image of many analogue clocks

New Deadline for Applications for CAT Practitioner Training 2020

This is an update from Dawn Bennett, Co-ordinator of the Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training Course, in light of the current situation concerning the COVID19 Coronavirus

In view of the unprecedented situation around Coronavirus there are many uncertainties for us all.  We are aware that potential applicants to our Practitioner Training intake this year may feel unsure about whether to apply, or whether we will run this year. Our intention is to run, however it is possible that there will be a delayed start to the 2020 course.

For those who submit an application by our original deadline of 8th May, we are currently uncertain if we are able to  interview in person on the original interview date of 12th June.  It may be that we will use video conferencing instead. We will respond to the changing situation and post updates on the website.

Additionally we will remain open to applications throughout the Summer.  A final applications deadline for the 2020 intake will be Friday 18th September – places permitting. For those applying after the initial 8th May deadline, we will arrange interviews once we are clearer about the situation.

We wish everyone all the very best for the coming months.

Dawn Bennett, Practitioner Course Co-ordinator


purple lettering YMCA on a white background

Psychology Partner – Tender Opportunity with Liverpool & Sefton YMCA

In her second guest blog, Ellie McNeil, CEO of Liverpool  & Sefton YMCA invites interest in a tender opportunity to support CAT-related work in her service

Our journey to becoming a psychologically informed service using CAT as our means to understand service users, processes, people, teams and systems has been in motion for over 5 years. Beginning as one off training and emerging into CAT case management throughout our services and systems has been enlightening, rewarding and challenging.

We have taken the end of one project and the results of an evaluation conducted by Catalyse to pause and reflect on our past and our future in how we sustainably maintain our commitment to using CAT to deliver relationally informed care and support to people who use our services and in the way we think about our organisation and it’s processes and enactments at all levels.

We have applied CAT as a case management tool across our homeless services, we are working to embed it in our domestic abuse provision and mental health service. For the first time we have directly employed a CAT therapist and a trainee counsellor who we hope will progress to becoming a CAT therapist. These posts sit in our Rehabilitation service, working with people who are seeking treatment for a drug or alcohol issue.

The challenge of embedding change in a voluntary sector organisation is both simple and complex. We do not have the bureaucratic challenges faced by colleagues in the NHS or local government but we do not have the infrastructure and resources either. Change at scale is challenging and platforms for influence can often feel minimal but there is also a sense that we are a test bed for something so valuable for people who use our services that with robust evidence, tenacity and good connections we can begin to share the difference that CAT has made to how we think, feel and communicate about everything we do.

We are now tendering for an ACAT accredited partner to support us by facilitating supervision groups and helping us to develop some training to empower other organisation to become relationally informed. Our requirements are: 

We require the facilitation of four supervision groups per month:

  • Monthly Leadership Reflective Practice – 90 minutes
  • Monthly Recovery Pathway Clinical Strategy Group – 90 minutes
  • Monthly supervision group for facilitators of reflective practice – 3 hours with a break
  • Monthly supervision for CAT Therapist and Trainee CAT Therapist

We will be looking to deliver the training a minimum of four times a year and therefore 8 training days charged at a day rate will also be required.

The tender can be downloaded from our website and for an informal conversation please email me at and we can arrange a time to speak.

neon lettering of word 'hello' against dark background

#SamTweetsCAT: Introducing @HartleySamantha as a Catalyse Tweeter

In this, her debut blog, Sam Hartley introduces herself in her new role as a Catalyse tweeter.  She ‘ll be keeping Rhona Brown company in @CatalyseC tweets, but read on to find out more about the particular topics and interests she’ll be tweeting about.  And how we’ll know it’s her…..

