More information to follow. Speakers will include:

Professor Charles Fernyhough 

'The Voices in Our Heads'

When people are asked to reflect on their conscious experience, they often report that it contains a fair amount of language: the everyday internal conversation that psychologists term inner speech. My interest as a developmental psychologist is in where these words in the head come from, what they are doing there, and what it is like to experience them. Empirical studies of self-directed speech point to it having important cognitive functions. Improved methodologies for studying these phenomena in children and adults support Vygotskian / Lurian conceptions of inner speech as constituting a functional system, whereby initially independent neural systems are ‘wired together’ in new ways by social experience. I present some recent findings relevant to this account, and consider prospects for a cognitive neuroscience of inner speech that is sensitive to its development and phenomenology.

I then consider a less typical experience which is often thought to be symptomatic of severe mental illness: hearing the voice of another person when there is no one speaking (also known as auditory verbal hallucination). A dominant model of voice-hearing holds that it involves a disturbance to the process by which inner speech is attributed to the self. Accounting for the phenomenological richness and varied pragmatics of voice-hearing requires, however, an equally nuanced conception of the functional and structural heterogeneity of the ordinary voices in our heads. I review some key recent findings on voice-hearing and inner speech, and explore their implications for three main areas of enquiry: the paradox of the apparent ubiquity of inner speech, the value of reading some forms of voice-hearing as inner dialogue rather than as atypical communicative acts, and the dynamic interaction in voice-hearing of inner speech and memory.


Charles Fernyhough is a psychologist and writer. The focus of his recent scientific work has been in applying ideas from mainstream developmental psychology to the study of psychosis, particularly the phenomenon of voice-hearing (in which individuals hear voices in the absence of any speaker). He is PI on the interdisciplinary Hearing the Voice project, supported by the Wellcome Trust. He is a Professor of Psychology at Durham University, and is active in outreach and public engagement work on themes relating to his research, with regular contributions to mainstream media. His latest non-fiction book is The Voices Within: The history and science of how we talk to ourselves, published by Profile Books/Wellcome Collection. His other non-fiction books include The Baby in the Mirror: A child’s world from birth to three (Granta, 2008) and Pieces of Light: Memory and its stories (Profile, 2012; shortlisted for the 2013 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books). He is the author of two novels: The Auctioneer (Fourth Estate, 1999) and A Box of Birds (Unbound, 2013). He is the editor of Others (Unbound, 2019), an anthology exploring how books and literature can show us other points of view, with net profits supporting refugee and anti-hate charities.


Dr Karen Scott - to be confirmed

Senior Lecturer in Politics, Exeter University

'The Politics of Wellbeing'

What is politics for if not to improve the lives of citizens?

So wellbeing should be a central concern for government. In the last 15 years there has been growing political interest in defining and measuring wellbeing around the world, with many governments and international organisations committing substantial resources to this. This talk will provide a critical overview of some of this activity and provoke discussions around who decides what wellbeing is and how to measure it? What sort of evidence is used and whose knowledge is included or excluded? What is the impact of these wellbeing agendas, on who?


Karen’s research focuses on the politics of knowledge and evidence for policy. She studies the international interest in measuring wellbeing for public policy particularly in the UK and New Zealand. She has worked in, and alongside, local and central government to improve evidence for public policy on wellbeing and sustainability issues.  She is co-editor for the Palgrave MacMillan book series The Politics and Policy of Wellbeing and her publications include: Measuring Wellbeing: Towards Sustainability (Routledge 2012) and The Politics of Wellbeing: Theory, Policy and Practice (with Prof Ian Bache, Palgrave 2018). Related to this research, she teaches undergraduate courses in the theories and governance of ‘The Good Life’ from classical to contemporary times.

Dr Lawrence Welch - to be confirmed

CAT Psychotherapist

'Dialogue and Diversity'

As human beings we are very diverse, each seeing things either slightly or completely differently alongside connecting socially and learning from someone else’s knowledge.  We ‘simplify’ the complexity of the world through narratives which bring meaning to us. An illustration of this is the therapeutic relationship which is central to the effectiveness of psychotherapy though there is much debate about what is meant by the concept (e.g. Hill C.E. 2017, Norcross 2017)  CAT’s concept of Reciprocal Roles (RRs) provides a powerful framework for understanding this process.  However, like all concepts, there are always ways in which the therapeutic relationship and the idea of RRs can be seen slightly differently, and this can lead to either conflict or development.    Our largely unconscious capacity to communicate our ideas can lead the other to a position of an overly ‘connected’ place or to a dismissive, conflictual place.  The idea of dialogue over our differences provides a space to think about how we can maintain awareness of our own ideas without either becoming overly connected to the other or being trapped in the conflictual space.  I hope in my presentation I can convey the ideas in a dialogical and understandable way!


Dr Lawrence Welch is a founder member of ACAT and of the ACAT North/Catalyse training group.  He completed his PhD on the reliability, validity and process of reformulation in 2010.  He worked as a psychotherapist in the NHS since 1996 with his last five years as a Consultant Psychotherapist in North Tyneside Psychological Therapies Services before being made redundant in December 2014.  He has a special interest in the relationship between the macro political issues and the micro psychological experience

Caroline Dower

CAT Practitioner

Richard Wilkinson

Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School

'How inequality comes between us’

This lecture will focus on the psychological effects of large income differences between rich and poor.  It will show how inequality undermines feelings of self-worth, damages social relationships, and contributes to the heavy burden of stress and mental illness in rich developed countries.  The material is taken from the The Inner Level, the new book by Wilkinson and Pickett, which shows that inequality is not merely about economics and living standards, but affects us all intimately, changing the nature of social life and reducing levels of confidence.  It describes some of the social and psychological processes which lead to the increased rates of health and social problems shown in their earlier book, The Spirit Level.


