Paul Johanson, Cognitive Analytic Therapy for individuals and couples
Do you ever feel anxious, stressed, stuck, confused or overwhelmed by emotions? Do you struggle in your relationships with those close to you? Do you long for a safe space where you can feel listened to and where you can untangle the knots in your heart and head? I am an accredited Cognitive Analytic Therapy Practitioner and qualified Social Worker with over 15 years experience working in the NHS in a range of settings, from serious mental illness through to cancer and palliative care services. I can help you with a range of issues, including relationships, stress, anxiety, depression and more complex emotional and psychological problems. I also offer EMDR for trauma and other issues.
What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy?
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (or CAT) is an effective way of working together to see more clearly the way a person thinks, feels and acts, and the events and relationships that underlie these experiences (often from childhood or earlier in life). As its name suggests, it brings together ideas and understanding from different therapies - particularly CBT and Psychodynamic therapies - into one user-friendly and effective therapy.
- See video clip at the foot of the page for my brief description of CAT
It is a programme of therapy can be tailored to your individual needs and to your own manageable and realistic goals for change and growth. It's usually a time-limited therapy - between 4 and 24 weeks, but typically 16; however, courses of therapy can be longer, or even open-ended, depending on your needs and what you choose.
Is CAT the right therapy for you?
Because CAT focuses on relationships - the ways in which we relate to ourselves and others - it's effective with most (if not all) types of difficulties and problems. It's particularly useful for untangling complex, knotty problems so that we can see more clearly how you've ended up where you are and where you're getting stuck - the problematic patterns of your relationships. CAT relies on a close, trusting working relationship between therapist and client so that we can recognise together and name these difficult relationship patterns as they happen in your life - and in the therapy room - so that you can begin to connect your cognitive (or ‘head’) understanding with your emotional (or ‘heart’) understanding.
The process of change comes from naming, experiencing, sharing, recognising and understanding these patterns. Developing awareness allows new, healthier relationship patterns to be born. The relationship between the client and therapist itself models this more accepting and respectful way of relating.
I integrate EMDR into CAT sessions as required. Sometimes using this powerful technique can provide significant shifts in the way difficult situations and emotions are dealt with.
Training, qualifications & experience
I began working in the Probation Service in 1991, after 10 years in a wide variety of jobs - from the civil service through sales, financial advice and the music industry. I trained as a Probation Officer in 1994 and began working with people suffering from serious mental health conditions in 1998. I managed the Crawley & Horsham Rehabilitation Service for the NHS, Social Services and Richmond Fellowship from 2000 to 2003 and managed the Brighton and Hove Assertive Outreach Service for Sussex Partnership Trust from 2003-2006.
From 2006-2008 I worked for the Sussex Cancer Network as the Macmillan Psychological and Psychiatric Support Services Project Manager. I worked across Sussex, but was based in the Community Palliative Care Team at the Martlets Hospice in Hove. I was a facilitator on the Advanced Communications Skills Training (ACST) for Cancer Professionals run by the National Cancer Action Team.
From 2008 to 2013 I worked as the Regional Programme Manager for the Mental Health and Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme in South East England. From 2013 to 2015 I was the Regional Patient Experience Manager for NHS England South Region. Since 2015 I have been in full-time private practice.
Solution-Focused Brief Therapy, Marlborough Clinic
Cognitive Behavioural Interventions, East Sussex Probation Service
Diploma in Social Work - Brunel University
BA (Hons) 1st Class Applied Social Studies - Brunel University
Family Therapy for Schizophrenia / Psychosocial Interventions, Institute of Psychiatry
Motivational Interviewing, APT
Advanced Communication Skills Facilitator, National Cancer Action Team
PG Dip CAT, Sheffield Hallam University
Mindful Self Compassion (MSC) Teacher Training, Center for MSC, San Diego, California
EMDR, Richman Training
Meditation and Mindfulness
I have been practising mindfulness meditation since 1988 and have been teaching meditation at Sussex University since 2009. When I worked for the Sussex Cancer Network I ran Mindfulness groups for staff and patients at the Martlets Hospice in Hove. I also teach Mindful Self-Compassion (MSC) am a fully Trained Teacher with the Centre for MSC (in the USA) and the Centre for Mindfulness Research and Practice at Bangor University in Wales. I am currently the Buddhist Chaplain at the University of Sussex and the Community Buddhist Chaplain at the Martlets Hospice.
The Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy
The Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) is a registered charity. They welcome members of the public, health professionals, ACAT accredited professionals, and anyone interested in finding out more about CAT. They list CAT practitioners.
Areas of counselling I deal with
Other areas of counselling I deal with
Family court issues
Criminal justice issues
Individual sessions: Cognitive Analytic Therapy from £50 for 50 mins; EMDR £60 for 1 hour
Couples: £60 for 1 hour; £90 for 90 mins