What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy?
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a highly relational therapy that sees human beings as evolving as social beings in a web of relationships with others. The process of a CAT therapy focuses on the way you relate to yourself and to others, including family, friends, and colleagues.
CAT offers a safe structure for revising old habits and patters that are no longer helpful. Recognising helpful and unhelpful ways we relate to others and to ourselves, and how these often echo the helpful and unhelpful aspects of our earlier relationships and childhood experiences, allows us to develop an observer’s eye, understand and map our habitual procedures and build on more adaptive strategies.
Through CAT we will describe and analyse how your habitual responses to others affect your life, your self-esteem, and your wellbeing. Also paying particular attention to how these habitual responses emerge in the therapeutic relationship. As with all psychotherapies, the therapeutic relationship provides the foundation where procedures may be re-enacted and where they may be reinterpreted and changed within the relationship. It’s a chance for you to develop new self-awareness about how you relate to someone else, and try new ways of interacting in a safe and collaborative and environment.
How many CAT sessions do I need?
Cognitive Analytic Therapy is always time-limited, typically taking place over 8-24 weekly sessions (the precise number being agreed at the start of therapy), being 16 sessions the most common length.
What issues does Cognitive Analytic Therapy help with?
CAT is an evidence-based (proven by research to be effective) form of therapy. It has been recommended by the National Instititute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) as helpful for both eating disorders and borderline personality disorder. Cognitive analytic therapy can also prove helpful if you are dealing with anxiety or depression, struggle with self-esteem, have difficulties with your relationships, have anger management issues, struggle with addicitons, or simply feel like you aren’t moving forward in life in ways that you’d like to.
What results can I expect from attending CAT sessions?
CAT will help you identify both what is working in your life and what is not going the way you want. We will work in making your own goals for both your therapy and your future. The focus will then turn to identifying the patterns that are keeping you stuck in life. Together we will look at your present, past, and also our interaction in the therapy room itself.
The benefits of attending CAT can include the following:
- learn to trust yourself and others
- improve your relationships
- understand your issues and how they came into being
- recognise the patterns and behaviours that hold you back
- understand your past and how it made you who you are today
- feel better about yourself and recognise your strengths
- learn to make more functional choices in life