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 January
2828th January 2020
CPD Event: The Cognitive Analytic Approach in Physical Health Conditions - offered by Catalyse

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 19 Events

View all courses

28-01-20 The Cognitive Analytic Approach in Physical Health Conditions - offered by CatalyseA one day workshop led by Glenys Parry and Alison Jenaway Hashtag #CAThealth20 Date: Tuesday 28 January 2020 Time: 9:30am to 4:30pm Venue: Lecture Hall, Aintree University Hospital, Liverpool L9 7AL Fee: £120 (please note an additional £...

13-02-20 CPD Day offered by CAT ScotlandUniversity of Glasgow (Sir Alwyn Williams Building) 9.30 for 10.00 am start, ending at 3.30, and followed by the CAT Scotland AGM Professor Helen Minnis (University of Glasgow Department of Child and Adolescent Mental Health) will speak on 'Mal...

24-02-20 How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become PsychologyHow to run a successful private practice: all you need to know. Workshop presented by Dr Robert Watson, Clinical Psychologist, Accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist & Supervisor, & Vice-Chair of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Thera...

28-02-20 ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT#ACATIntro0220 A two-day introduction to the skills and concepts in practice, led by Steve Potter and Annalee Curran This highly-rated short course is offered by ACAT for people new to the CAT way of working. Friday 28th and Saturday 29th Februar...

28-02-20 How to run a successful private practice: all you need to know - offered by Become Psychology~ Workshop presented by Dr Robert Watson, Clinical Psychologist, Accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapist & Supervisor, & Vice-Chair of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy. ~ Relevant for Clinical/Counselling Psychologists, and Psy...

10-03-20 Equality and Diversity SIG MeetingThe next Equality and Diversity SIG meeting is on the 10th of March at 2pm at Training Room, 1st Floor Munro Centre 66 Snowsfields London SE1 3SS All welcome, please email Lorrain to confirm attendance....

12-03-20 CAT 2 Day Introductory Workshop - offered by CNTW NHS Foundation TrustThursday 12th & Friday 13th March 2020 9.30am – 4pm Provided by CNTW Cognitive Analytic Therapy Service, Centre for Specialist Psychological Therapies, Northumberland, Tyne & Wear NHS Foundation Trust VENUE: Training Room 1, Benfield...

16-03-20 Reflective Practice Workshop - offered by TEWVShared Thinking Space: Developing Reflective Mapping Skills Facilitated by Steve Potter and Jenny Marshall Venue: Radisson Blu, Durham This one day workshop offers a reflective space for clinicians working with teams and organisations. The day wil...

17-03-20 Forensic CAT Conference - offered by TEWVInnovations in Working with Offenders: Using a Cognitive Analytic Model Hosted by Ridgeway Hospital, Tees Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust (TEWV) Venue: Radisson Blu, Durham This one day conference considers how Cognitive Analytic Therapy can enable...

26-03-20 Trainers and Supervisors MeetingMore information to follow, potential venue currently being investigated....

22-04-20 Relational Skills in CAT Supervision ResidentialACAT Relational Skills in CAT Supervision Residential #ACATSup20 Holland House, Main Street, Cropthorne, Pershore, WR10 3NB 4.30 pm Wednesday 22nd April to 3.00 pm Friday 24th April 2020 Cost: £330 online booking / £345 cheque or invo...

24-04-20 ACAT: Embodied CAT and TraumaEmbodied CAT and Trauma: Safe Trauma Processing, Inner Attunement and the Development of the Adult Self Presented by John Bristow #CATtrauma20 Date: Friday 24th April 2020 Times: 10 am to 5 pm Cost: ACAT Member &pou...

25-04-20 7th CAT Cumbria EventCAT CUMBRIA aims to increase access to CAT in the Lake District and be a support network for CAT therapists in rural areas. Date & Time: Saturday. April 25th, 2020, 10am – 4.30pm. Venue: Hawkshead, near Ambleside. Overlooking fells and Es...

29-04-20 Introduction to CAT - offered by Jurai Darongkamas and Jeanette McLoughlinTime: 9.30am – 4.30pm Venue: St Martin in the Bull Ring (De bermingham room), Central Birmingham, B5 5BB (1 minute from the Bull/market, a 5 min walk from New Street/Moor Street Stations or Digbeth Coach Station, just by the multi-storey car pa...

01-05-20 Inter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training in Cognitive Analytic TherapyInter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy Applications are invited for the next intake of the Inter-Regional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy, starting in May 2020. Thi...

09-07-20 26th ACAT National Conference 2020#ACATconf20 'Connections, Conflicts and CAT' Now open for Early Bird Booking! Venue: Grand Hotel, Gosforth Park More information to follow. Visit the 'ACAT Conference' area of the website for updates - this can be found via the ma...

10-07-20 Annual General Meeting 2020Advance notice of the ACAT Annual General Meeting 2020 This will be held on Friday, 10th July 2020 at Grand Hotel Gosforth Park, High Gosforth Park, Newcastle, NE3 5HN Items for the agenda to be received by Friday, 15th May 2020. Any queries, plea...

01-10-20 South London CAT Practitioner 2020 - 2022Further details will be added to the website once confirmed...

01-10-20 Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training 2020-2022Manchester based CAT Practitioner training 2 year course This is a two year training comprising a combination of workshops or training days, seminars, peer group work, personal learning, supervision, clinical practice and personal therapy. Experient...


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