Personal Reformulation: Very Brief CAT Work for Personal and Professional Development ~ 22 October 2021

Past Catalyse Event

Personal Reformulation: Very Brief CAT Work for Personal and Professional Development

A one day online workshop for CAT therapists, led by Clive Turpin and Dawn Bennett plus other Catalyse PR therapists

Event Hashtag: #CATpr21

Date: Friday 22 October 2021
Time: 10.00 am to 4.30 pm
Venue:  Online via Zoom
Fees:  ACAT member :: £95.00
non-ACAT member :: £115.00

Overview of workshop

Personal reformulation (PR) is a form of personal and professional development based on cognitive analytic therapy. The therapist and client collaboratively negotiate the focus but the emphasis is their professional role. This helps to provide focus and containment as a PR is not therapy, but gives useful insight into the psychology of workplace relationships.

Personal reformulation is used increasingly in a range of training and staff wellbeing contexts and with different professions. It is the personal development component of ACAT accredited CAT Skills and Foundation courses and has been applied in other healthcare trainings, by qualified health professionals and in wellbeing services. It is applicable for occupational and employee assistance programmes.

Any CAT practitioner can offer a personal reformulation. This workshop provided an opportunity to share the collective experience and learning of a group of Catalyse Associates involved in providing PRs, some for over a decade. It aimed to demonstrate the different styles and skills within the PR framework.

More information about personal reformulation is available at this link.

Aims and learning outcomes

There were two parts to the day:

The morning focused on what a PR is, some history, how they have evolved and different ways of using very brief reformulatory approaches using CAT

The afternoon shared key messages from our own evaluations, past and current research and feedback from those who have had a PR. We worked together to pull out the valuable lessons for practice from these sources.

Participants learned about :

  • Using very brief approaches based on CAT
  • What is involved in offering a PR
  • The frame and how to structure the PR
  • The start of the PR and how to give participants a sense of what may be covered
  • How to develop the CAT reformulation ‘map’
  • Reflections at the end of the session
  • Ways of approaching the follow–up
  • What do those receiving PRs find most and least helpful
  • Applications of the PR

The learning aimed to be sufficient for those new to personal reformulation to begin to offer these, and continue to build on emerging best practice.

Who was it for?

The event was intended for qualified CAT therapists (practitioner & psychotherapist level) who were already familiar and experienced in providing cognitive analytic therapy. Current practitioner trainees could also attend.


Clive Turpin led the morning session. Clive has offered PRs for Catalyse since the beginning, has written blogs about their value and was previously the Catalyse PR workstream lead.

Dawn Bennett led the afternoon session. Dawn was the Catalyse PR workstream lead when the event was set up, supporting the PR therapists and liaising with organisations to promote PRs. She had reviewed all the evaluations of those receiving PRs through Catalyse. (The lead for this workstream passed on to Jenny Marshall in Summer 2021.)

Other Catalyse PR therapists contributed to the day. The day aimed to offer varied voices alongside shared collective experience of offering PRs, in the spirit of learning together.