Catch up with CAT

Potter, S., Curran, A., 2008. Catch up with CAT. Reformulation, Summer, p.54.


refresher course in the basics of CAT for experienced practitioners

We have done this CPD training day for qualified and experienced practitioners three times now and it has been very well received by participants and rewarding to offer. It is particularly interesting to see that as we go through the basics of CAT there is a fair degree of consensus about what works and what matters about the model and method. People find this reaffirming of their practice and refreshing. The day works around using client material to review skills in the active use of writing, diagrams therapeutic moments, enactments and time and endings. This might seem a lot for the day were it not for the common thread of working in partnership with the client at all times.

In running these workshops we have learnt that CAT is a conversational therapy For example we have learnt that preparatory bits of descriptive writing in the collaborative process of reformulation is an important rehearsal of the more dramatic reading out of the reformulation letter. They are linked but not the same kinds of writing experience. Also that the map and track use of diagrams at their most productive come alive in therapeutic moments when they seem to be telling several stories at once. They shimmer as they are about the past, the current distress or problem and the conversation process in the room almost at the same time. This shimmering of attention between therapist and client around a well ‘travelled’ and well honed diagram is CAT’s best bit. We are offering more of these days and they cover the following topics.

Writing, prose reformulation and reading it out as a letter

How do we experience reformulation letter writing now? What kinds of writing work well with what kinds of client? When can letters limit or harm the therapy? How can a dialogic approach help bring life to the letter?

Diagrams

How have diagrams developed over the years and why? Which diagrams with which clients and how and when? How do we develop diagrams in the room together with the client both to build an alliance and to focus the therapy whilst also noting the power of the diagrams to be an enactment magnet? How can we use diagrams to work through enactments without losing the power and emotion of the therapeutic moment?

Therapeutic Moments and Enactments

Therapy depends upon therapeutic moments. All CAT’s efforts at reformulation come to be tested by their usefulness in fostering and harvesting such moments. How does CAT help, hold or sometimes hinder such moments? What skills and what clinical versatility have we evolved to creatively and therapeutically make use of enactments in the context of a shared reformulation?

Active use of time and endings

The therapeutic power of endings and the active use of time is central to CAT therapy. How do we experience endings as CAT therapists? How do we prepare the client to take something away from the therapy through the writing and exchange of good bye letters?

We are offering this day again in the Autumn –this time in Manchester on Friday November 7th following three in London and again in London in the Spring of 2009.

Steve Potter and Annalee Curran

Full Reference

Potter, S., Curran, A., 2008. Catch up with CAT. Reformulation, Summer, p.54.

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