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University of Liverpool DClinPsych Opportunity

We welcome the news that the programme team at University of Liverpool’s Doctorate of Clinical Psychology are advertising for a 0.4 full time equivalent Senior University Clinical Teacher post.  The role is open to HCPC registered clinical psychologists who are also ACAT-accredited CAT practitioners.  The postholder will provide teaching on CAT in addition to a varied range of other duties.  They will liaise with ACAT and lead on strategically developing the CAT competencies framework and portfolio within the programme, linked to CAT Foundation training.

You can obtain full details of the post by clicking on this link.

Applications can be made online, quoting job reference 008599, via

Deadline: 9 January 2018

Photo by Peter Mason on Unsplash


Taking Another Step: Training on CAT Supervision

Deborah Pickvance and Sarah Littlejohn are due to run an ACAT-accredited two day CAT Supervision Training in Manchester on 30th November and 1st December 2017. This is a repeat of a course they led in Liverpool in December 2016. CAT Practitioner Uma Patel reflects here on attending the last run of the course.

I recently attended a cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) two day training event on supervision to help me work towards becoming an accredited CAT supervisor. With life being so busy I was really grateful the course had been modified which meant I did not have to attend on a residential basis. Interestingly the ‘relational’ component the residential would have offered was not lost with the adaptation. There was lots of group work activity and being with other CAT practitioners and hearing their views and perspectives encouraged dialogue.  Consequently the dialogic component of CAT was very present and a great way to learn.

I enjoyed the training and it was good to have protected time to reflect and learn about supervision. Supervision is such an important activity and within my current role I offer others supervision however I have not had limited opportunity to attend training events that specifically focus on supervision. Once I had booked my place I was looking forward to it and was hoping to not be too disappointed.

I would say I have a fair amount of experience providing supervision however I still gained a lot from the training event. The two days were jam packed with theory and practical exercises. They involved participation and interaction and the trainers used creative teaching methods which kept me engaged. Learning occurred from the trainers but also from all the group members, promoting a dialogical approach. There was a wealth of experience and expertise in the room and the teaching methods encouraged participation and dialogue and the sharing of experience and knowledge. I thought the trainers were very knowledgeable but also respectful of the wealth of experience within the group.

If you provide clinical supervision then this event is worth attending. I do not think it really matters if you are new to supervision or very experienced. The training day has a lot to offer and it covered the multi-faceted components of individual and group supervision.

One of the most useful components for me was naming and addressing subtle impasses and ruptures that can occur in supervision but can feel difficult to address within a supervisory relationship. I found this invaluable. This can be very challenging however the training day helped me think about how to use CAT tools to address impasses and ruptures. It also supported me to reflect on my own interpersonal patterns and how they can at times be enacted when providing supervision. It was also really useful to hear others talk about challenges they have encountered in supervision; how these were resolved and in some cases unresolved.

I was not sure what to expect from the training however I am pleased to say it was valuable. I did acquire new knowledge and it has helped me to identify areas for further development. Importantly it also reaffirmed my existing supervisory skills and knowledge. If you are after some quality training on supervision I definitely recommend attending this training event.

Details of the forthcoming Catalyse CAT Supervision training workshop (hashtag #CATsup17) are available here.

Further details about eligibility, requirements and different routes to qualifying as an accredited CAT supervisor are available on ACAT’s web pages here.  Further dates for the taught component will be listed on those pages.

If you’d like to blog about what you took away from one of our training, CPD or networking events, then please get in touch.  You can subscribe to the Catalyse blog by providing your details below.  If you do, you’ll receive an automatic email notification of any new blog posts when they’re published.

Zoom detail of complex threads (for CAT Skills Training)

CAT Skills Training: One Graduate’s Perspective

We are grateful to David Harvey, clinical psychologist and current CAT Practitioner course trainee, for this guest blog looking back on his experience of completing the six month CAT Skills Case Management Training course led by Dr Marisol Cavieres and Dr Karen Shannon.

