Cognitive Analytic Therapy is different from Cognitive Behavioural Therapy because it links present difficulties in making useful sense of everyday problems to early learning of patterns of relating to the world. It sees our thinking and behaviour as something we learnt and took to heart in an influential childhood relationship. The feelings we had and the positions we took at the time of learning patterns of thinking and behaving are often an important barrier to change and may also get replayed in the therapy.
CAT is different from more traditional psychoanalytic therapies and the more relational cognitive therapies in that it doesn’t seek to directly treat the individual but change the interactions between the individual and the intimate world around him or her. In this way the focus is often on what is happening in the helping relationship and whether it is empowering, restrictive, helpful or not.