Central to Cognitive Analytic Therapy is the development of the reflective ‘observing eye’ in response to ‘fast brain’ quick responses to others. These tend to occur largely unconsciously. Instant internal responses lead to enormous diversity in the way we each see other and the world. These processes can take place even when we are part of the same social group.
Discrimination occurs when these processes lead to a powerful critical, hostile or evaluative response to the ‘category’ in which we place someone. Expressions of such responses can include attitudes, actions or verbal generalisations. These may be powerful and explicit, or more subtle. Generalisations can resonate with others and form the foundation of prejudice. This leads to a powerful rejection of people who share certain features. Discrimination can also reproduce and perpetuate through systems and practices.
It is vital to find a way to challenge these prejudices and forms of discrimination. A CAT perspective on this process would centre opposition to prejudice and discrimination in a reflective place. By remaining reflective we are more able to develop an understanding of how prejudices form and survive. We can then more easily resist becoming fixed in a judgemental or closed position.
A core part of our work as therapists is to be aware of our own unconscious responses and biases. By doing so we better equip ourselves to help our patients become reflective about their own. A feeling of equality and openness with the other helps to expand our curiosity about the difficulties with which they are struggling. This helps us to remain in dialogue with the other, rather than arriving at quick answers or suggestions, or feeling overwhelmed.
ACAT is committed to celebrating diversity and working towards the ending of discrimination of any kind. The organisation is mindful of disadvantage and its impact on life chances and opportunity. The CAT model of therapy includes the way social disadvantage, disability, and being part of a minority group can impact on how people feel about themselves and how they experience the world.
As an organisation, we are committed to addressing inequality in our practice, and in the support that we offer to trainees, practitioners and to people seeking therapy.
As an employer and training provider, ACAT is also bound by the 2010 Equalities Act that assures people that they will not be discriminated against on the basis of nine “protected characteristics”-
The Act highlights different forms of discrimination, some of which are overt and unambiguous while others are more inadvertent and unintentional.
Over 2019 and 2020 ACAT invited all members to complete an Equality and Diversity survey
The findings will be used in three ways.
1. To build a picture of the total membership of ACAT which can be monitored over time at regular intervals.
2. To compare characteristics of those in positions of responsibility in ACAT with the characteristics of our general membership to identify possible indirect discrimination.
3.To assist ACAT and its approved training providers in challenging discrimination and disadvantage in the way that individuals access, and progress through, our training courses, and take on roles of responsibility.
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