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

ACAT Calendar for February
1313th February 2020
CPD Event: CPD Day offered by CAT Scotland
2424th February 2020
CPD Event: How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become Psychology
2828th February 2020
CAT Introductory Event: ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT
CPD Event: How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become Psychology

Contact Details

ACAT Administration Manager:Maria Cross

ACAT Administrator:Alison Marfell

ACAT Financial Administrator:Louise Barter

Postal Address:ACAT
PO Box 6793
United Kingdom

Phone:+44(0) 1305 263 511

Office Hours:Monday to Friday
9am to 5pm

Our Next 25 Events

28th February 2020
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT

28th February 2020
How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become Psychology

10th March 2020
Equality and Diversity SIG Meeting

12th March 2020
CAT 2 Day Introductory Workshop - offered by CNTW NHS Foundation Trust

13th March 2020
An Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy - offered by Sussex Partnership NHS Trust

16th March 2020
Reflective Practice Workshop - offered by TEWV

17th March 2020
Forensic CAT Conference - offered by TEWV

20th March 2020
IRRAPT Fundraising Workshop - offered by Cheryl Delisser and Clive Turpin

21st March 2020
How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become Psychology

25th March 2020
Considering the Adolescent Self in Working with Adults using CAT - offered by the CAT SW SIG

26th March 2020
ACAT: Trainers and Supervisors Meeting

30th March 2020

17th April 2020
Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy: A three day course - offered by Norfolk and Suffolk NHS

22nd April 2020
ACAT: Relational Skills in CAT Supervision Residential

22nd April 2020
ACAT: Relational Skills in CAT Supervision Residential

24th April 2020
ACAT: Embodied CAT and Trauma

25th April 2020
7th CAT Cumbria Event

29th April 2020
Introduction to CAT - offered by Jurai Darongkamas and Jeanette McLoughlin

1st May 2020
Inter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy

4th May 2020
ACAT: Negotiating the therapeutic alliance

9th July 2020
26th ACAT National Conference 2020

10th July 2020
Annual General Meeting 2020

25th September 2020
Polyvagal theory, oxytocin and neurobiology of love - offered by ITACAT

1st October 2020
South London CAT Practitioner 2020 - 2022

1st October 2020
Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training 2020-2022


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