Adaptations to CAT Training during the Covid-19 period, and Remote and Hybrid Training

In May 2020 due to the impact of Covid-19 on CAT training we agreed the following Key Principles: 

• ACAT will not be lowering standards as regards the learning goals and needs of trainees but will support the necessary adaptations in how training is delivered and how training requirements, such as training therapies are met. 

• Trainees will be allowed and encouraged to work towards the completion of their training in the best way that they can. 

• Subject to the discretion of their course director, clinical supervisors and organisation, remote training therapies and write ups of remote therapy can count towards accreditation.

• If a trainee needs further adjustments to those outlined here contact your course director and supervisor. 

• This guidance is advisory but course directors have devolved responsibility for making decisions on an individual case by case basis with trainees and their supervisor. 

• This will be reviewed on a continuous basis but this statement on what ‘can count’ towards accreditation will be upheld for the period March 2020 until review in Autumn 2020. 

• Additional changes may be required as the duration of lockdown, social distancing and shielding becomes clearer.

The full paper, outlining guidance across 10 areas is listed below the following update.

This was reviewed at ACAT Training Committee on 16th October 2020 

We will continue this flexible approach due to the ongoing uncertainty and the variation in how trainees are practising, allowed to practice by their employers or needing to respond to meet client need. In terms of training cases, we will not set a specific number of remote therapies (conducted using video technology or phone, both partial or full CAT therapies) allowed for accreditation. The decision on the acceptability and appropriateness of each trainee’s portfolio of cases is made by the course director and supervisor in the same way it would for other factors that influence the range or type of training cases. 

1. ACAT Training Committee continues to give courses and trainees flexibility in how trainees will reach the level of competence needed to be a CAT Practitioner. 

2. In supporting flexibility, we are not reducing standards.  

3. A course director and/or supervisor can say if they do not think remote working will allow a trainee the opportunity to reach the necessary competences .

4. The judgement is therefore not the number of training cases that are ‘present in person’ or conducted ‘remotely’ but it is on the delivery of the CAT therapies and the trainee’s learning. 

5. Course directors would however need to be wary of all eight cases being conducted remotely as some areas of CAT practice may be more challenging online, both technical skills such as mapping online and facilitating this collaboratively and also relational aspects of the work and working with feelings. Courses and supervisors will need to monitor these areas to ensure that trainees have sufficient knowledge and skill before they are accredited.  

Teaching, supervision, seminars and personal training therapy can all be conducted remotely and accreditation forms can be submitted electronically. 

This will remain open to review.             


1. Training cases 

ACAT will accept training cases conducted remotely using video technology or telephone, both partial and full CAT therapies. This includes starting with new clients if that is acceptable to the client, your service and your supervisor. A maximum number of such cases will not be specified and this will be under review dependent on how long we are in lockdown, social distancing or if participants need to be shielded on a longer term basis. 


2. Training appraisal 

ACAT is not relaxing the training requirements and there is no change to the training standards. We still require eight CAT training cases to be signed off as satisfactory CAT and supervisors, in conjunction with course directors, will review trainees’ progression towards accreditation. There is no additional assessment of therapies conducted remotely. Trainees are encouraged to use the clinical appraisal system to appraise their development in CAT through this medium, with an explicit description of their CAT development through training cases conducted remotely. This will inform any training goals so that any competences missed through conducting training cases this way, for example, joint development of SDRs, can be noted and addressed later in training.      


3. Training therapy 

Training therapies that commence or move on line are accepted. 


4. Remote therapy guidance 

One course team (Catalyse) have provided guidance on conducting therapies remotely which can be accessed here as a pdf and webcast voice-over and can be used as a training resource Steve Jefferis (CNTW course) has also produced online guidance demonstrating two ways to do live SDR mapping  ACAT recommends that all therapists and supervisors taking on remote therapies should familiarise themselves with these resources. 


