreditation by ACAT, the trainee is then eligible to apply for UKCP accreditation as a CAT Psychotherapist (HIPC).


Forthcoming IRRAPT Training

This course runs biannually with an intake of up to 18-20 applicants.  It is open to applications from graduates from a CAT Practitioner training and welcomes trainees from diverse areas of the country or from sister CAT organisations abroad.  The formal taught aspect of the course is based on six, termly, five-day residential meetings at a location in Worcestershire.  The taught aspect is two years with a further year for completion of a Dissertation and the required clinical hours.  Successful completion of the course enables registration with ACAT and UKCP as a CAT Psychotherapist.  The next intake will be late 2023.  If you are interested in further information or wish to place your name on a list to receive publicity for the next intake, please contact Niki Larsen-Johnson, Course Administrator, (updated Jul'22)


Updated November 2020



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