Letter from the Chair of ACAT

Hepple, J., 2011. Letter from the Chair of ACAT. Reformulation, Winter, p.4.


I would like to start by thanking Steve, Katri and Dorata for organising a wonderful ICATA conference in Krakow in September. The weather was balmy, which allowed us to enjoy the beautiful squares and café culture of Krakow. This was a truly international conference in the sense that ACAT and the UK delegates took their place as siblings rather than parents (or grand-parents!) alongside the many thriving national CAT organisations that are establishing themselves around the world. Exciting new developments include the consolidation of two non-Athens Greek centres of CAT, an Italian association and the Indian association that will be formed in January 2012. We are hopeful that the next (2013) ICATA conference will be hosted by Luigi Grassi and colleagues in Ferrara in Northern Italy and there are hopes for the 2015 ICATA conference to be in Bangalore.

The international cabaret at the conference dinner, where each national group performed a semi-‘prepared’ entertainment, was an opportunity to indulge in and explode some international stereotypes. We had Italian Opera, Greek dancing, Polish accordion music, Scottish verse, Irish humour, Finnish anarchy, Australian slang, Spanish wit and the Brits…..we offered a very accomplished Stella Compton on the oboe playing Britten, a bit of Shakespeare and a rousing chorus of ‘Let it Be’. It was a good job that most of this song involves repetition of the title itself as knowledge of Beatle’s lyrics proved thin amongst the Brits and almost non-existent further afield. But this, of course, did not matter in the least.

On a serious note, the conference lived up to its academic expectations. It was great to hear from Mikael Leiman and Ian Kerr on the dialogic and social underpinnings of CAT and the discussion and dialogue was creative throughout as the organisers employed a range of participatory techniques including real-time conversation as a form of presentation and at one point the sculpting of reciprocal roles using a range of willing volunteers. The workshops were of high quality and I wish I could have attended more. Perhaps the highlight, however, was Professor Sue Clarke’s presentation of the ‘Dorset Trial’ which is now ready for publication. This is an RCT of 24 session CAT vs Treatment As Usual which has been 10 years in the making. She presented expertly and we were cheered by some very positive outcomes, including some longer-term data. Sue hopes to submit this to the British Journal of Psychiatry and I was delighted that I saw her engaged in dialogue with Andrew Chanen, whose main RCT was published in 2008 in the same journal. We are hopeful that NICE will consider Sue’s data in its 2012 review of the guidelines for Borderline Personality Disorder.

In the ‘gap year’ between the ICATA conferences we have decided to host a more substantial UK ACAT conference which may allow more people to attend as, in the current financial climate, international conferences are proving difficult for delegates to secure funding for. It will be in Manchester from 5th to 7th July and the details are already on the website.

Finally, a word about the new website. We have received much positive feedback about the style and content. Thanks are due to Jon Sloper and his team for the hours of hard work this has entailed. There have been glitches, however, and I must pay tribute to Sue van Baars and Frances Free, the ACAT Administrators for their professionalism and patience in dealing with concerns and problems reported by members. We will continue to improve the functionality of the website and welcome your feedback and comments.

Finally, can I draw your attention to a change in the requirements for supervision for CAT practitioners that was recently agreed at the Training Committee and at the Board of Trustees. This is detailed in a short feature in this edition. The aim is to facilitate the maintenance of CAT CPD adequate for continuing ACAT membership in the case of practitioners working in geographically remote areas where there are not many CAT supervisors around. ACAT hopes to be able to facilitate the matching up of practitioner and supervisor in these cases so if you are having difficulty arranging supervision please let us know at admin@acat.me.uk

Jason Hepple

Full Reference

Hepple, J., 2011. Letter from the Chair of ACAT. Reformulation, Winter, p.4.

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