Richard Wilkinson studied economic history and the philosophy of science at the London School of Economics before training in epidemiology. He is now Professor Emeritus of Social Epidemiology at the University of Nottingham Medical School, Honorary Professor at University College London and Visiting Professor at the University of York.  His early research on the causes of health inequalities resulted in the British Government setting up the inquiry which, in 1980, produced the Black Report on Inequalities in Health and stimulated the development of research internationally in the field. Since then his books and research papers have drawn attention to the tendency for societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor to suffer a heavier burden of health and social problems.

Two of his books have been the subject of documentary films – The Great Leveller (for the Channel 4 TV’s Equinox series broadcast in 1996) was based on his Unhealthy Societies.  The Divide (based on The Spirit Level) was released in April 2016 (available on Netflix).  The Spirit Level, written with Kate Pickett is now in 24 languages.  It won the 2011 Political Studies Association Publication of the Year Award and the 2010 Bristol Festival of Ideas Prize.  His TED talk ‘How economic inequality harms societies’ has been watched over 3 million times.  In 2013 Richard Wilkinson (with Kate Pickett) received Solidar’s Silver Rose Award and the 2014 Irish Cancer Society’s Charles Cully Memorial medal.  In 2017 Wilkinson was The Australian Society for Medical Research’s medallist of the year. In 2018 he and Kate Pickett published their latest book, called The Inner Level: how more equal societies reduce stress, restore sanity and improve everyone’s wellbeing

In the last few years he has given many hundreds of conference addresses and media interviews round the world, including at WHO, the EU, OECD, IADB and the World Bank.

Steve Potter

'Divided selves in a divisive world.   How the conversational process of CAT mapping can combine emotional healing with relational awareness and an outwardly social story of the self'

There is an emotional healing process when conversationally mapping our patterns of relating side-by-side in therapy or reflective practice.  In such a process transference and trauma need working with as two sides of the same relational coin.   Using examples with CAT colleagues this plenary presentation will offer relational maps and examples of some of the divisive processes in contemporary societies and look afresh at the ideas of a divided self (James, Fromm, Winnicott, Laing, Bromberg) using the ideas of reciprocal roles and multiple self-states.  Therapists in any approach can learn to use the tools of CAT mapping to formulate the relational awareness that can understand, heal and, if necessary, live within a divided self.    We need ways (CAT offers them) to supervise moments when the deepest parts of our sense of self are being pulled in, attacked, overlooked or burdened and we cope by developing a divided self


Steve Potter is a CAT psychotherapist who teaches and supervises on different courses in the UK and internationally.  He is based in London.

Henrietta Batchelor & Anna Jellema

“Working with Couples – is CAT enough?”

In the early days of developing Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Anthony Ryle published a book chapter on ‘Couple Therapy’, in which he suggested that object relations theory (ORT) concepts are likely to be helpful in couple work. We suggest that this thinking got somewhat lost as Ryle developed CAT for individuals. In this presentation we ask whether we should take Ryle’s earlier thinking more seriously when offering CAT to couples, and make more use of ORT within the overall “scaffolding” of CAT.

While many couples may be helped by CAT, in some cases the intensity of feelings in the room and reciprocal role enactments, plus the number, complexity and primitive nature of the transferences, may just overwhelm the CAT process. This can be very disturbing for therapists as well as clients. We will illustrate this with some examples from our own clinical work with couples. 

Drawing on our shared background in Relate, we will outline some key psychoanalytic concepts and systemic ideas about the nature of the role boundaries between members of a couple, to help CAT therapists deepen their understanding of managing and helping more disturbed couples. Working with individuals may also be enriched by making use of some of these ideas in our regular CAT practice. We will also address the relevance of Attachment Theory to couples, with its emphasis on the importance of the “secure base” and “safe haven”, and think about how an understanding of attachment dynamics can help contain acting-out within a CAT therapy.


Henrietta Batchelor is a retired Consultant Psychotherapist now working in private practice as a clinician, supervisor, ACAT examiner and moderator. For many years she worked in Relate and later set up an NHS Relationship and Sexual Difficulties Clinic before moving on to a post in Women’s Health Psychology in Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust. Whilst most of her clients present individually with difficulties, she has remained interested in couple work and how CAT can be used to help them – and when other models seem to be more appropriate.

Anna Jellema is a Clinical Psychologist and ACAT Psychotherapist, now retired from the NHS and working in private practice as a therapist and ACAT supervisor. She is the former Course Director for the NTW (now CNTW) CAT Practitioner Training which started in Sunderland and is now based in Newcastle.  Anna worked in Relate along with Henrietta for many years, and has continued to see some couples and supervise couple work in her private practice.


ACAT Calendar for September
22nd September 2020
CPD Event: ACAT: Mapping the new normal for work teams
44th September 2020
Special Interest Group Event: Considering the Adolescent Self in Working with Adults using CAT
1010th September 2020
CPD Event: ACAT: CAT is a Narrative Therapy
1414th September 2020
CPD Event: ACAT: A CAT Approach to Working with People with ASD
2525th September 2020
ACAT AGM: Annual General Meeting 2020
CPD Event: ACAT: AGM Workshops
3030th September 2020
CPD Event: CAT as a Tool for Leadership - offered by Catalyse

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ACAT Administrator:Alison Marfell

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News from ACAT

AGM 2020 - Papers & Voting by Proxy The booklet containing the agenda, accounts, and reports is available to download from the ACAT website. Voting by Proxy is now open....

Revised edition of Introducing CAT by Tony Ryle and Ian Kerr published Revised edition of Introducing CAT by Tony Ryle and Ian Kerr published...

New book - Therapy with a Map by Steve Potter Discount code for ACAT members...

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