Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

CAT is a talking therapy that focuses on how we relate to ourselves and others. It starts from the understanding that in our life, we develop patterns that at the time make perfect sense and help us to manage difficulties. These patterns of how we think, feel and act help us cope. However, if we continue to use them, they can then lead to difficulties and cause new problems themselves. CAT therefore involves working together with a therapist to work out these patterns, where they came from, and how they can be changed.

What does it involve?

Early therapy sessions involve telling and hearing your story. What you talk about will be paced according to what you feel you can manage. With your therapist, you will begin to piece together an understanding of the patterns that keep you feeling stuck.

Once you and your therapist have identified your patterns and how they came about, it is helpful to put these in a letter. The letter summarises what you’ve learnt together so that you can keep track of what you’re working on. You might also work on a diagram as a visual summary of your patterns so that you are able to start noticing when they happen.

Therapy then explores possibilities for change and the obstacles which can take you back to your unhelpful patterns.

How long does CAT last?

CAT is a time limited therapy that keeps the ending in mind, even from the start of your sessions. You and your therapist will decide together at the start of your therapy how many sessions you will be offered; this is usually, 8, 16 or 24 sessions. Appointments are usually weekly for 50 minutes.