Letter from the Chair

Hepple, J., 2015. Letter from the Chair. Reformulation, Winter, p.6.


I am writing this having just returned from the 6th ICATA International Conference in Patras, Greece. Despite doubts about the numbers pre-booked, there were a hundred delegates there at the peak and the event was a big success intellectually, clinically and socially. It was good to see such enthusiasm for CAT amongst the local Greek psychologists and psychiatrists and I hope that some of you may think about offering some teaching if you are passing in the future. Thanks to Iannis Vlachos, Chair of HELLASCAT for a great conference. Steve Potter stood down as Chair of ICATA at the Executive Committee meeting and is succeeded by Katri Kanninen from Finland. Steve has contributed so much to promoting CAT around the world and I am sure that Katri will make ICATA even more successful in the future.

Congratulations also to Caroline Dower, Alison Jenaway and Maria Cross for organising a very successful ACAT annual Conference in June at Birkbeck College. Next year’s conference is to be at Exeter University from 23rd to 25th June 2016 and the Council of Management and Board of Trustees have selected the programme organisers as Mandy Wildman, Andrea Daykin and Malinder Bhullar on the theme of ‘CAT - Resilience in the Face of Change.’ Thank you to the other groups who submitted themes. We hope you will consider resubmitting next year as there was an unusual amount of interest this time. Back in the UK, ACAT has exciting developments on a number of fronts. We are making good progress in embedding our one year CAT foundation course in a number of D.Clin.Psych. courses across the country, which will greatly increase CAT awareness amongst clinical psychologists, many of whom, it is hoped, will go on to complete CAT Therapist / Practitioner training (as it is now called since the AGM) and some may go on to be the CAT researchers of the future. Thanks to Dawn Bennett for leading this. We have the Quinquennial review of our trainings by UKCP next year and strategically we are hoping to forge closer links with UKCP in the future. The Board and Council of Management have put on hold our PSA application due to the very substantial cost of this and the possibility that we can negotiate some form of UKCP membership for our CAT Therapists / Practitioners. This may obviate the need for ACAT to have a separate PSA membership, as UKCP have already achieved this. We will consult all members about this once the options are clearer.

CAT is now firmly established as a specialist intervention in IAPTSMS personality disorder and we have completed both the CAT competencies and learning outcomes in liaison with Tony Roth at U.C.L., with the possibility of CATspecific supervision competencies in the near future. The inclusion in IAPT-SMI personality disorder will make a big difference to the way CAT is seen by commissioners across the UK and is probably the most important development for CAT in the last twenty years.

I have presented the ‘CAT at 30’ paper at several venues in the last year, including a CAT symposium at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress in Birmingham with Mark Evans, Steve Kellett, and Stephen DeSouza (despite CAT now being technically 31). We are forging more links with other charitable and third sector organisations and have delivered training for the National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC) and will be offering similar to the Family Mediators’ Association. These ventures help fulfil our charitable objectives and get CAT better known in circles that may promote our cause with commissioners and grant-making bodies. We are also developing CAT understanding as a method of conflict resolution in non-clinical settings and Ruth Carson and myself have just completed a pilot session for Mersey Care, which attracted many managers and human resource professionals.

The issue of ACAT’s involvement in the larger political arena was brought up at the AGM and the Trustees promised to both reply to the letter about the Charity Commission restrictions on political campaigning and also to propose ways of increasing political debate within ACAT. The response and detailed proposals for consultation with members are published in this edition of Reformulation and the latter will also be e-mailed to members. This venture into the political arena has, predictably, provoked conflict and polarisation of views that have been reformulated by our Honorary President, Tony Ryle, who leads the response from the Trustees and Council of Management. It has been upsetting for the Trustees to be cast in an oppressive role when we felt we were trying our best to protect ACAT. It was particularly uncomfortable when noticed the letter from 17 members in the proof version of the last edition of Reformulation. It seemed that the open thing to do was to go along with its publication but we were left temporarily voiceless and feeling hijacked; without the ability to respond directly. We have had to wait for this edition of Reformulation to offer considered reflection and constructive ideas as to the way forward as promised. As with all conflict, the past becomes a matter of dispute, so in our response we have not sought to lay out any form of defence based on the many e-mails and minutes of meetings that have documented process of the conflict. Instead we hope that we have offered a multi-voiced reflection and reformulation, owned our shortcomings and put forward substantial proposals for a way forward. I hope that ACAT can now put its energy into the consultation on the proposals and that we can begin to go forward together into the New Year.

On a sad note, at the ICATA conference we marked the tragic death of Inigo Tolosa with a minute’s silence, and we also remembered another dear colleague, Angela Mohan who died last year. Angela hosted the second ICATA conference and, aided by a team of daughters, looked after us so well in Dublin , and I was so sorry not to be able to see her again in Patras. My condolences to her family and friends. I hope you enjoy this edition of Reformulation under the very capable new editorship of Nicola Kimber-Rogal and Louise Yorke, and please note that the crossword has a rollover prize (this is probably the best prize of any known crossword) so give it a go!

My best wishes to you all for Christmas and the New Year.

Full Reference

Hepple, J., 2015. Letter from the Chair. Reformulation, Winter, p.6.

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