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Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is an effective form of psychotherapy that combines cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and psychodynamic techniques. The main concept behind CAT is that our thoughts, behaviour and emotions are all interconnected and can influence each other. It is based on the idea that our current difficulties can be linked to past experiences, and CAT is used to help people gain insight into how these experiences may have shaped their current behaviour and relationships.

CAT incorporates a variety of techniques, including the use of diagrams, writing and role play, to help people gain insight and develop more satisfying relationships. One of the key elements of CAT is the use of the 'reformulation letter'. This is a document that is created collaboratively between the therapist and the individual, which summarises the causes of their problems and how these can be addressed. By providing a clear plan of action, the individual can understand their difficulties in a new light, which can enable them to make positive changes in their life. CAT also encourages individuals to have a more compassionate view of themselves and of their actions.
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) typically lasts between 16 and 24 sessions, although this can vary depending on the needs and severity of the presenting issues. As with any form of therapy, it is important to be aware of potential risks associated with CAT. This includes the fact that CAT may involve talking about difficult and painful memories which could cause the patient to experience strong emotions such as anxiety, depression or anger. For those with pre-existing mental health difficulties, CAT may not be suitable as it may worsen existing symptoms. It is therefore essential to have a trusted and experienced therapist who is able to provide adequate support and guidance throughout the process of Cognitive Analytic Therapy.

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