I am registered with the Health and Care Professions Council as an Arts Therapist (you can search this page to confirm my current registration.) However almost all my direct clinical work is done as a Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) practitioner (see this page to confirm my status). For more about CAT you can read the Wikipedia article on CAT (much of which I wrote) or look at the website of the Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy.
CAT is a time-limited, collaborative therapy which was developed in the UK and as its name suggests, blends cognitive approaches such as a shared formulation and goal-setting with more analytic elements such as a concern with relationships and on how early experience can shape later life. See below for more details of how I work with private patients.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy Practitioner (Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy)
Arts Therapist (Health Professions Council) registration number AS01016
HOW DO I WORK IN COGNITIVE ANALYTIC THERAPY?
I prefer to meet with potential patients for a one-off, no cost initial meeting to get to know one another a little and so that each of us can come to a view about whether CAT would be helpful. I will ask you about why you are considering therapy and what you would hope to be different if therapy was successful. I will describe in a bit more detail how I work and what exactly the contract would be. I work for a fixed term only, always agreed in advance so that right from the start we know when the therapy will be ending. I usually work for 16 weekly sessions of 50 minutes. For more complex problems it can sometimes be right to agree 24 sessions from the start. I have worked more briefly, down to 8 sessions, and will sometimes suggest working fortnightly.
The initial 3-4 sessions are spent in a detailed assessment, at the end of which I will draft a formulation letter which is my attempt to understand how today’s problems fit into the context of your life so far. I will also list what seem to be the major problems you have asked to address. We can amend the letter until you are happy with the picture it paints, and it is yours to keep and use as you see fit. It will be the first of many bits of paper you collect so having a file to keep them all safe may be a good idea!
The middle section of the therapy often involves us drawing up diagrams and flowcharts to try and understand how the problems you are experiencing are maintained and how one thing leads to another. Once we have some of these chains drawn up we can look at each link to see if it can be broken, so that you can exit from a repeating pattern rather than have to keep going on around it. At the end of most sessions we will agree something for you to try out in the intervening week to experiment with one or more exits.
At the end of the regular weekly sessions we each write a goodbye letter to summarise what has happened over the course of the therapy and to look towards the future. Once the regular sessions are over we will agree one or two follow up sessions over the following 3-6 months, in order to make sure that the progress can be maintained and any problems can be managed.
WHAT KINDS OF PROBLEMS CAN CAT TREAT?
Cat was developed to work with patients in the UK’s National Health Service with relatively complex problems, for example patients with histories of adverse early experiences (eg sexual or other abuse) or with diagnoses of personality disorder. I have also worked with people with more common mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. More recently I have worked with functional symptoms such as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, other medically unexplained symptoms, and with the psychological consequences of long term physical conditions.
OTHER WORK IN CAT
TEACHING: I teach from time to time on the CAT training courses in Manchester and Newcastle, and have taught elements of CAT to trainees on the Hull Clinical Psychology course. I also teach occasional one-day workshops on CAT either for myself or through ACAT.
RESEARCH: I was project manager of a randomised controlled trail of CAT for people with a diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder in Sheffield (now at the writing up stage.) I am hoping to work with ACAT colleagues to use existing datasets to gather practice-based evidence for the effectiveness of CAT with common mental health problems.
WRITING: I have published an article in Reformulation, the ACAT journal, on the use of the 6-Part Story Method in CAT. As mentioned above, I have drafted much of the Wikipedia article on CAT.
SUPERVISION: I am not a qualified CAT supervisor and so cannot offer CAT supervision to students in training on CAT practitioner courses at the moment.