CAT Concepts in Working With Risk of Harm to Others ~ 8 September 2023

Past Catalyse Events

The Use of CAT Concepts in Working With Risk of Harm to Others

A one day workshop led by Jenny Marshall and David Harvey, Cognitive Analytic Therapists and Consultant Clinical Psychologists

Event Hashtag:  #CATrisk23

Date: Friday 8th September 2023
Time: 9:30am to 4:30pm
VenueHorizon Leeds, 2 Brewery Wharf, Kendell Street, Leeds, LS10 1JR
Fees:  ACAT member :: £125.00
non-ACAT member :: £140.00
(Lunch and refreshments included)

Overview of workshop:

Working with risk of harm to others can be challenging and often takes place in the context of multiple and complex needs, reflecting histories of adversity and neglect. This work often involves grappling with opposing priorities and aims across different agencies and stakeholders. As a result, emotionally charged relational dynamics can appear in assessment, therapy, teams and organisations. These can obscure and threaten well balanced and clear assessment and safety planning, sometimes leaving practitioners and service users feeing overwhelmed, confused, anxious or exasperated. 

In this one day introduction, Jenny and David demonstrated how using concepts drawn from cognitive analytic therapy can increase clarity, and help clinicians understand and approach interactions and patterns within relationships. Their day also showed how these concepts can be applied in practice to risk assessment, interventions, team working, safety planning and risk management.

All attendees receive an attendance certificate following the event, for their CPD records.

You can read an interview with Jenny and David about the background to this event at the blog link here: Reflecting on Risk to Others.

Selected participant feedback about this event

“The explanations of CAT theory were the best I’ve ever seen (as a CAT practitioner).”

“There was a fantastic combination of teaching the principles from a theoretical standpoint, demonstrations, and small group work. The content was tailored flexibly throughout the day according to our training needs, and I really appreciated the additional sections on organisational factors and own wellbeing – this felt really sincere and I left feeling reassured and empowered.”

The whole day was thoroughly engaging, all cat concepts were explained at the same time as linking to the topic of harm to others and so pitched really well for people with and without much experience of using CAT. Was really helpful to be able to bring live cases we are working in and have the opportunity to discuss them in relation to the course content.

“Great pace, delivery methods and program content. A wonderful learning experience and space to think and develop my CAT skills and knowledge.”

Aims and learning outcomes:

Participants had an opportunity to:

  • learn how the cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) model can be used in working with risk of harm to others
  • use CAT to reformulate risk-related behaviours
  • utilise risk-focussed reformulation to inform recommendations, treatment and risk management plans
  • apply the CAT model to team and system dynamics to enable helpful responses to complex system functioning, and
  • consider wellbeing and self care when working with risk to others

Who was it for?

This event was relevant for all professionals working in forensic contexts or with people who pose a risk of potential harm to others, including:

  • nursing and care staff
  • social workers
  • psychiatrists
  • occupational therapists
  • speech and language therapists
  • probation officers/offender managers
  • prison officers
  • approved premises housing or residential workers

The ideas are also applicable to staff working on the edge of forensic services with people presenting a high risk to self or others. Other such workers might include those working in

  • crisis teams
  • mental health liaison services
  • community mental health teams
  • safeguarding, and
  • child protection

No prior knowledge or experience of CAT was required. However, the day was also open to CAT practitioners interested in learning more about using the model to assess risk of harm to others in any setting. Those who have had introductory or 6 month training in CAT Skills Case Management may also have found this day useful.


Dr Jenny Marshall is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Cognitive Analytic Therapist and a CAT Lead in her NHS work in a large NHS Trust. Jenny has over 20 years experience working in forensic services, ranging from high security to working with risk in the community. She led a ten year development of an overarching relational model for forensic services based on CAT principles and hosted the first forensic CAT conference in 2019. She has co-edited a book “Reflective Practice in Forensic Settings. A Cognitive Analytic Approach to Developing Shared Thinking” which was published in 2021. Jenny is currently co-editing another book on CAT and Forensic Practice.

David Harvey is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Cognitive Analytic Therapy Practitioner working firstly in forensic inpatient and community services in Yorkshire. More recently he has moved to Gibraltar to develop psychological services there. He has worked for over fifteen years in services supporting people with complex mental health needs, who may pose a risk of harm to others or themselves.  This includes work with the NHS, Probation, Courts, Children’s Services and Prisons.

He has a particular interest in how clinical presentations that challenge services, such as those likely to attract  diagnosis of ‘personality disorder’, can disrupt effective working and proportionate risk management by professionals, services and organisations having to manage their own powerful emotional reactions to the work. David has become increasingly attracted to the idea that the application of psychological theory, including CAT, outside of the therapy room may be one way in which the multiple and complex needs of many stakeholders can be considered and carefully balanced.


Horizon Leeds, 2 Brewery Wharf, Kendell Street, Leeds, LS10 1JR