More about CAT

CAT is an integrative model of human development and of psychotherapy drawing on ideas as mentioned below. It is a fundamentally relational model, both in its view of human development and in its practice of psychotherapy. At its heart is an empathic, respectful and collaborative, meaning-making relationship between the client and therapist within the therapeutic boundaries.

What are the origins of CAT?

CAT was developed in the early 1980’s by Dr Anthony Ryle at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital in London. CAT developed as a public health response to the mental health needs of a busy inner London area, and this concern with access and equity remains at the heart of the model. He felt it important to offer a short-term focussed therapy for use in the health service; a therapy that integrated the best of different approaches to people’s problems and that could be researched and refined with the growing experience of clients and therapists.

Theoretically, CAT draws on:

  • Psychoanalytic concepts of conflict, defence, object relations and counter transference (particularly from Donald Winnicott). 
  • Ideas from activity theory and dialogism introduced by Lev Vygotsky and Mikhail Bakhtin.  (Dialogism is a particularly kind of dialogue, not limited to two people speaking to each other, but to the whole way in which we act towards each other and expect each other to act towards us.)
  • George Kelly's Personal Construct Theory and work with repertory grids; a focus on how people make sense of their world ("man as scientist") and on common sense, co-operative work with patients. 
  • From cognitive approaches involving step by step planning and measurement of change; teaching patients self-observation of moods, thoughts and symptoms.

What sort of problems can CAT help with?

CAT tries to focus on what a person brings to the therapy (‘target problems’) and the deeper patterns of relating that underlie them. It is less concerned with traditional psychiatric symptoms, syndromes or labels.

CAT has been widely used to help people who have experienced childhood physical, emotional or sexual abuse, neglect and trauma, including people who self-harm. CAT is also used with people with eating disorders, addiction problems (like drugs and alcohol), obsessional problems, anxiety, depression, phobias, psychosis and bipolar illness. CAT therapists also work with adolescents, older people and people with learning difficulties, and in forensic settings.

CAT is mostly offered to individuals, but it can also be used effectively with couples, in groups and to help teams understand the ‘system’ in which they work – an approach called ‘contextual reformulation’.

What Qualifications Can I Expect the Therapist to Have?

ACAT can confirm that all the therapists listed on the ACAT Register are accredited CAT Practitioners or Psychotherapists.

CAT Practitioners usually have either core training as a mental health professional (e.g. as a Psychiatrist, Psychologist, Nurse, Social Worker or Occupational Therapist,) with a minimum of two years post-qualification experience, or previous training in counselling to an accredited level followed by a two year training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy with accreditation following successful completion.

CAT Psychotherapists have qualified as CAT Practitioners and have undertaken an additional in-depth two year training leading to this qualification.

To search the register for an Accredited CAT Therapist click here.

To find an Accredited Private CAT Therapist click here.

Both CAT Practitioners and CAT Psychotherapists count as Psychological Therapists in the Centre for Workforce Intelligence Review

CfWI ReportThe Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) recently completed a Department of Health commissioned review of adult psychological therapies to improve workforce planning. It has recommended a consensus definition of what a psychological therapist is across all therapy modalities and provides data on what is currently known about this workforce - the focus is on non-IAPT services. The report is intended for policymakers and decision-makers across the NHS. ACAT took part in the consultations and we believe this is an important review from ACAT's perspective.

We are pleased that in April 2013, ACAT was accepted as one of the professional bodies currently providing training for psychological therapists. Importantly, the CfWI definition of a psychological therapist includes CAT Practitioners as well as CAT Psychotherapists, and CAT Practitioners are included within existing workforce numbers in the CfWI report.

The report can be found through this link   http://www.cfwi.org.uk/publications/improving-workforce-planning-for-the-psychological-therapies-workforce/

ACAT Calendar for October
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55th October 2020
CPD Event: Polyvagal theory, oxytocin and neurobiology of love - offered by ITACAT
CPD Event: Online Psychotherapy: An intro to relational and practical considerations - run by Become Psychology
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88th October 2020
ACAT AGM: ACAT Annual General Meeting 2020 - to reconvene
99th October 2020
CPD Event: ACAT: Embodied CAT and Trauma
CPD Event: ACAT: Negotiating the therapeutic alliance - Webinar
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2020th October 2020
CPD Event: Technology-Assisted Cognitive Analytic Therapy - offered by Catalyse
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2828th October 2020
CPD Event: Free event to celebrate black history month
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Contact Details

ACAT Administration Manager:Maria Cross

ACAT Administrator:Alison Marfell

ACAT Financial Administrator:Louise Barter

Postal Address:ACAT
PO Box 6793
Dorchester
DT1 9DL
United Kingdom

Phone:+44(0) 1305 263 511

Email:admin@acat.me.uk

Office Hours:Monday to Friday
9am to 5pm

Our Next 18 Events

31st October 2020
Inter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy

12th November 2020
ACAT: Process mapping in therapy and reflective practice

16th November 2020
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT

18th November 2020
ACAT: Relational Skills in CAT Supervision

18th November 2020
ACAT: Relational Skills in CAT Supervision

27th November 2020
Two Day Introduction to CAT - offered by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

27th November 2020
Integrating EMDR into CAT - offered by CAT South West SIG

9th December 2020
ACAT: Process mapping in therapy and reflective practice

21st January 2021
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT Online

1st March 2021
Newcastle CAT Practitioner Training

5th March 2021
Rich to Poor: Mental Health in an Unequal World - offered by Sussex NHS Partnership Foundation Trust

24th March 2021
ACAT: Trainers and Supervisors Meeting

26th March 2021
2 Day Introduction to CAT - offered by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

23rd April 2021
South London CAT Practitioner 2021 - 2023

14th May 2021
CAT, Consciousness and a Relational Self - offered by Sussex Partnership NHS FTNHS

20th May 2021
26th ACAT National Conference 2021

21st May 2021
Annual General Meeting 2021

1st September 2021
Brighton CAT Practitioner Training

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