Cognitive Analytic Therapy

Cognitive analytical therapy, also known as CAT is a form of psychotherapy that is derived from a combination of theories from both psychoanalytic and cognitive-behavioral approaches. Originally developed in 1984 by Anthony Ryle, CAT is a suitable approach for a wide spectrum of psychological issues. It is a popular form of therapy for treating people that have repetitive problems in their relationships or in how they treat themselves.

Instead of fixating on the issue at hand, this therapy uses an approach that is more suited to individual needs. It helps you create personal manageable goals that are necessary for change.

This therapy works by looking at past events and understanding the origins of your issues. Before the therapy begins, your therapist aims to understand why you feel the way you feel. You collaborate with your therapist to observe your previous life circumstances. This helps the therapist get to the roots of your issues and helps understand why a person behaves and feels the way they do.

How to find a CAT Therapist

If you are looking to find the perfect CAT Therapist it is crucial to make sure that they have the appropriate qualifications, knowledge and experience. At Expat Therapy 4U we only accept therapists who have full professional proficiency in English and are highly experienced in working with people from culturally diverse backgrounds. The clinicians we approve share our values and commitment to provide high quality therapy to the expatriate community in the private sector across Europe and online worldwide. We strongly believe that therapy changes lives, and being accredited ensures all our therapists are qualified to a high standard. You can find a CAT Therapist who is insured to practice and accredited with a recognised membership body online here.

How are CAT and CBT different?

Cognitive analytic therapy is often confused with cognitive behavioral therapy.

In CBT you focus on the links between your thoughts, actions, and feelings. You see how you behave under the influence of certain ideas and how by directly changing your thinking you can change how you react and feel to different circumstances.

However, in CAT, you start by looking into the past. You try to understand what caused this problem in the first place and how your certain behaviors started. You observe both the relationship with yourself and others with your therapist to see the origin of these issues.

How long does CAT usually last for?

Cognitive analytic therapy is a time-limited and goal-oriented form of psychotherapy. It usually lasts between 16 to 24 sessions with some possible follow-up sessions if needed. CAT can also be limited to brief sessions as it is based on a focused and collaborative approach with the client.

What Issues can Cognitive Analytic Therapy help with?

Rather than focusing on your current problems like usual therapies do, CAT puts all of its efforts in understanding what circumstances in your life led you to come to therapy. Often the behaviors this therapy can treat are repetitive in nature. CAT is recommended for the following conditions.

  • Addictions
  • Anxiety
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Bereavement and loss
  • Anger management issues
  • A history of abuse, trauma, and neglect
  • Learning difficulties
  • Low self-esteem and physical conditions
  • Depression
  • Relationship problems
  • Obsessions and compulsions
  • Eating disorders
  • Low self-care and a negative self-image
  • Self-harm and suicidal thoughts
  • Overwhelming stress and fatigue
  • Phobias

What can you expect during a CAT session?

In the initial session, you first decide how long this therapy will last. You may decide weekly sessions that can be over 50 minutes in length. After that, the first few sessions will be focused on learning about the client's life by the therapist. This involves sharing how one feels and behaves under different circumstances.

The therapist will also take notes. You will be encouraged to share your past experiences alongside the things that are going well in life. This will your therapist will learn about you and strike a balance at the same time.

After four to five sessions, the client will be given a “reformulation letter” by the therapist. It will include all the information a client has shared about their past, how they used to cope, and what changes they want from this therapy.

After you have everything clearly in front of you, your therapist will assist you in mapping your problems out in the form of writing. You will continue to work and recognize how such destructive patterns on your life surfaced and what caused them.

At the same time, you will counter these patterns with new and improved positive ways of thinking. The therapist will be very honest and respectful with the client in working to solve the client’s problems in collaboration with the therapist.

You will use different creative approaches during these sessions like writing, painting, and movement techniques. This continues up to the sessions you decided. You dig out the origins of your problems and work on solving them.

As CAT is concerned for the ending of therapy to be positive, so it encourages the client and therapist to write goodbye letters.

How can Cognitive Analytic Therapy help you?

Cognitive Analytic Therapy helps the client in the following ways.

  • Thinking about yourself differently
  • Feel heard and understood
  • It helps form a trusting relationship with your therapist. You can easily share your problems while not having to worry about being judged or confidentiality.
  • Finding out exactly what your problems and difficulties are, that is understanding the reasons why you started behaving the way you did. It shows you your motivations for performing actions in your everyday life.
  • It helps you understand the thoughts and behaviors between previous diagnosis labels.
  • Observe and connect to your earlier life experiences that caused you to have challenges you are facing right now.
  • Notice and understand the different patterns of relating you developed as survival mechanisms.
  • See what patterns are defective and are holding you back.
  • Try new patterns of relating in a therapist’s safe and supportive environment.
  • Learn to choose more positive alternative thinking patterns in life.
  • Understand and improve relationships with oneself and others.

Find a Cognitive Analytic Therapist through the Expat Therapy 4U platform

Cognitive Analytic therapy is an excellent approach if you want to get to the roots of your issues. It helps you see your problems in a different light as behaviors you developed over time and most importantly, what caused those behaviors. It can help you detect your negative biases, understand why you do what you do, and help resolve these issues all under the guidance of an experienced therapist.

Further Readings on CAT


About Expat Therapy 4U

Expat Therapy 4U is the result of 5 years’ experience running The International Psychology Clinic, the first private therapy service based in London specialized in multilingual and multicultural therapy.

The platform is run by Dr Martina Paglia. Dr Martina is a leading dual qualified Clinical and Counselling psychologist who helps patients by providing bespoke psychological services including Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, Counselling and Psychotherapy in London and online worldwide.

Our network comprises highly qualified and experienced private therapists who have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of expats worldwide. All members of our community are highly experienced working in cross-cultural environments.

We are passionate about delivering first-class patient-centred, safe and effective care. If you would like to work with a warm, inclusive, caring and professional English-speaking therapist in Europe or online worldwide you have come to the right place.

If you are looking for the perfect expat Therapist in Europe or online worldwide, our team is dedicated to help you find your best match. We offer a client guarantee where clients can re-book with a different therapist if they are not satisfied with their first therapy session.

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