My own hashtag, imagine that?! A long way from when I reluctantly joined Twitter in 2011.  I then had a long hiatus while I completed the not so small tasks of two doctorates one straight after another.  (This is where the slightly tongue in cheek Dr2 comes in to my bio.) After qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 2015, I spent a couple of years in practice.  Then I came upon the opportunity to start an NIHR/HEE clinical lectureship.  This allowed me to do research alongside developing my clinical skills and continuing to practice in my role working with young people within inpatient mental health services.

Combining clinical and research work is something I’d always aspired to. I’m passionate about each informing and moulding the other. They “keep each other honest” as @PimlottBrenda once so eloquently put it. I believe research should be driven by clinical need and produced in ways that allow it to influence practice meaningfully. My fellowship has allowed me to explore the nature and development of therapeutic relationships within inpatient CAMHS, while working on methods to improve them.  This has taken place alongside my partners at @HealthyYM @PennineCareNHS and @FBMH_UoM. It was my clinical mentor on the fellowship, @rachelchin91, that encouraged me to give Twitter another chance.  It’s a  way to make connections in both the research and clinical world to allow me to learn what was already out there.  Importantly, it’s a means to disseminate my work and engage in ways that break down the usual barriers.

My @NIHRresearch funding also gave me the means to train in Cognitive Analytic Therapy.  CAT fits so well with both my research focus on therapeutic relationships and my clinical role.  I work within a complex multidisciplinary team supporting young people with difficulties in relationships and across a wide range of problem areas. Thus I embarked on a two year juggling act.  Not two doctorates this time; instead, a mix of clinical work and skill development, personal therapy, research programme delivery, mentoring and supervision. You might guess I have a strong tendency for busyness!

Starting CAT training with @CatalyseC in the autumn of 2018 coincided with a flurry of tweeting for me, as I started to share my reflections, ideas and frustrations.  A retreat to Twitter was often when holed up (procrastinating!) in my research office rather than in the familiar hustle and bustle of a busy inpatient ward. Navigating through the #CatalysePT18 training days, seminar groups and reading materials, I found myself struck by the meaning, utility and personal resonance of the ideas. The dialogic self, the observer stance, the holding vessel of the therapeutic relationship. It made sense, it fitted with my experiences and felt like home. I wanted to share those ideas with others and the parsimony of CAT translated well into 280 characters. I enjoyed the process of reflecting, sharing and connecting amongst the CAT community and beyond.

So, here I am. I’ll be continuing to share some thoughts, questions and opportunities related to CAT with you, from the Catalyse account. This has been run to date by Rhona Brown @unfinalised.  Rhona will continue to tweet too, but our plan is that I’ll add a focus on the areas I know well.  Watch out for tweets from me on clinical research, practitioner trainee experiences, and uses of metaphors and signs. I’d really like to hear how others experience these and build our network of those practising CAT and those intrigued by the ideas.

You’ll know it’s me because you’ll see #SamTweetsCAT, and there might even be a GIF or two (inspired by @TomJewell17). If you have any ideas, queries or feedback, I’d love to hear from you.

See you in the Twittersphere!

Sam @HartleySamantha

Image of neon question mark at end of darkened corridor

Need to Know More About CAT Practitioner Training?

Applications are now open for this year’s intake for our two year Practitioner Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy.  This year we have had a record number of queries and applications ahead of the deadline on Friday 8 May 2020.

Full details about the training and application process can be found by following the link here.  This year we also include a more extended FAQs document.  This is based on discussions between new trainees and qualified graduates of the course.  Hopefully this will answer some more of the common questions posed as people consider applying for the course.

It covers a range of areas such as co-ordinating the timing and sequencing of different aspects of the training,  Managing the workload in the context of other demands is a common concern,  and some experiences and tips are provided.  Take a look at this alongside the course information provided at this link.

Obviously if there are other queries do feel free to get in touch. The Catalyse Adminstrator Frances Free may be able to advise you, or can pass your queries on to Sarah Littlejohn, Director for Recruitment, or Dawn Bennett, Course Director.

Find out more about Practitioner Training FAQ’s by clicking across to this page where you can read more and download the document.