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 May
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33rd May 2018
CAT Introductory Event: Introduction to CAT - a 2 day course offered by Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust
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1212th May 2018
CPD Event: CAT and helping clients with unmanageable feelings - offered by CAT South
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2222nd May 2018
CPD Event: Life is about collecting stories - offered by Collaborate
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2424th May 2018
CAT Introductory Event: ACAT Two-Day Introduction to CAT
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3030th May 2018
CPD Event: Embodiment, Relational Space & Working with Trauma to the Sense of Self - offered by Catalyse
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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 12 Events

View all courses

22-05-18 Life is about collecting stories - offered by Collaborate#CATnarr18 Life is about collecting stories - what do yours say? A one-day workshop exploring the use of ideas from Narrative Therapy to add a new richness to your practice of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Narrative therapy This form of thera...

24-05-18 ACAT Two-Day Introduction to CATIf you are interesting in attending a similar workshop, please email alison.marfell@acat.me.uk Introducing Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) #ACATintro518 A two-day introduction to the skills and concepts in practice, led by Steve Potter and Annale...

30-05-18 Embodiment, Relational Space & Working with Trauma to the Sense of Self - offered by Catalyse#CATerst18 A two-day workshop with Tim Sheard Overview of workshop: This workshop focuses on how engaging with our own embodiment as therapists may enhance our relational capacities and help free up stuck and overwhelming processes when working wi...

15-06-18 Two's company, is three a crowdTwo's company, is three a crowd? Including intimate others in sessions of individual CAT Presented by Alison Jenaway and Rajshree Weston #ACAT2318 Overview of the workshop: To consider the different ways of including intimate others in ind...

22-06-18 Series of 4 workshops - CAT Embodied Relationship and Therapeutic Space#CATembody A series of four two-day workshops Presented by Tim Sheard Dates: 22 & 23 June 2018, 12 & 13 October 2018, 8 & 9 February 2019, 17 & 18 May 2019 Times: 10.30am to 5.30pm Fridays, 9.00am to 4.00pm Sat...

05-07-18 24th Annual ACAT Conference 2018 24th Annual ACAT Conference 2018 Therapist authenticity, creativity and use of positive resources in cognitive analytic therapy Thursday 5th to Saturday 7th July 2018, Keele University Conference Hashtag: #ACATconf18 This page contains book...

06-07-18 ACAT's Annual General Meeting 2018Notice of ACAT's Annual General Meeting 2018 Friday, 6th July 2018 | 4.30 to 5.30 pm Westminster Theatre, Chancellor’s, Keele University, Keele, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG And Request for Nominations to the Board of Trustees Agenda items t...

20-07-18 Exploring Issues of 'Race', Culture & Language within a CAT Framework - offered by Catalyse#CATrcl18 "Exploring Issues of ‘Race’, Culture & Language within a CAT Framework" led by Jessie Emilion, CAT Psychotherapist & Supervisor Overview of workshop: This day offers an opportunity to develop confidence and s...

06-09-18 NTW CAT Practitioner Training 2018 - 2020NTW CAT Practitioner Training 2018 - 2020 This is a two-year in-service training leading to accreditation as a CAT Practitioner by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT). Our training programme enables staff already qualified in a co...

14-09-18 ACAT Two Day Introduction to CAT#ACATintro918 ACAT Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy A two-day introduction to the skills and concepts in practice This highly-rated, short course is offered by ACAT for people new to the CAT way of working Friday, 14th and Saturday, 15t...

01-10-18 South London (formerly St Thomas’) Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Practitioner TrainingSouth London (Formerly St Thomas’) Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Practitioner Training Course Course Introduction 21st/22nd September 2018 Course commences October 2018 and ends July 2020 Organised by The Association for Cognitive Analytic...

04-10-18 CAT North Practitioner Training 2018-2020Catalyse / CAT North Practitioner Training - October 2018 (Manchester) A two-year training course in Manchester offered by Catalyse / CAT North commencing 4th October 2018. The course is for people with a core mental health profession leading to the...

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