What is Cognitive analytic therapy? Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) is a form of psychotherapy that combines elements of cognitive therapy, psychodynamic therapy, and relational therapy. It is a time-limited therapy that typically lasts between 16–24 sessions.
CAT is based on the premise that our early experiences and relationships shape our patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving. These patterns become ingrained and can cause difficulties in our present relationships and daily functioning. The aim of CAT is to identify and understand these patterns, and to help the client develop new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are more adaptive and lead to more fulfilling relationships and life experiences.
The therapy typically involves the following stages:
- Reformulation: The therapist and client work together to develop a shared understanding of the client’s difficulties and patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving.
- Recognition: The client learns to recognize when they are engaging in unhelpful patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving, and to identify triggers for these patterns.
- Revision: The client works with the therapist to develop new ways of thinking, feeling, and behaving that are more adaptive and aligned with their goals and values.
- Termination: The therapy comes to an end, and the client is encouraged to continue to use the skills they have learned in their everyday life.
- CAT has been found to be effective in treating a range of mental health difficulties, including depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and eating disorders.
Shervan K Shahhian