5. Written work

Current and future deadlines and extensions may not be met and trainees would need to keep in touch about difficulties in submission of assessed work, for example, future case studies may be delayed if therapies are on hold. Trainees can submit a case study write up of a remote CAT training case but would have to include an explicit reference and reflection on this of a single page, additional to the word length of the current work. Additional guidance for markers will be provided.   


6. Training days for ongoing courses 

This is at the discretion of individual courses who may wish to offer remote training days or partial days now or into the future, or defer training, depending on the duration of lockdown or social distancing. This decision may reflect the content of the days and training process for those topics/days or course. We have not had time to fully consider introducing blended learning methods.  They may limit the experiential and small group learning opportunities that we value and also mean that there is a reduced skills focus. However, many people find online learning valuable with some advantages. As some courses test this out in small ways we can consider if it has a place in CAT training but we enter this with the view that on-line inputs aren't intended to be sufficient or able to cover all elements that we see as essential in developing as a CAT therapist. Equivalent hours will be considered as courses plan such inputs and this can be reviewed over time.  


7. Seminars 

Trainees can be encouraged to connect with each other for their seminar/reading groups to allow the continuity of the learning and connection with their cohort. This will count as meeting the seminar component of the training.


8. New cohorts 

Courses who were due to start new cohorts in 2020 will aim to start in early 2021 and will update applicants and ACAT as this becomes clearer.  There are likely to be delays for start dates for future cohorts for all course centres as we work to support the current trainees through to completion.  


9. Supervisor training 

A separate paper will follow outlining the impact and plans for those who are part way through supervisor training and for new starters. The planned transfer to our new and extended training model due to begin on 1st September 2020 will be postponed. 


10. Paperless accreditation 

ACAT will move to paperless accreditation for the ACAT Exam Board in June 2020 for all forms of training. This will serve as a pilot for a permanent accreditation system.  This advisory guidance can be shared with trainees on all courses and is also available as a downloadable document (Accreditation – paperless submissions for accreditation) in Training Resources.  

Sending your forms to us 

Previously only the original, signed application form, plus a copy, and the original therapy confirmation form would be sent to the course for signatory and then forwarded to ACAT after checks. From June 2020 the ACAT Exam Board will accept pen or electronic signatures and email confirmation as follows 

Accreditation form:  Forward a scanned copy of the completed form with pen or electronic signatures to the course administrator along with the email message from your supervisor confirming that they approve the cases.

• If you have additional supportive materials (e.g. supportive letters) these must also be signed by you and your supervisor(s) in pen or electronically.

Completion of therapy form: Forward a scanned copy of the completed form with pen or electronic signatures to the course administrator along with the email from your therapist confirming that the sessions were completed.

• The course administrator will then check the attendances and forward the forms for sign off to the Course Co-Ordinator / Director. 

• The electronically signed off forms will then be forwarded to ACAT and we will request receipt.

Your application will be presented at the next meeting of the ACAT Exam Board (which meets three times a year - usually February, June and October).  

You will be notified formally of your award and will receive your practitioner certificate by post from the Chair of the Exam Board.

Paperless applications for Supervisor training are also accepted during this period with sign off by Senior Supervisors and referees as above. Further moves to paperless systems will develop in due course. 

Important Note about your ACAT membership  

As trainees of ACAT you must retain your ACAT membership as a trainee member, endorsing that you abide by the ACAT ethics policy until you are accredited. We hope that you would choose to continue as an ACAT member after that. The course pays ACAT membership fees for the formal two years of your course but you are responsible for continuing it as a trainee or an accredited practitioner thereafter. Gaps in membership for periods of time out from training (such as maternity leave) can be approved by completion of the Interruption to Studies form. This is classed as a 'non-practising period' and any CAT teaching attended or clinical cases completed cannot be counted towards accredited training. It is important that you retain your membership as lapsed membership requires an application and back payment of fees; it can significantly delay your accreditation.


Remote and hybrid training models for CAT Training

ACAT Training Committee Consultation paper agreed on 1st July 2022
Dawn Bennett & Steve Jefferis


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