I decided to apply for the CAT skills training course two years ago because I worked in a service that was part of the Offender Personality Disorder pathway. I spent a lot of time trying to understand, and help others understand, the challenges and complexities of working with men and women who posed a risk to others. Many of those we worked with also had complex needs and ways of relating to professionals and services. I had already done the two day ACAT introduction to CAT which was a good way to get my head around and refresh some of the foundations of using CAT.

My experience of the application process (and the whole administration of the course) was that it was very well organised and informal. Everyone I had contact with were warm, friendly and supportive. Although I had to do a telephone interview, this felt very much like a two way conversation and I was put at ease quickly. It definitely felt that they were more interested in me and my reasons for thinking about doing the course than trying to catch me out with any tricky or technical questions!

I found the teaching was of a very high quality – either Marisol and Karen were always present on each the teaching days which meant that there was consistency and no unhelpful repetition. There were also guest speakers so there was some diversity within the continuity. All the facilitators were clearly knowledgeable and experienced. Although there was a wide range of experience and skill in our group, my sense was that we were all catered for.

I think the focus on risk and complexity, and using CAT not just directly with clients, but with other professionals in teams and wider systems, really made the teaching unique. As a result it was applicable to work in a wide range of settings with people who may pose risks to others, for example prisons, probation, hospitals, mental health teams and community settings.

The way that CAT concepts were introduced and then linked throughout the course to understanding risk and complexity was extremely helpful. I learnt a huge amount about CAT-informed approaches to conceptualising risk, and this included wider psychological concepts and tools beyond CAT. A focus on enhancing risk assessment, management and intervention provided great insights for me to take back into my day to day work. As an example, CAT helped me in my work with people struggling to acknowledge their roles in offending and risky behaviour. CAT allowed us to speak about wider relational dynamics involving harmful ways of acting towards others, albeit in much less serious ways. Over time, these shared understandings eventually helped to open up conversations about how more serious risk to others might be posed, through reciprocal roles named together in earlier sessions.

Weekly supervision was arranged by telephone conference call and included four of us with a mix of backgrounds in psychology, psychiatry and probation. This provided specific space for each of us to to have guidance in applying the concepts in our workplace. This meant that the training was directly applied to our day to day work with structured support from the facilitators from the outset. I found this to be of great benefit in that it started to directly develop my practice and enhance my work from the very beginning, with weekly support. Likewise, there was plenty of support for the two pieces of academic work required by the course. Feedback was detailed, tailored and really helpful in thinking not only about the academic aspects of my work but also the client or team work that was the focus of the essay.

The course did demand certain things: time and commitment for the weekly supervision, academic work and attendance (and engagement) in the teaching. For me it was wholly worth it. As you can probably tell, I really enjoyed the course and felt very impressed by the quality of the teaching and supervision. Having completed this course I was able to take the concepts and tools back into my place of work and decided to apply for the CAT practitioner training to continue to develop my skill and knowledge using CAT with this and other groups.

I really would recommend the CAT Skills course to others working with people who challenge services because of the complexity of their needs or the possible risks they may pose to others. Either as a stand-alone piece of CPD, or as the start of a journey on to further training and development in CAT, it is well worth the outlay and investment in time and effort for the framework and clarity it can help provide in working with complex needs.

You can find David on Twitter at @dawahar

Catalyse is hosting the next national CAT Case Management Skills Training which starts in January 2018 (hashtag #CATskills18).

Full details are available here and the deadline for applications is 24th November 2017.

If you’d like to blog about what you took away from one of our training, CPD or networking events, then please get in touch.  You can subscribe to the Catalyse blog by providing your details below.  If you do, you’ll receive an automatic email notification of any new blog posts when they’re published.

Section of Z Arts Cafe Banner

A Starting State for Cafe CAT


On October 11th 2017 a gathering of the northern CAT community took place at Z Arts  in Hulme, Manchester, for the first of our new Cafe CAT evening meetings. We are pleased that a couple of those attending kindly took up the invitation to write a blog on the event. We therefore welcome some new voices to our blog: those of Vikki Aadahl and Lucinda Bolger.

