Cognitive analytic therapy

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Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) was developed by Anthony Ryle. This brief therapy was developed in the context of the National Health Service in the United Kingdom with the aim of providing effective and affordable psychological treatment which could be realistically provided in a resource constrained National Health Service.

CAT further evolved as an integrated therapy based on ideas from psychoanalytic therapy, cognitive therapy and Vygotskian ideas.

The model gives emphasis on collaborative work with the client, and focuses on the understanding of the patterns of maladaptive behaviours. The aim of the therapy is to enable the client to recognise these patterns and understand their origins, and subsequently to learn alternative strategies in order to cope better. CAT includes terms such as Snags, Dilemmas, Traps,and Sequential Diagrammatic Reformulation. Recently the concept of core pain has been replaced by Reciprocal Roles and Reciprocal Role Procedure (Target Problem Procedure).

Typically the therapy comprises 16 sessions. In the first 4 - 6 sessions the therapist collects all the relevant information. After that, the therapist writes a reformulation letter to the client. This letter summarises the therapist's understanding of the client's problems. Particular attention is given to understanding the connection between childhood patterns of behaviour and their impact on adult life.

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