What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)?

CAT stands for Cognitive Analytic Therapy. As its name suggests, it brings together understandings from cognitive psychotherapies (such as Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and from psychoanalytic approaches into one integrated, user-friendly and effective therapy. It is a collaborative programme of looking at the way you think, feel and act; a programme which is tailored to your individual needs and to your own manageable goals for change.

In order to bring about change, CAT offers a way of:

  • thinking about yourself differently.
  • finding out exactly what your problems and difficulties are; how they started; how they affect your everyday life – your relationships, your working life and your choices of how to get the best out of your life.
  • getting under the limitations of a diagnosis or ‘symptom hook’ (that is, understanding the reasons that underlie a symptom such as bulimia), by naming what previously learned patterns of thinking or behaving contribute to difficulties and finding new ways of addressing them within yourself.
  • thinking about the importance of relationships in your psychological life. This includes the relationship you have with yourself, and the relationship you have with the therapist.How long does therapy last?A CAT therapy is a time-limited course, usually between 16-24 sessions – this is discussed and agreed with the therapist at the start of therapy. Each weekly session is for 50-60 minutes. Between one and five follow-up sessions are offered after the end of regular therapy. Again this is discussed and agreed with the therapist.

    What sort of problems can CAT help with?

    You might have problems that have been given a name by a professional such as depression; anxiety; phobia; obsessive compulsive disorder; or borderline personality disorder. You might recognise that you are suffering from unmanageable stress or that you self-harm, have problems with substance misuse or suffer with an eating disorder. You may have a pattern of difficulty in looking after yourself properly or unsuccessful or broken relationships. You might have long-term physical symptoms that have not responded to medical intervention.

(Please note this page is adapted from www.acat.me.uk please see their website for more information about cognitive analytical therapy)

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