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Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Counselling

What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)?

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a powerful therapy.

CAT uses the collaborative process between a therapist and a person, working together to:

  • reach a shared understanding of probable causal and maintenance factors linked to a person’s difficulties;
  • looking particularly at problems you might have between you and others.

(What led to your problem/s starting and what keeps it/them going; what’s the big picture, what makes it so hard to change.)

Cognitive Analytic Therapy and My Upbringing

Two most important aspects considered in Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) are:

  • key patterns of relating that you may have grown up with and experienced, (e.g., one person being bullied by another bullying person, or one person criticising to another person being criticised, etc) and
  • patterns of coping that keep certain problems going (e.g., people pleasing, avoiding, etc).
  • The latter patterns, include how you manage your emotions and other coping patterns which have too high a cost now and/or prevent you from making changes you want. They likely developed when you were younger.
  • However, although they may well have helped you cope with difficulties as a younger person, you can now choose what you do and how you live your life, to loosen the emotional burden you carry.

One way CAT therapy could be viewed is as written in the short poem – Autobiography in 5 chapters by Portia Nelson.

That poem is about taking the helicopter view to help yourself notice, when you automatically do things.

Understanding and noticing what is happening for you, is the first step to change.

How Can Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) Help Me?

One of the most important elements of CAT therapy is helping you to stand back and notice;

  • notice what the less helpful ways of relating are,
  • as well as coping (habitual ways of thinking, behaving, believing, roles taken on in relation to others etc).
  • Then to decide which of those you want to tackle through therapy.

Finding a therapist who you feel you could develop a good working relationship with, is an important starting point.

Clinical Psychologists who are Cognitive Analytic Therapy experts too

Click here to read profiles of our Clinical Psychologist who are also trained as Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) therapists or who uses CAT informed ideas as part of their integrative approach.

Our Clinical Psychologists offering CAT have been recognised by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy. More about the experience of having CAT is available on the internet.

CAT is a therapy used in many countries, not just in the UK.

Jurai Darongkamas | Clinical Psychologist


Dr Jurai Darongkamas

Written by © Dr Jurai Darongkamas, Consultant Clinical Psychologist, (with over 35 years’ experience).

The above has been written to provide a brief overview for the reader.

It should not be used as a basis for any action until after obtaining a professional opinion about unique difficulties, strengths, circumstances, life history, etc.

She has published articles on CAT including:

Her work has been cited by many others.

CAT is also described on wikipedia.

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