What is cognitive analytic therapy, and is it for you?
When you hear the words cognitive analytic therapy, or CAT, in terms of a therapy you may well be thinking "what is that?" or "i've not heard of that before".
Whilst CAT may not be quite as common as its close friends CBT, or psychoanalytic therapy, it may well prove to be just the right therapy for you.
Firstly let's think a bit about what cognitive analytic therapy is. CAT is a collaborative program which looks at the way a person thinks, feels and acts, and the events and relationships that underlie these experiences, often from our childhood or earlier in our lives.
As its name suggests, CAT brings together ideas and understanding from different therapies into one user-friendly and effective therapy (psychoanalytic therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy).
These relationships and experiences are explored in the early sessions of CAT to gain a joint understanding of what impact they may have had. We explore reciprocal roles which recognises problems between people rather than a person. An example would be if a person felt neglected as a child, was there someone being neglecting towards them? The reciprocal role would be neglecting (other) - neglected (self).
Together we try to identify what techniques were used as a child to cope, survive or manage through the painful or upsetting experiences (such as feeling neglected) and discuss whether they have continued into adulthood and are now causing you difficulties.
Once we have identified these current difficulties or "procedures" we start thinking about making changes, these are what CAT calls "exits". This is the middle part of CAT and is an opportunity for you to learn how to recognise your unwanted procedures in the moment. We then look at ways of putting an "exit" in its place which might be a more healthy and appropriate response.
At CAT's heart is an empathic relationship between the client and therapist within the therapeutic boundaries, the purpose of which is to help the client make sense of their situation and to find ways of making changes for the better.
CAT has an ever building evidence base and has been published in multiple papers describing it's effectiveness for treating a wide range of emotional difficulties.
For more information visit: www.acat.me.uk
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About Daniel Royce
Daniel Royce is a Psychological Therapist who works for an NHS IAPT service as well as in private practice for the last 6+ years. He has been offering Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) and Acceptance, Commitment Therapy (ACT) to clients in the local area achieving successful outcomes.