The 16 + 1 interview

Crowley, V., 2014. The 16 + 1 interview. Reformulation, Summer, p.52.


  1. Welcome to the interview - how are you doing?
    I’m very well, thanks, and here I am cooking for you and you’re getting me to do this!
  2. In another life I would have been a… ?
    Cat!! As I do CAT, I don’t have to be a different animal do I? I like how cats are independent and their ability to enjoy the good things of life. They always know where the sun is and they sit in their favourite spot and they think the house is theirs and they let you live in it! Cats adapt to change better than other animals.
  3. Freud, Jung or Pavlov?
    Jung, because he was more open than Freud and more willing to look at the messy bits. But I’m a bit wary of Jung’s detachment; Jung struck me as someone who wrestled with things like Freud did, but Jung was more fl exible.
  4. Desert island luxury?
    Some sort of water like an infi nity pool, with a huge vista and a Jacuzzi.
  5. Bach, Mahler or Radiohead?
    Mahler; I really like the sound of the name ‘Mahler’.
  6. Greatest hero / heroine?
    I don’t know as I don’t tend to get into heroines; I think I have done so many years trying to persuade people that ‘okay is good enough’ that I get into more of a ‘battered journeyman’ than a hero.
  7. Cat, dog or Nintendo?
    Cats: I have always had cats. When my children went to visit someone in a new house and they had a cat, my children felt it was a safe place. Now, as adults, when they visit me, they fi rst check out the cats. We’ve always had to have a ginger cat called Jock, so we’ve had Jock I and Jock II and we are now on Jock III.
  8. Dream meal?
    Some really delicious fi sh, especially langoustines (which are shell fi sh), that would be a nice starter. The main course would be some really tasty meat like Venison done with a nice sauce and roasted potatoes and then dessert would be something like a passion fruit pavlova.
  9. Who are you in the ‘CAT Village’?
    A Grand-parent! I think I have done something over the years, in taking up CAT to fi nd a voice. People with learning disabilities do not have a voice and people with psychosis have too many voices, and I didn’t know what to do. With CAT, people have found their voices; we don’t have to prove anything in learning disability CAT, we just go into the room and start the conversation. Hate crimes and exploitation of people with learning disabilities is so prevalent and we are only fi nding out now how prevalent this is. I haven’t always seen the community as caring! I think that what we learnt from people with learning disabilities is about helping them to deal with trauma, such as domestic violence, before they have language. The foetus is far more aware and alert than originally supposed, and hears its siblings’ voices.
  10. Why did you become a psychotherapist?
    To be able to work with what is going on in the room. I started out using Beck’s CBT model and Kelly’s constructs, but with people with learning disabilities I knew there was stuff going on in the room and CBT did not offer a way of working with this. So I needed to learn psychotherapy, but I didn’t want analysis, and when someone introduced me to CAT I knew it would be good for people with learning disabilities and people with psychosis.
  11. Who has been the biggest infl uence on the way you work?
    I can think of clients who have been really infl uential; especially their courage and how they hold onto hope. We have to disappointment them inevitably, but even in the direst circumstances, people do struggle to deal with what life has brought them. My supervisor, my own therapist and my peer groups are also very infl uential.
  12. Recommended reading?
    To be fair, I would say the CAT Introductory books, as these give an opportunity to work with people with severe trauma using a respectful and non-collusive therapy.
  13. What do you hope to achieve with clients?
    I don’t know if I help people, but I am trying not to damage them even further; it is a privilege that people will come to therapy and strive to understand.
  14. How do you try to achieve this?
    I think I have realised that the more it is diffi cult, the more you need to work with what is going on in the room and what is driving this. When you start to feel totally inadequate, having that sensitivity to understand this, (not that you enjoy someone’s misery), but it is about staying in the very simple present moment.
  15. What is your number one CAT concept?
    To be with
  16. What do you see as a challenge for CAT in the future?
    I don’t; we are always going to be destroyed and then we pop up again! I really trust the CAT model; it is such a good model that helps people work naturally with the process in a non-collusive relationship. CAT has helped people fi nd their words, not just clients, but also carers, families and systems and everyone can get something from CAT.

Follow/Up: What question do you wish we had asked?

I suppose, how does it feel now to be retired but still doing some work? How do I ensure that I continue to develop my skills? I hope I will know when it is time to go!! We can learn so much more about old age and all the psychological processes there.

Thank you and Goodbye!

Full Reference

Crowley, V., 2014. The 16 + 1 interview. Reformulation, Summer, p.52.

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