A private London clinic integrating psychiatry and psychology

Cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT)

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Cognitive-analytic therapy (CAT) aims to understand and ameliorate chronic and self limiting patterns of emotional expression/inhibition and tries, among other things, to find the main emotional patterns of relating to oneself and others and their connection to the person's presenting problem or apparent distress (Ryle & Kerr, 2002).

The therapy is time-limited (it ranges from 4 to 24 sessions, though typically is offered in a package of 16).

CAT uses “cognitive” interventions as individuals are encouraged to observe and think about their assumptions, feelings and behaviour. The therapy is also “analytic” in that unacknowledged, unconscious factors are also explored and worked with and the impact is recognized. This also applies to an exploration of the therapist-patient relationship.

The main features of the therapy are that it is active, integrated and focused. A wide range of therapeutic methods may be combined, but the defining characteristic is the emphasis placed on the formulation and sharing with the person of dense descriptions of the procedures which maintain their problems. Procedures are linked sequences of mental and behavioural processes which serve as repeatedly used guidelines for purposive action. Problems are caused by the persistent, unrevised use of ineffective procedures, and therapy aims to identify and revise such procedures.

CAT is an effective way of developing self-awareness and is most effective for people who suffer from difficulties in relationships and wish to develop greater self-awareness and work towards changing long-standing relational patterns.

References

Ryle, A., & Kerr, I. B. (2002). Introducing Cognitive Analytic Therapy: Principles and practice. London: Wiley & Sons.