Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
What is CAT?
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a collaborative and time-limited psychotherapy with a clear beginning, middle and ending phase, and is typically based on 16 or 24 sessions. It draws on a number of theories and therapeutic models and is described as an integrative therapy. CAT works more interpersonally by creating a working relationship between client and therapist where together they identify and describe the issues affecting the client, aim to understand their origins in previous relationships and experiences, and importantly, use the therapeutic relationship to reflect on how those learnt ways of being come up in normal life, including the relationship between therapist and client.
CAT invites you to take a step back to identify and observe patterns in your own life that may now be holding you back and find ways to change these unhelpful cycles, such as finding alternatives to the trap of avoiding things or finding new ways of relating to other people. CAT looks at how these patterns may have originated in your early life and helps you develop a shared and different understanding of the ways in which you have learned to cope over time. CAT offers a safe and clinically effective therapy for people who wish to work through these underlying issues. The therapist will work with you to help you build recognition and awareness of the patterns of relating, thinking, acting and feeling that you want to change. This can enable you to start thinking about yourself differently and to discover choices and ways of doing things differently (‘exits’) that are available to you to make your life better.
CAT recognises that finishing therapy can be difficult, especially if endings in your life have been difficult in the past. The last few sessions are used to think back over the course of therapy and at the ending of this therapy relationship.