Tag Archives: NIHR

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#SamTweetsCAT: Introducing @HartleySamantha as a Catalyse Tweeter

In this, her debut blog, Sam Hartley introduces herself in her new role as a Catalyse tweeter.  She ‘ll be keeping Rhona Brown company in @CatalyseC tweets, but read on to find out more about the particular topics and interests she’ll be tweeting about.  And how we’ll know it’s her…..

My own hashtag, imagine that?! A long way from when I reluctantly joined Twitter in 2011.  I then had a long hiatus while I completed the not so small tasks of two doctorates one straight after another.  (This is where the slightly tongue in cheek Dr2 comes in to my bio.) After qualifying as a clinical psychologist in 2015, I spent a couple of years in practice.  Then I came upon the opportunity to start an NIHR/HEE clinical lectureship.  This allowed me to do research alongside developing my clinical skills and continuing to practice in my role working with young people within inpatient mental health services.

Combining clinical and research work is something I’d always aspired to. I’m passionate about each informing and moulding the other. They “keep each other honest” as @PimlottBrenda once so eloquently put it. I believe research should be driven by clinical need and produced in ways that allow it to influence practice meaningfully. My fellowship has allowed me to explore the nature and development of therapeutic relationships within inpatient CAMHS, while working on methods to improve them.  This has taken place alongside my partners at @HealthyYM @PennineCareNHS and @FBMH_UoM. It was my clinical mentor on the fellowship, @rachelchin91, that encouraged me to give Twitter another chance.  It’s a  way to make connections in both the research and clinical world to allow me to learn what was already out there.  Importantly, it’s a means to disseminate my work and engage in ways that break down the usual barriers.

My @NIHRresearch funding also gave me the means to train in Cognitive Analytic Therapy.  CAT fits so well with both my research focus on therapeutic relationships and my clinical role.  I work within a complex multidisciplinary team supporting young people with difficulties in relationships and across a wide range of problem areas. Thus I embarked on a two year juggling act.  Not two doctorates this time; instead, a mix of clinical work and skill development, personal therapy, research programme delivery, mentoring and supervision. You might guess I have a strong tendency for busyness!

Starting CAT training with @CatalyseC in the autumn of 2018 coincided with a flurry of tweeting for me, as I started to share my reflections, ideas and frustrations.  A retreat to Twitter was often when holed up (procrastinating!) in my research office rather than in the familiar hustle and bustle of a busy inpatient ward. Navigating through the #CatalysePT18 training days, seminar groups and reading materials, I found myself struck by the meaning, utility and personal resonance of the ideas. The dialogic self, the observer stance, the holding vessel of the therapeutic relationship. It made sense, it fitted with my experiences and felt like home. I wanted to share those ideas with others and the parsimony of CAT translated well into 280 characters. I enjoyed the process of reflecting, sharing and connecting amongst the CAT community and beyond.

So, here I am. I’ll be continuing to share some thoughts, questions and opportunities related to CAT with you, from the Catalyse account. This has been run to date by Rhona Brown @unfinalised.  Rhona will continue to tweet too, but our plan is that I’ll add a focus on the areas I know well.  Watch out for tweets from me on clinical research, practitioner trainee experiences, and uses of metaphors and signs. I’d really like to hear how others experience these and build our network of those practising CAT and those intrigued by the ideas.

You’ll know it’s me because you’ll see #SamTweetsCAT, and there might even be a GIF or two (inspired by @TomJewell17). If you have any ideas, queries or feedback, I’d love to hear from you.

See you in the Twittersphere!

Sam @HartleySamantha

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Inspiring and Connecting Through Research into Cognitive Analytic Therapy

ACAT chair Alison Jenaway reports back on April’s joint research conference in this, her first guest blog for Catalyse.

