An introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy as outlined by our Clinical Psychologist Austin Bayley. This is one of the many methods of treatment which are employed by our Psychologists.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a therapeutic approach introduced by Anthony Ryle in the 1990’s. It is now widely used and effective within a variety of settings and across a range of difficulties such as depression, anxiety, eating problems, self-harm, personal and relationship problems. CAT is particularly useful for people who have repetitive problematic patterns in their relationships with others or in how they treat themselves.
CAT is time-limited with clients either attending for 16 or 24 sessions with possible follow-up sessions. CAT looks at repeated patterns in life – often established in childhood. Questions like “why do I always end up feeling like this?
become more answerable. CAT explores roles in your life towards your self, towards others, and how you anticipate and expect others to respond to you. Hence, attention is paid on how the past plays a part in your present on an unconscious and conscious level. We all learned coping strategies in childhood, which may have become problematic or redundant.
What can Cognitive Analytic Therapy do for me?
CAT aims for you to build on your capacity to observe and think about yourself, your assumptions, feelings and behaviours. It will help you be more in control in patterns of self-care, self-harm and relationships with others and to make positive changes.
CAT is very collaborative. There is no expert with therapist and client working together at all times. CAT is respectful, non-judgemental, and transparent. All feelings coming up in the room are explored. The client-therapist relationship is very important in the change process. It is important the client and therapist feel comfortable and fully aware of our impact on each other.
CAT uses more methods than typical ‘talk therapy’. Maps (diagrams) and writing letters are part of therapy in order maximise ways of understanding and allow the client to move forward. CAT has three phases called the three R’s: Reformulation (putting everything together and understanding it in a logical way in first 4 sessions), Recognition (awareness of patterns, roles, feeling, thoughts, and actions that make life difficult), and Revision (change and adaptation of areas of difficulty to move towards an ‘ok state’ where you feel better with yourself and others).