CAT is a versatile approach to psychological help and there are three main areas of the application of CAT in practice which is reflected in our training:
"CAT is a broadly based psychological therapy focusing on a collaborative educational and therapeutic relationship"
Our introductory courses are not accredited whilst all other levels of training are. Our training courses and training routes emphasise these elements to differing degrees.
Please refer to 'The levels of ACAT accredited training' for information on what each level of training qualifies you to do.
Please scroll to the end of this page for current training courses or click here to jump to the current courses.
The following is an overview of ACAT courses. Please click on the following link for a statement of what each level of training qualifies you to do:
The ACAT official document 'Levels of ACAT accredited training' is available for download from your personal home page (under 'Training' and then 'Training Resources'), and is also listed under 'Policies and official documents' https://www.acat.me.uk/page/policies+and+official+documents
ACAT CAT Introductory workshops are designed to stimulate interest in CAT and keep ACAT members up-to-date. They do not equip someone to offer CAT as a psychological therapy.
These are short, introductory workshops usually of one or two days in length and are intended to outline the philosophy and core concepts of CAT theory and practice for professionally qualified staff who are new to CAT. While certificates of attendance for CPD may be given, the courses are not assessed and do not lead to a qualification. Attending an introductory course is not an absolute requirement for staff wishing to apply for accredited CAT training, but they do give a good idea of what CAT and CAT training involves and applicants for accredited training should demonstrate that they have this level of understanding as preparation for further training [booking via the ACAT website].
"Very good training, learned a lot and inspired further interest!"
"It has been one of the best, informative, useful, understandable and enjoyable training sessions I have ever experienced"
"The whole day - really interesting content and the presentation was excellent - very professional and maintained my interest throughout to the extent that I'm now very motivated to look further into CAT."
ACAT can provide ‘bespoke’ introductory workshops. If your organisation or Trust is interested in hosting a day, please contact Alison Marfell, ACAT Administrator, firstname.lastname@example.org
ACAT accredited courses can be considered in terms of two possible routes or pathways, specifically regarding whether they are likely to lead to a 'CAT career' or not. The CAT Therapist (career route) is for those using CAT in one-to-one therapy roles. The ‘non-career’ route is focused on CAT Case Management Skills, with a contextual focus and suited to generic workers or practitioners not in therapy roles. CAT would be used to enhance your current role.
For those interested in the non-career route (CAT Case Management), ACAT offers a six month course designed for those working in the health and caring professions to acquire a basic understanding of CAT and to apply it to their routine work, rather than to practice CAT as an individual therapy. The training may be delivered to whole teams or to groups of interested individuals and it can be offered in a range of formats, to suit the requirements of the group. These courses aim to enhance skills in team working with complex clients, psychologically informed case management and understanding the impact of working within a context, usually with complex clients. The award is the ACAT Six Month Skills Level Certificate in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) (Case Management). Possible applications include IAPT / SMI - PD case management; secondary care MDT team care CAT informed care co-ordination; specialist e.g. complex cases and forensic settings.
For more information about CAT Skills Trainings please click here.
“It was one of the few things I have attended over the years where I felt I am really learning and developing as a practitioner”
For those interested in the CAT career route to offer CAT as a therapy, there are three levels of training in CAT theory and practice, all ACAT accredited with the option to take a modular route through these levels. The trainings are CAT Foundation, CAT Practitioner / Therapist and CAT Psychotherapist Training Courses.
ACAT has been recognised by the Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) allowing CAT Therapists/Practitioners to use the protected title Psychological Therapist
This two year training aims to develop skills to practice CAT as a 1-1 therapy. It is open to trainees with a core profession and relevant experience. It leads to ACAT accreditation as a CAT therapist / CAT practitioner, allowing the graduate to practice CAT within their core profession. It consists of eight modules over two years consisting of theory, skills and supervised clinical case work and assessed through a six monthly clinical appraisal - four over the 2 year taught course; two clinical case studies and two essays. Trainees must complete a sixteen session CAT training therapy. Entry to the two year course is through application, interview and attendance at a CAT introductory workshop (two days) or equivalent.
For more information about the CAT Therapist / Practitioner Course please click here
“I have enjoyed the course and learned a great deal. I have especially enjoyed the teaching from people who really thoroughly know the model and are clearly motivated to help us learn in a supportive environment. I would highly recommend this course.”
This one year course is equivalent to the year one of a CAT Therapist / Practitioner course in academic and clinical content and written work requirements. The therapy component is a brief personal reformulation experience. This course was designed following an invitation to develop a CAT training for IAPT workers. The Foundation Course is also offered by some DClinPsychol training courses in fulfilment of the British Psychological Society (BPS) requirements for clinical psychologists to train in two models. The award is ACAT Foundation Certificate in CAT Practice. The Foundation Course is modular and has been designed for trainees satisfactorily completing the course to apply to do a second year in any practitioner/therapist training course nationally.
