International CAT News

Potter, S., 2010. International CAT News. Reformulation, Summer, pp.51-52.


At the Third International Conference at the University of Bath in England in July 2009 the International Cognitive Analytic Therapy Association (ICATA) was formally launched.

Since its early days of development in London CAT has attracted international interest. It is well established in Finland, Australia, Spain, Greece (Thessalonika and Patras) and Ireland. At our first international conference in Joensu in Finland as guests of FinCAT in 2003 we resolved to establish an international association. The idea of internationalism and CAT was firmly kept alive at the second international conference in Maynooth in Ireland. The third international conference in England provided a great opportunity to celebrate the development of CAT internationally and confirm our shared standards and values.

According to its constitution

(http://www.acat.me.uk/international_cat.php) the aims of the International Association are:

(I) To establish and develop Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) as an approach to understanding and relieving psychological distress in the many contexts of human suffering, disturbance and disadvantage around the world with particular reference to mental health.

(II) To promote, research and extend the practice, application, training, regulation and development of Cognitive Analytic Therapy as a method of psychological therapy and psychotherapy in the countries of the world.

(III) To promote the highest standards of clinical and ethical CAT practice.

(IV) To promote the training, support and accreditation, of Therapists, Supervisors and Trainers in CAT.

(V) To promote the establishment of national (or where appropriate combinations of nations closely linked by geography or shared interests) associations for cognitive analytic therapy working to democratic, transparent and collaborative principles.

In this context we want to keep close to the founding ideas of CAT to work in an open, pragmatic dialogue around the world giving respect to both client and therapist in the challenging task of working at therapeutic change or delivering psychologically and socially informed mental health interventions.

ACAT in the UK has kindly agreed to host pages for the International Association on its website. On these pages there will be details of developments in CAT around the world, developments in training, requests for help, supervision and training and a forum for discussion of issues relating to international training.

Interest in CAT is developing in Chile, New Zealand, Bulgaria, Poland and Italy. Enquiries to develop CAT come from all parts of the world including the USA, Denmark, South Africa, Canada, Sri Lanka, India and Bermuda.

In the past year an executive group of ICATA comprising representatives from Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Greece, Spain, Ireland, Finland, UK and Poland have been meeting by telephone conference to further develop the International Association and its work. ACAT has representation through Annalee Curran and Steve Potter both of whom are trustees of ACAT. Ian Kerr is secretary of the International Association. National associations are now developing training programmes according to international training guidelines which parallel those in the UK but offer more modularity in a stage one and two to the practitioner training rather than a separate free standing skills certificate. The guidelines are available on the International CAT web pages.

The role of the ICATA executive group is to develop, agree, support and monitor new national programmes and encourage the formation of national associations. Australia and New Zealand have recently and formally launched ANZACAT and Greece, with its two approved centres of training in Patras and Thessalonika, are in the process of a forming a national association. Poland has formed an association and is in the middle of a stage one training programme. Italy and Spain will shortly follow. There is a very well established association in Finland and extensive training programme and similarly in Ireland there is a well established group of graduates from Irish and UK trainings and a national association. Each group is developing programmes of training to the level of stage one (equivalent to year one of the practitioner training) with reference to ICATA standards. As each national group develops it will build up the level of training to practitioner or psychotherapist equivalent according to local conditions. Forthcoming plans are for a small meeting in the Autumn 2010 to consolidate the work of ICATA and for a fourth international conference in Poland at the end of September 2011. We also hope to have one or two telephone conference seminars and develop shared teaching material.

If you know of people interested and there is no activity in their country let us know by emailing internationalcat@acat.me.uk

What are the opportunities ahead?

We think the following are possible in the forthcoming year or two:

  • Telephone conference: seminars, supervision, lectures, case discussions and master classes (we will pilot one or two and see how well they work)
  • ICATA website (web pages on the ACAT website initially with gratitude to ACAT UK)
  • International CAT Journal (we will be looking for links to set up an editorial board)
  • Joint research
  • Web based teaching materials for international use
  • Developing multilingual workshops
  • Training and supervision for travel and expenses only in countries where CAT could have an impact but funds are very limited
  • A register of qualified CAT practitioners with fluency in languages other than English (now available on the ACAT website)

What are the dangers ahead?

  • We don’t want to create an international bureaucracy or imperialism. We recognise that CAT’s strength is its collaborative approach and it must encourage a collaborative, multi-professional and democratic culture in national associations.
  • Can CAT be misrepresented or practiced in ways at odds with its values? This is our main concern rather than a concern to lay down one way of doing CAT.
  • If CAT is known for the quality and depth of its training can this be sustained whilst making it more widely and easily available?

Those who have been working over the past year to establish the association are:

Steve Potter, Annalee Curran, Ian Kerr - UK, Carlos Mirapeix, Iñigo Tolosa - Spain Louise McCutcheon -Australia, Marisol Cavieres - New Zealand, Iannis Vlachos, Avarella Adamopoulou - Greece, Angela Mohan, Aisling White – Ireland, Stephan Salenius, Mikael Leiman – Finland, Jacek Sochackie and Dorota Plonska - Poland.

Signatories to the constitution are:

Steve Potter, Ian Kerr, Mark Westacott (UK), Angela Mohan, Debbie Russell Carroll, (Ireland) Carols Mirapeix, Inigo Tolosa (Spain) Andrew Chanen, Louise McCutcheon (Australia), Marisol Cavieres (New Zealand) Iannis Vlachos, (Greece) Stephan Salenius (Finland)

This group compromise the executive group and Steve Potter agreed to be Chairperson, Louise McCutcheon Vice Chairperson and Ian Kerr, secretary. The executive committee meet by telephone conference bi-monthly and comprise the above officers and delegates from each national association. It is anticipated that in this first year a number of associations will slowly become more formally and actively constituted (as has now happened with Australia/New Zealand.

Steve Potter

Full Reference

Potter, S., 2010. International CAT News. Reformulation, Summer, pp.51-52.

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