Demonstrating Versatile CAT in Forensic Settings

Catalyse Executive member Dr Karen Shannon has recently co-authored a chapter with CAT colleague Philip Pollock in Routledge’s “Individual Psychological Therapies in Forensic Settings: Research & Practice” edited by Jason Davies & Claire Nagi.  Cognitive Analytic Therapy is one of eight therapies featured.  Other models include ACT, CBT, CFT, EMDR, MBT, Personal Construct Psychotherapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy and Schema Therapy.

A common chapter framework in the first part of the book compares and contrasts different therapies.  The second part of the book includes chapters on groupwork as an adjunct to individual therapy, ethics, supervision, and selection of therapies and therapists.

The editors note in their foreword that the chapter describes CAT as individual therapy for those whom services can find hard to help.  Moreover, they note how Karen and Philip describe CAT as “an explicit framework to inform staff/team/system care and risk management”Karen is pleased about this acknowledgement of the multipurpose and versatile nature of CAT.  She hopes readers can glean not only what CAT offers as an individual therapy in forensic settings but also how to use it as a broader model to inform care.

Inspection copies are available on application to the publisher by those working within academic institutions considering use of the text within their courses.

You can see more details about the book at this link.

Dr Karen Shannon is a member of Catalyse Executive.  She has several roles including leading on CAT Skills Training, contributing to teaching on our Practitioner Training course, and she also leads our CPD programme.  She and Dr Kerry Manson will be offering a CPD day in 2018 (date and details to be confirmed) on Working with Complexity & Risk: Application of CAT to those who pose a risk of harm to others.  This was previously run with ACAT in February 2017 (see details here.) 

It’s Late It’s Late It’s Late but Not Too Late

We look forward to meeting applicants to our ACAT accredited Practitioner Training in Cognitive Analytic Therapy tomorrow in Manchester.  This is an initial round of interviews for the 2017- 2019 intake.  In case anyone was delayed in getting their application in, or is regretting having missed the initial deadline, the course team will still consider further applications.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any enquiries or last minute questions.   Full details of the Practitioner Training can be found here.

Facing a Final Goodbye: CAT and Mortality

When Mandy Wildman suggested running her forthcoming study day on Mapping Mortality in CAT, she included this reflective piece as part of her proposal.  We abridged it in order to advertise and promote the event – #CATmort17.  We reproduce her original version here to coincide with Dying Matters Awareness Week.

As psychotherapists, practitioners and clinicians we concern ourselves with the human dilemmas, difficulties, fears, distress and other preoccupations that life brings.  Perhaps we could say our work is often about trying to understand our human condition.  Whether in our work or in other aspects of our lives we constantly manage the tensions between opposites. We move between confidence and doubt, belonging and isolation, sickness and health, life and death.  In our Western culture, mortality is often not a subject that we find easy to approach, either with ourselves or with our clients and patients, but it is woven into every part of our life story.

Initiatives such as the international Death Cafe movement, Dying Matters Awareness Week in the UK, and more local community events such as Pushing Up Daisies invite changes to this cultural censure on exploring mortality.   Is it becoming more possible to join with others to explore such difficult thoughts and feelings?  Does this give us an opportunity to think about what our mortality means to us in a uniquely personal way?

The harsh realities of life can’t always be avoided and can bring us face to face with our limitations and our limited capacity to control our existence, however hard we try.  Life events such as a loss of a relationship or job, migration, bereavement, or serious illness can bring overwhelming and unbearable distress.  We can believe that we should be able to manage and cope with such events with a ‘stiff upper lip’ approach, and if we can’t we can somehow feel we aren’t managing well enough.

In these places our human anxiety can be felt as terrifying and paralysing.  We can experience awareness of the fragile nature of our lives and the world around us, our ultimate alone-ness, as emotional shock and overwhelming dread.  This might result in a blocking off state in which we risk becoming numb, denying the difficult feelings, in an understandable attempt to defend and protect ourselves.  As therapists, how can we offer meaningful comfort to ourselves and those we work with when our human condition can feel so frail?

The study day explores how CAT can offer a scaffolding with which to explore the issues relating to our mortality.

  • Can we develop our capacity to explore issues relating to loss, ageing, decline and mortality, and our feelings about them, in the curious, open and collaborative manner that CAT embodies?
  • What might help us to move from a position of avoiding, or warding off, these aspects of our human condition, to one which allows us to think together about them?
  • How do we and our patients work towards managing and accepting the ‘unknowable’ quality of the future and the real anxieties of the finite life we have, with its inescapable endings and ultimately death?
  • What are the things that sustain us and help us to retain passion, joy, meaning, purpose and hope in life, despite our knowing that all we see and know will come to an end?

Psychotherapy can offer an opportunity to consider the meaning and significance of our individual lives and relationships, or to provide some respite from a depressed and hopeless view of the world. These powerful issues relating to our experience of being human, and the strong feelings bound up with them, are present in the time that we spend with patients, as well as in other arenas.

The day is designed to bring compassion, respect, and, hopefully, some humour, to a subject that can induce guilt, shame, confusion and anger.  Its aim is to allow us to feel more at ease with our feelings, more confident in expressing them and more comfortable in talking with our clients and patients about their experiences, as they present in our cognitive analytic therapy work.

Mandy Wildman is an accredited CAT Practitioner and Catalyse Associate. You can read more about her here. You can also follow her on Twitter – @misswyoming2

To book a place on Mandy’s day, click here.

Getting Meta: Reflecting on the Projects Forum as a Project

We hope that CAT practitioners and psychotherapists in the north will join us at the  the next Projects Forum meeting on 19th May at GMCVO in Manchester.  The meeting will start at 10 am and will provide a space to consider any projects and CPD events you’d like support with.  It will also be an opportunity to reflect on the Projects Forum meetings to date as a project in their own right, as this will be the final meeting in its current form.

We hope to continue to provide an open door for CAT practitioners and psychotherapists in the north to be involved with Catalyse, consider CPD issues together and keep up contact with colleagues.  We’re looking into other ways we can help facilitate this in the future and would welcome your ideas.

In the meantime this last Projects Forum will also include an hour’s Skills Lab with the theme of goodbye lettersCheryl Delisser and Clive Turpin will share their own research, approach and practice for composing ending letters in CAT.  They will also refer to guidelines, drawn up by Steve Kellett & Corrie Stockton, to help clients write ending letters.

Please contact us to confirm if you can come, and if you can stay to share an ending lunch at 1.00 pm to thank you for your involvement and support of the Projects Forum over the years.