CAT Foundation Courses are occasionally offered and are not run on a regular basis.
For more information about the CAT Foundation Course please click here
"Attending the CAT Foundation Course has enabled me to add a more robust framework to my work as a Psychological Therapist within IAPT - a service where sessions are most definitely time-limited! Equally for my clients it appears to allow them a quicker 'grasp' of past and present relating and behaviour patterns and therefore they can identify the potential for change more easily."
Completion and accreditation as a CAT Therapist / Practitioner is a transition point to further CAT training (psychotherapist UKCP) and ACAT supervisor and trainer development / accreditation. CAT Therapist / Practitioner training is required as a minimum basis for using CAT as a consultancy model, specifically for taking the consultant role; for running CAT groups, for delivering brief reformulation sessions in CAT Skills and Foundation Courses.
The CAT Psychotherapy training course enables CAT Practitioners / Therapists to become Cognitive Analytic Psychotherapists via an additional two-year accredited training which leads to eligibility for full registration with the United Kingdom Council for Psychotherapy (UKCP).
There is currently one Psychotherapy Training within ACAT, which is a two-year residential training (two year course with three residential weeks per year), known as the Interregional Residential ACAT Psychotherapy Training (IRRAPT). Applicants to the Psychotherapy Training must have successfully completed a two-year CAT Practitioner training.
For more information on Psychotherapy Training please click here
“The IRRAPT training has been transformative for me. CAT is now part of who I am and not simply something I do.”
“Doing the IRRAPT (training) has been an experience of being able to read, talk and think with other like-minded people, while learning about yourself through those very relationships. It has expanded and deepened my learning from the practitioner course.”
As a therapeutic model, CAT has always been aware of the need to maintain a focus that is much wider than individual interaction, and that takes into account the societal and cultural context of personal difficulties. Therefore issues of class, race, gender, sexual orientation, and disability, and other differences, particularly in relation to power and social exclusion, are central to CAT. All trainings will conduct themselves with an awareness of the importance of the respect for dialogue and difference in society and will aim to address this throughout the training. All pieces of written work should seek to address them wherever possible. Courses will take into account the extent to which these issues are considered when marking work. This is not simply because it is a moral requirement to address the complex issues of equal opportunities but also in order that a lively and open atmosphere can be promoted within ACAT.
In relation to this ACAT is committed to attracting applicants from as diverse a population as possible, and applications from black and minority ethnic candidates and other minority groups are very much welcomed. ACAT as a member organisation of the UKCP adheres to UKCP/HIPC Equality and Diversity Guidelines.
It is important to note that all trainees undertaking accredited training courses must be supervised by a supervisor who is both accredited by ACAT and a current member of ACAT. For training at Foundation, Practitioner and Psychotherapist level supervision is 15 minutes minimum per client per week for all training cases. Trainees on the Psychotherapy level training must be supervised by an accredited supervisor who is also a CAT Psychotherapist. CATs preferred model is face to face group supervision but circumstances will arise when a group may not be possible for a part of trainee’s training and we explore alternative arrangements. Supervision appraisals are conducted individually.
Most trainees are employed by NHS or statutory organisations, they have access to their own caseload of clients through their workplace. The course helps trainees to organise their own locally based supervision with an ACAT accredited supervisor. Supervision may be accessed through their own workplace if the supervisor is employed in their own organisation; through a clinical placement where trainees see patients from within a NHS Trust or other statutory service in exchange for skilled supervision and the additional experience of being a member of that therapeutic team. Normally this does not involve any direct financial cost to the trainee. In the absence of these arrangements a trainee will need to fund supervision for their training cases. Psychotherapy course trainees may also be seeing patients privately and therefore setting up their own supervisory arrangement with an Accredited CAT supervisor who meets the course requirements.
Reports of the trainees’ clinical practice and use of supervision would usually be completed with each trainee at six monthly intervals by the supervisor. This will allow the trainee an opportunity to make changes where the supervisor identifies areas for development. The reports will include the supervisee’s self-evaluation and a report by the supervisor. The supervisor’s report is carried out in discussion with the trainee and includes evaluation against the core CAT competencies.
Can clinical practise prior to CAT training be counted?
