Cognitive Analytic Therapy

What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)?

CAT was initially developed within the NHS and combines different theories and techniques into its own relational and integrative model of therapy. Amongst other things, it brings together understanding from cognitive therapies and psychoanalysis, and it is a collaborative approach that aims to facilitate change through describing, recognising and then revising unhelpful relationship patterns.

How does CAT work?

In CAT, problems are understood in the context of early life experiences and relationships. CAT aims to help you gain a deeper understanding of the patterns of relating to yourself and others that have developed from your early life, and could be unhelpful, harmful or keeping you stuck. Through this understanding and the relationship with your therapist unhelpful patterns can be identified, and new healthier coping strategies and ways of relating to self and others can be explored and learnt.

For more information on CAT please visit The Association of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT) website at

What problems can CAT help to address?

CAT can help with a range of difficulties and mental health conditions, including relationship difficulties, stress, anxiety, depression, eating disorders and difficulties managing emotions.

We can all experience difficult life events such as a bereavement, the ending of a relationship or stress at work that overwhelm our normal coping techniques. At these times therapy may help to process these events and to build on existing resources for moving forward. Others seek therapy for their own personal development, or at a crossroads in their life, giving themselves space to reflect on what they want, who they are and what matters to them.

  • Do you struggle with your self-care, or making changes and sustaining them over time?
  • Have you noticed any unhelpful patterns in how you relate to others, perhaps feeling sensitive to being misunderstood, judged or rejected, and do you want to have a deeper understanding of this struggle and find new ways to relate to others?
  • Have you experienced a recent life event that has overwhelmed your normal ability to cope, and do you need a space where you can begin to make sense of how you are feeling, and develop new strategies for moving forward?
  • Do you struggle with your eating and with concerns about shape and weight? Are you in a pattern of undereating or overeating/bingeing, or do you find yourself moving between controlling your eating/restricting and then overeating/bingeing?

If you find yourself answering YES to any of these questions, then CAT may be able to help you understand how these patterns developed, and how you can explore and experiment with new ways of relating to yourself and others.

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