Five Session Cognitive Analytic Consultancy ~ 1 February 2024

Past CPD Event

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Five Session Cognitive Analytic Consultancy

A one day workshop led by Katie Ackroyd and Stephen Kellett

Event Hashtag: #CATfive24

Date: Thursday 1 February 2024
Time: 9.30 am to 4.30 pm
Venue: St Thomas Centre, Manchester M12 6FZ
Fees:  ACAT member :: £125.00
non-ACAT member :: £140.00

[Fee included lunch & refreshments]

Overview of workshop

This one-day skills-based course was specifically focused on building skills in using the five-session cognitive analytic consultancy (CAC) version of cognitive analytic therapy (CAT).

The five-session CAC approach was developed from the ground up in the CAT community, building on the model originally developed by Angela Carradice. This was done by adapting therapeutic skills to work in a containing and theoretically informed way with clients who may not feel ready for direct therapeutic work. It can also be a way of helping care coordinators and clients agree a focus for their work together.

CAC is different to full CAT one-to-one therapy and uses different emphases, skills, content, competencies and approaches. The evidence base for this approach has grown in line with its increasing adoption and adaptation within a range of service settings.

Aims and learning outcomes

This one-day skills-based course provided an opportunity to reflect on, and enhance, skills in working in the five-session manner with care coordinators and clients. Participants were able to consider and try out ways of working flexibly within the structure of the overall approach.

The facilitators shared the CAC relationship file (both service user and care coordinator versions) which were bespoke designed for this consultancy version of CAT. These are replacements for the old psychotherapy file, and better capture the dynamics of the care dyad that are the focal point of the intervention. 

Steve and Katie will also introduced participants to video material they produced for the first run of this event in March 2023, which follows a CAC through each of the five sessions. The videos illustrate each of the composite components and main aspects of the approach, providing material for group reflection and discussion.

There was a chance to observe and practice developing ‘here and now’ reformulations to inform case management; additionally exploring ways of developing exits with the care-co-ordinator and the client.

In summary, the day provided:

  • An introduction to the five session CAC approach and its key skills
  • An awareness of the evidence base for five session CAC
  • The chance to use some new CAC tools in terms of the care coordinator and service user versions of the Relationship File.
  • Observation of the use of CAC skills through newly developed video material
  • Opportunity to practise the main skills using small group work and role play
  • A space for participants to discuss their own work using this approach, and
  • An opportunity to learn from other participants; to contrast and compare with others’ work in this approach

Who was it for?

This CPD workshop was designed for those who provide five session cognitive analytic consultancy (CAC) currently, or were interested in potentially developing their role in this manner. It was for clinicians seeking a space to further develop or kindle their CAC skills. The day was open to both trainee and qualified CAT therapists, and other therapists with good knowledge of CAT.

This day did not cover CAT theory in any great detail.  So, to make the most of this opportunity, participants needed a ‘good enough’ working knowledge of CAT. Being able to practice the skills and bring examples of current ongoing CAC work allows the training to be directly applicable to practice, bringing this valuable organisational approach to life.

Please note: This workshop was not designed to qualify participants to practice cognitive analytic therapy or CAT formulation. Attendance was NOT a CAT qualification. Instead, the workshop aimed to provide knowledge and skills to enhance the existing skills of therapists within their existing scope of practice. Further training and support via supervision or personal therapy is always recommended when integrating new approaches into one’s existing work.

Some feedback from the first run of this event (March 23)

“I appreciated the facilitators’ flexibility and responsiveness to the needs of the audience; a good example of adult to adult teaching relationship. It was great to hear up to date ways of applying the model from people actively involved in its delivery and development.”

“I found the videos and group discussion most helpful. I also really benefitted from the facilitators’ knowledge and expertise. I will definitely use the skills I took from the day moving forward in my clinical practice.”


Dr Katie Ackroyd is a consultant clinical psychologist working in the NHS. She is a CAT practitioner and supervisor and regularly practices CAC in community services. She teaches CAC on various courses and has helped to develop the CAC evidence base.

Dr Stephen Kellett is a consultant clinical psychologist, CAT psychotherapist and supervisor. He has led many research initiatives in the CAT field, and was a past core trainer for Catalyse practitioner training. He currently works in the NHS in acute care. Stephen also teaches CAC on various courses and has helped to develop the CAC evidence base.

You can read a publication on five-session CAC, co-authored by Katie and Stephen, at this link.


St Thomas Centre, Ardwick Green North, Manchester M12 6FZ

Group Size

Places were limited to a maximum of thirty participants.