An Introduction to CAT ~ 18/19 May 2023

Past Catalyse Event

An Introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

A two day workshop led by Sarah Littlejohn and Jo Coggins

Hashtag #CATintro23

Date: Thursday 18 and Friday 19 May 2023
Time: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm each day
Venue:  The Studio, Northern Quarter, Manchester M1 1FN
Fees:  £250.00
[Fee included refreshments on both days – NB lunch was not provided]

Overview of workshop

This two day workshop provided participants with an introduction to Cognitive Analytic Therapy.  Through a combination of brief theoretical presentations and activity-based learning, they had an opportunity to understand CAT concepts and practise using some of the key skills involved. 

The trainers, Sarah and Jo, helped participants explore different ways the CAT approach can support assessment, formulation and psychological therapy.  They modelled using CAT as a highly collaborative tool to help make sense of relational difficulties and common psychological symptoms alongside working with problem patterns in the therapy relationship itself. Finally, Sarah and Jo also covered CAT’s approach to managing therapeutic endings in a thoughtful and constructive way. 

They used clinical examples and role play to help demonstrate use of CAT in action.  Throughout, participants had the chance to work in pairs and small groups with each other. 

Aims and learning outcomes

Over the two days, the trainers focussed on:

  • introducing Cognitive Analytic concepts and methods
  • demonstrating how to draw out or “map” diagrams of problematic, repeating relationship patterns. They used live examples and examples from participants’ own practice, and supported others to try this out technique
  • introducing the CAT tool of letter writing. Again, they shared examples to enable practice of ways of framing and summarising client narratives, histories, presenting problems and repeating problematic patterns through writing
  • aiding understanding of CAT’s theory of therapeutic change, and how to develop alternative relationship patterns and roles
  • exploring how CAT can be used to understand relational patterns in therapy, help predict issues associated with poor motivation and engagement, and work with endings

Who was it for?

This event was for anybody interested in learning more about cognitive analytic therapy.

Applicants to the Catalyse CAT Practitioner Training  are required to have attended a two-day introductory course on CAT (or equivalent).  Accordingly, this was a good opportunity for those intending to apply in 2023 who had not previously attended an introductory course through ACAT or other providers.


Sarah Littlejohn is a CAT psychotherapist, supervisor and trainer.  She originally trained as an integrative psychotherapist over 25 years ago and qualified as a CAT practitioner in 2001.  She’s  been a lead trainer for the Catalyse Practitioner Training for many years. Sarah also provides supervision for CAT practitioner and CAT psychotherapy level trainings. She’s been a past chair of ACAT’s Training Committee and is currently co-chair of the Catalyse Executive.  She’s  particularly interested in how CAT provides a framework for the early formulation of complexity, and uses of the therapeutic relationship.

Jo Coggins is an accredited CAT practitioner, supervisor and trainer, with a professional background in clinical psychology.  She has over 15 years experience in the NHS. In her current NHS role delivers CAT and other therapies in an IAPT setting.  Additionally she provides consultation and supervision to staff working with clients with complex needs. She is a core trainer and cohort tutor for the Catalyse CAT Practitioner training course.  Jo also provides introductory training in CAT Skills for third sector workers.


The Studio, 51 Lever Street, Manchester M1 1FN (Dare Meeting Room)