“Only connect” wrote E.M. Forster, in his book Howards End, as isolation is a killer. I am paraphrasing, but this is what I had in mind when I was planning the idea of a regular Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) research day. I wanted to be able to gather a group of experienced researchers and lock them in a room with CAT therapists who are keen and interested in research. My hunch was that by some magical process, this would produce a future Professor of CAT.  Call me naïve if you like, but this was my hope when I persuaded Stephen Kellett and Glenys Parry to organise the first research conference to showcase CAT.

To be honest they did not take much persuading. I don’t think the people who agreed to present their research on the day did either, nor the experienced researchers that gave up their time to support the day. My plan was that I would just be there to introduce the reasons behind the conference, and then watch the connecting happen from the sidelines. What I was not expecting, was how much I personally would be inspired by the day.

It really was fascinating, not so much the content of the research and the results, but the way each presenter described why they did what they chose to do, what went well, what went wrong, what they might do differently if they started again, and what they would like to do next. This felt different to other research presentations I have listened to in the past, where the presenter seems to be determined to convince you that the way they did it was the right way, indeed the only way it could have been done. It was like going behind the scenes at the theatre, and gave me more of an insight into the “researcher’s attitude”. It really made me feel that perhaps one day, just maybe, I could do this too.

The morning was made up of presentations for research projects at various stages of completion. Peter Taylor kicked off with an explanation of what a Delphi study is, and how his team used it to explore whether CAT seemed, to therapists, to be a helpful therapy for patients with psychosis.  Good luck to anyone who thinks they can get a group of CAT therapists to agree about anything, but there did seem to be some common themes emerging. His team have recently published a case series of CAT in psychosis which includes qualitative data from patients.

Craig Hallam was next, describing a huge amount of work, juggling multiple ethics committees and associated paperwork, in his study on CAT outcomes for people with learning disabilities.  Despite much solid effort and goodwill – his own, his supervisors’ and CAT colleagues working in this area – recruitment remained a challenge. Craig was pragmatic in moving on to a more manageable project that could be completed within the timeframe of his clinical psychology training. I hope that he will find a way to keep the study going once qualified, given the amount of work already put in. There were plenty of nods of recognition around the room as he generously shared a CAT map of reflections on this process.

Mark Evans described a fantastic piece of work, his small pilot randomised controlled trial of CAT for bipolar disorder, carried out with a tiny amount of funding, and what sounded like a massive amount of good will. Katie Ackroyd is similarly amazing, in her ability to get research into CAT consultancy going in the real world of a busy clinical job.

We have all come to expect that now from Steve Kellett, of course, which is unfair of us. As Steve said, he was jealous of the tiny amount of funding that Mark Evans had to spend! Steve presented his work exploring whether narrative reformulation is really necessary in eight session CAT for depression within an IAPT service, conveying in the process how much fun research can be if you are doing it as a team.

There was some great networking over lunch, and Barney Dunn, from Exeter University was available to talk to people who might be interested in applying for an NIHR ICA fellowship programme. In his view, this was one of the best chances we have in ACAT of getting funding for CAT research projects, and developing a future academic researcher into CAT, at the same time. He and other NIHR advocates are happy to support people looking for research funding .

After lunch we divided up into small groups and so I only have a small fraction of what went on. Frank Margison and I had a group of three keen people who were just starting to think about what research they might be able to do, and we all got excited about the possibilities. Frank has a great overview of how to frame a research question and how you might go about answering it. He didn’t seem to mind me interrupting every now and then to say “I’ve just had another great research idea”.

I think everyone else at the day was as inspired by it as I was. I am planning to lock people up in a room together again next year, for a similar day in London, but it may be that Barney Dunn’s ideas are a more practical way forward in the long run.

Dr Alison Jenaway is a Consultant Psychiatrist in Psychotherapy in the Liaison Psychiatry Service in Cambridge, working with patients with physical health problems and medically unexplained symptoms. She is a CAT therapist and supervisor and has been using CAT for around 20 years. She is currently Chair of the national Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT)