What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy?

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a very useful therapy for people who are interested in understanding how their difficulties developed, what keeps those difficulties going and how to make changes to try and move towards more helpful ways of being. 

What can CAT help with?

A recent review of research on CAT (Calvert, & Kellett, 2014) has evidenced it to have good results for people experiencing a range of difficulties including:

  • Difficulties in relationships with others 
  • Difficulties in the relationship with the self, self-attitude, self-esteem or with understanding the self.
  • Difficulties with low mood and anxiety
  • Difficulties with eating and body image
  • Relationship with long term physical health conditions such as chronic fatigue, chronic pain, diabetes and multiple sclerosis
  • Survivors of childhood sexual abuse

CAT is particularly effective with people who are experiencing a range of difficulties in a number of areas of their life for example: difficulties with relationships and difficulties with eating and body image. Where multiple difficulties are present, CAT works integratively with these problems at the same time.  

How CAT works

CAT helps identify patterns of behaviour that are repeated and that people are often unaware of. Some of these patterns are helpful whilst some of these patterns are less helpful and cause problems in day to day life or in areas that are important to you such as in relationships, work or in your social life/activities. CAT works with you to understand how some of these patterns may have developed, why they are repeated and how they can be changed. The aim of CAT therapy is to help you think about and experiment with areas of change in order to move towards your values and goals.

References: Calvert, R., & Kellett, S. (2014). Cognitive analytic therapy: A review of the outcome evidence base for treatment. Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research and Practice.