CAT Practitioner trainees can in principle 'count' a maximum of two CAT cases as part of the eight cases needed for training as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). This decision is made on an individual basis towards the end of CAT Practitioner training as it depends if a trainee is on track in terms of their learning and development on the course to meet the competences of CAT practitioner. It is usual that one or two cases are accepted but occasionally a course may suggest that a trainee takes new cases or a trainee may choose to if they are progressing quickly and can see the advantages of doing 8 training cases over the two years. Consequently, we adopt a flexible position. Applicants for training sometimes ask their supervisor to ‘sign off’ a case on the ACAT accreditation form so they have a record but this is not a necessity. These cases need to be supervised by an accredited supervisor and meet all the requirements of a training case.
Therapy and supervision conducted remotely
The use of distance technology assisted supervision and therapy (TAST) was well-embedded in the CAT world prior to March 2020 (Covid-19) and these methods facilitated the development of international trainings. However, CAT training until 2019 had largely been conducted in person. All training cases were conducted in person and supervision was only conducted remotely if trainees had limited access to an accredited supervisor due to location, distance, travel time and to support access to supervisors in specialisms.
The ACAT Training Committee has started to explore TAST. We recognised that there were advantages, for example it encourages positive diversity and equality of access for those who would be at a disadvantage to access training and supervision (e.g. rural locations, physical disability); it assists with the real pressures that trainees face regarding long commutes for weekly face-to-face supervision; and it allows access to a wider range of supervisors, across a variety of specialties, without geographical barriers. However, there were also concerns regarding TAST. Can it maintain the integrity of the relational CAT model for training and supervision? Are supervisors confident to offer online supervision and/or have sufficient understanding of the specific issues that working online involves? And there are security, confidentiality and data protection issues.
Although TAST was growing, the ACAT Training Committee took the view that in-person supervision and group supervision were the recommended format for learning a therapy (i.e. for the training cases). For situations where this is not possible then TAST would be considered for some (but not all) training cases. This would be considered in consultation with Couse Directors on a case-by-case basis. ACAT intended to advise members of information and guidance on TAST, continue to keep abreast of developments, remain open to TAST, and develop knowledge of the safest systems. We would provide information on practical issues to consider when setting up TAST supervision, and a Special Interest Group was established to share learning and support members in this area.
Since March 2020 all aspects of CAT training have been conducted remotely: teaching, therapies, supervision and seminars. Written work has included reflections on working remotely. ACAT remains flexible in responding to this situation and our future training will include blended learning.
Revised December 2020
As CAT is a relational approach, the way therapeutic work impinges on and requires the use of self and self-reflection is a core element of CAT training and supervision. We make a commitment to personal development in order to manage our own selves (roles and procedures) so that personal difficulties are not enacted unhelpfully with our service users in the working environment or on the course. At each level of training, there is a personal therapy component. At CAT Therapist / Practitioner level this is a 16 session CAT; at CAT Skills Case Management and Foundation Course level this involves a brief ‘personal reformulation’ experience; at Psychotherapist level trainees will be expected to commit to an ongoing programme of personal psychotherapy throughout the two years of the training.
To see Appendix 2 Personal Development and Personal Therapy as part of CAT Trainings please click here
Details about Personal Reformulation for Personal and Professional Development will be provided by the course at the start of training.
Alternatively ACAT members can click into ACAT Training Resources to access the downloadable document or please click here
Please click here for more information about embarking on CAT training and further information about eligibility for CAT ‘career route’ training.
CAT Supervisor Training is based upon an apprenticeship model provided by ACAT for experienced CAT practitioners and psychotherapists to progress towards accreditation as a CAT supervisor. All accredited CAT supervisors have completed the ACAT accredited supervisor training. The entry requirements and supervisor training pathway and accreditation can be accessed by ACAT members in Supervisor Training Guidelines and Application.
If you are an ACAT accredited Psychotherapist and also a member of UKCP you will be eligible on ACAT accreditation as a supervisor to join the UKCP Directory of Approved Supervisors as a Recognised Training Supervisor (RTS).
If you are an ACAT Practitioner and you become accredited as a CAT Supervisor you will be eligible to join the HIPC Directory of Approved Supervisors as a Recognised Training Supervisor.
Please click here for a flow chart of ACAT's Courses and Trainings showing the modular structure.
APL as part contribution to CAT training:
Applicants for CAT Practitioner training can in principle 'count' a maximum of two CAT cases as part of the eight cases needed for that training. In exceptional circumstances, individuals may wish to have past training and experience recognised by ACAT as equivalent to its current standards and to count towards an award. Guidelines exist outlining procedures for this route.
For further information on APL and APEL please click here
Courses currently accepting applications are listed below (or via the relevant page accessed by the links)
Please direct any general enquiries about CAT training to Louise Barter, ACAT Training Administrator email@example.com
Revised November 2020
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