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/

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2424th August 2022
CAT Introductory Event: ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT - Online
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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:Click for details

Email:admin@acat.me.uk

Office Hours:Monday to Friday
9am to 5pm

Our Next 14 Events

24th August 2022
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT - Online

2nd September 2022
South Wales CAT Practitioner Training 2022-2024-applications temporarily open

7th September 2022
Ten Key Skills in Talking with a Map - offered by Map and Talk

16th September 2022
ACAT: CAT, Consciousness and a Relational Self

16th September 2022
ACAT: CAT Consciousness and a Relational Self

16th September 2022
Introduction to the Principles and Practice of Environmental Arts Therapy offered by CAT Scotland

6th October 2022
Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training 2022-2024

13th October 2022
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT - Online

28th October 2022
Working Affirmatively with Gay, Lesbian, and Bisexual Clients - offered by Sussex Partnership NT

4th November 2022
Embodiment of Reciprocal Roles - offered by Caroline Dower

17th November 2022
2-day face to face workshop in CAT Supervisor Training - offered by Catalyse

17th November 2022
2-day face to face workshop in CAT Supervisor Training - offered by Catalyse

24th November 2022
ACAT: Two Day Introduction to CAT - Online

21st April 2023
Annual General Meeting

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