Working Creatively in CAT with Dreams & Stories ~ 30 Nov 2016

Past Catalyse Events

Working Creatively in CAT with Dreams and Stories


A 1-day workshop led by Dr Sophie Rushbrook and Nicola Coulter

This event has now passed

Feedback from participants:

A wonderfully creative technique for working with complex clients who have difficulty talking about themselves.

The whole day was very useful and enjoyable. Thank you. I found the dream method particularly useful and feel it can be applied to my therapies fairly quickly, and my own experience/dreams. I also liked the application/addition to 6PSM.

All was useful. Liked way therapists joined groups and were very engaging and enthusiastic about the work. It makes me feel energised.

Date: Wednesday 30th November, 2016
Time: 9:30am to 4:30pm
Venue:  St Thomas Centre, GMCVO, Manchester, M12 6FZ
Fees:  ACAT member :: £125.00
non-ACAT member :: £140.00
The workshop included lunch, and refreshments.

Information about the training:

NB For a more detailed account of this event, how it came about, and the presenters, visit our blog: Working Creatively with Complexity: a thoroughly dialogical act

This was an interactive workshop incorporating a mixture of teaching, experiential and practical exercises.  It was a development of well-received workshops previously presented at ICATA and ACAT conferences.

Sophie and Nicola drew on their published work and clinical experience using dream materials in therapy with people with complex presentations in an Intensive Psychological Therapies Service in Dorset.  People benefitting from their approach include those attracting diagnoses of personality disorder & trauma.   Sophie and Nicola have used creative and playful approaches in their work for many years and their practice is continuously evolving.

Participants learned about techniques adapted from Fritz Perls’ approach to dream analysis which fit elegantly with the CAT model and CAT tasks.  Tony Ryle (1991) noted on dreams:-

“Their meaning to the patient and their relation to the therapy can be considered jointly by patient and therapist in the same way as all the other communications of the patient.”

Case material and discussion illustrated ways in which use of these creative approaches have led to shifts in therapies which have become “stuck”, or when reliance on verbal materials alone has been insufficient to produce therapeutic gains.

In the second part of the day Sophie and Nicola covered how these techniques may be applied to creatively explore other constructs and themes present in therapy.  This included their application to material generated using the Six Part Story Method.

Participants took away from the day techniques to add breadth to their existing practice, and more options on which to draw when working solely with verbal content in therapy has become limiting.

Learning outcomes:

Participants made use of active learning approaches to:

  • learn about Fritz Perls’ ideas for working with dreams in therapy;
  • learn about Six Part Story Method technique;
  • consider and practise how to integrate and apply these two techniques in relation to dreams, stories and to other materials arising in therapy;
  • build confidence in expanding and exploring jointly derived metaphors in an experiential way.

Who was it for?

CAT practitioners and psychotherapists, other therapists who have some knowledge of CAT concepts, and trainee CAT practitioners.


Dr Sophie Rushbrook is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Nicola Coulter is an Occupational Therapist working at the Intensive Psychological Therapies Service (IPTS) in Dorset. The IPTS is a University Department of Mental Health linked to the University of Bournemouth, and part of Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust. It offers CAT, DBT and Radically Open DBT to people with a diagnosis of Personality Disorder, often in the context of complex trauma. In addition to their work with ITPS, Sophie and Nicola both offer supervision and therapy privately, and both contribute to the Jersey CAT Practitioner Training course.