For the Café CAT debut a warm welcome was received at the Z-arts centre in Hulme. Young people noisily occupied in an art group and later a choir provided an engaging backdrop for a creative discussion under the title of, ‘what state are we in?’.  Clive Turpin, CAT psychotherapist, greeted group members as they arrived with old and new colleagues re-connecting as everyone took their seats. Clive set the tone for the group as an open opportunity to come together to discuss, debate, share ideas and reflections on a particular CAT related theme. No presentation or teaching more a space and time for sharing thoughts, reflections and ideas.

Kicking us off was the question of, ‘what state are we in?’ What do we even mean when we start talking about states – state of mind? A state of being? A state of an organisation like the NHS? Or even the state of the world? When writing down some common states the majority of group members wanted this to be encircled:

enraged    omnipotent    elated    child-like    sadness

Where had the urge to circle states come from? Teaching? Reading? There was a felt sense of wanting to contain the visual representation of states with a visual circle. Is this paralleled with therapist’s desire to contain states? And/or are the people engaging in CAT wanting states to be contained? Do states feel uncontained?

Most group members had an understanding of states as parts of the self. So it was considered how people move between these different parts of self.  What happens relationally to create a state shift? How aware are people of state shifts and the contributing factors to this shift? Members shared a common experience of individuals feeling like state shifts happen without awareness/warning.

If visually representing states on a map it was suggested that reciprocal roles can be included within the state. Some had chosen to develop understanding of a state by giving it a name – ‘zombie’, ‘hulk’,  ‘behind glass.’  And naming the physical experience of the state – what happens in the body in this state? Further detail of a state was developed by thinking about what mood is generally felt in each state? Do some states give greater access to moods/emotions/feelings? Thinking relationally, can some states be more likely to lead to a rupture in the therapeutic relationship? Should this be discussed early in therapy to help prevent a rupture? Hilary Beard’s self-states form was passed around as a potential tool to facilitate these discussions. Consideration of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) was highlighted in the same way it would be with any other part of CAT therapy. For some it can be hard to name/discuss/acknowledge some states. Also shared was the potential of including a hopeful/functioning/positive state on someone’s map.  Can this be represented as a ‘safe place?’ Others used the term ‘healthy island.’

The bar at the Z-arts centre was open for the break providing some sustenance to keep energy going for the second hour. In individual groups we took the state ‘helpless’ to consider sharing ideas for understanding the state. We considered the see saw between helpless and hopeful/rescue/striving state. We thought about the potential history of the state, the contributing factors, the responses of others, the potential functions of the state, feelings connected with it, potential exits or helpful responses and so on. Within a 10 minute exercise we were surprised to have generated lots of ideas.

Drawing the time to a close Clive invited suggestions for future topics for Café CAT. He invited others to host and facilitate future groups if they would want to, being open to the evolvement of the group to suit the needs of group members. An engaging start to what hopes to be a successful future for Café CAT!

Vikki Aadahl @vikkiharry

I attended the inaugural Cafe CAT meeting last week, so as to re-immerse myself into the CAT world. Sometimes an integrative way of working can feel like it risks diluting the best bits, and it is refreshing to surround myself with other people who see the world through CAT eyes.

It was helpful to have a structure (scaffolding?) which on this occasion was ‘states’, and to be given the opportunity to explore what that meant to us. After our discussions we had an opportunity to make sense of a ‘helpless’ state by drawing it out in small groups.

I would really encourage those with an interest in CAT to attend the next meeting in January.

Lucinda Bolger

The next Café CAT is titled ‘Exploring CAT tools: what’s kept post training’ and will be held on Wednesday 24th January 2018 from 18.15 to 20.15. We look forward to seeing you then. If you’d like to lead a future Café CAT meeting, or have any ideas or suggestions for topics, then please contact us.

If you’d like to blog about what you took away from one of our training, CPD or networking events, then please get in touch.  You can subscribe to the Catalyse blog by providing your details below.  If you do, you’ll receive an automatic email notification of any new blog posts when they’re published.