The CAT Practitioner Training is a two year training for people with a core mental health profession. It leads to the award of the ACAT CAT Practitioner Diploma.
Please scroll to the end of this page for course downloads and further information.
NHS England (NHSE) approval to deliver the NHSE national curriculum for CAT Practitioner Training
Catalyse, along with two other CAT training centres covering the English regions, have been approved to deliver the NHS England (NHSE) national curriculum CAT Practitioner training. Please note that our training is based in Manchester. Training for the North East and South East of England will be provided by different course centres.
The NHSE funding route provides funded training places, allocated by local trusts, for those who meet criteria. This training is to support the expansion of psychological therapies for severe mental health problems in adult community services. This training is funded by NHS England specifically for clinicians working with adults (including older people) in community services with people with complex relational problems and adverse childhood experience, who would be likely to meet criteria for a diagnosis of ‘Borderline’ or ‘Emotionally Unstable’ Personality Disorder. Updates about this funding route are available at the page on NHSE-funded applications. If you are interested in this route please liaise with your CPPO and/ or contact your NHSE Workforce, Training & Education regional lead (previously HEE).
The NHSE funded pathway is subject to contract which is still being finalised.
The training content and structure is broadly similar for NHSE or non-NHSE trainees. However there are some additional components for the NHSE training route which will be described in the NHSE prospectus (forthcoming).
Applicants through the NHSE funded route must have their service manager approval and approval of the relevant NHSE Workforce, Training & Education regional lead (previously HEE). Contact details for each regional lead are given below.
North West – Kay Helliwell – email: email@example.com
North East & Yorkshire – Mike Lewis – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Midlands – Jenny Kirk & Hannah Skidmore – email: email@example.com
Aims of the Course
Catalyse provides a training programme which aims to enable professionals with competence in their own field to to develop skills to practise CAT as a one-to-one therapy. It is open to trainees with a core profession and relevant experience. It allows you to practise CAT within your core profession.
This is a two year training comprising a combination of
- workshops or training days
- peer group work
- personal learning
- clinical practice, and
- personal therapy
Experiential work focuses on personal exploration and the development of CAT skills and their clinical application. Trainees must complete a minimum of eight supervised cases and pass all written work required by the course.
The training days reflect ‘CAT Knowledge in Use’ and consist of a combination of preliminary reading, presentations, small and large group work, skills exercises and case discussions as appropriate. They cover theoretical input relating to CAT principles and concepts. Training days provide opportunity to reflect on and practice with CAT tools, activities and skills. Early in the course trainees are introduced to the main features of the CAT model, which are built on throughout the two years. The content of the teaching programme in Year 1 follows the structure of a CAT therapy. Year 2 deepens knowledge and skills and covers a range of applications of CAT. There is a specific focus on work with more complex cases.
The training addresses theories which have informed the development of CAT. It also covers issues common to all psychotherapies within the CAT context. For example there is emphasis on CAT perspectives on transference & counter transference; therapeutic alliance; and the process of change. The training reflects the social/political context and psychotherapy research.
Timing of training days
There are ten days spread throughout each of the two years. These start with two days in both October and November. A further four single days take place from January through to May. Each year ends with a two day residential in June. Single days are Fridays, and two day blocks are Thursdays and Fridays.
Trainees meet in seminar groups of between three and six participants. Meetings last for an hour and a half, eight times a year (or equivalent). Each group will have some input from a seminar group leader. However, the aim is to encourage trainees to take an active approach to their learning needs and to identify gaps in knowledge which their own activity can meet. The course trainers will provide the reading material and guidelines to assist study etc and will approve arrangements.
Trainees are in weekly supervision with an accredited CAT supervisor. They usually carry two CAT training cases at a time, and must complete a minimum of eight supervised cases. Supervision is usually in groups of three trainees for 1.5 hours with a minimum of 40 sessions each year. Trainees are expected to attend regularly, and to remain in supervision until the completion of all clinical work. This will normally take a minimum of two years but may extend up to a further six-months, depending on the individual trainee’s case mix and circumstances.
Trainees who work in specialist settings (e.g. forensic, eating disorders) need to gain experience of doing CAT in adult mental health, by seeing at least two cases. Trainees develop the skill to practise 16 session CAT. They should also gain experience in variations of the time limit, to 8 session and 24 sessions. Of the eight cases required, six of these should be of 16 or more sessions. Each completed case should include all three CAT Tools: Reformulation Letter, SDR and Goodbye Letter.
Click here for more information on supervised clinical practice as part of CAT training.
Trainees are required to have an experience of personal therapy during their practitioner training. This involves a standard 16 session CAT conducted by an accredited CAT therapist.
Click here for further information on personal development and personal therapy as part of CAT training.
Trainees are expected to attend a minimum of 85% of each element of the taught course. Clinical appraisals take place every six months, four over the two year taught course. Written work includes:
- Two case studies – one by the end of each year. The Catalyse course requires the inclusion of a session recording with accompanying analysis and reflection. Together these comprise of the Year 1 case study. Trainees need to arrange consent and data security to submit the recording, but the course provides guidance on this.
- Two essays – one midway through each year. The Year 1 essay is on the process of reformulation. The Year 2 essay addresses the application of CAT concepts in your clinical work
Training days are usually in Manchester, with the residential usually near Sheffield. Supervision groups run in various locations across the UK. Seminar groups run online. For information on adaptations to CAT training maintained since the pandemic, see Covid-19 Impact on Training | ACAT.
We provide a list of CAT training therapists. Trainees may have to be prepared to travel for therapy, unless the therapist offers online therapy.
Requirements for Training
Applicants are expected to demonstrate they are academically capable of undertaking postgraduate study and have personal qualities that make them suitable for the profession of psychotherapy. This includes having sufficient emotional competence to deal with the psychological aspects of the work. We offer the following criteria as a general guide:
- Core professional training in the caring professions i.e. psychiatry, nursing, clinical and counselling psychology, social work, counselling, and occupational or art therapy
- At least one and normally two years of post qualification experience in a core profession depending upon experience
- Introductory level experience/training in psychotherapy
- Appropriate access to clients
- Attendance at a 2-day introductory CAT workshop
- Those applying for the HEE pathway will be working with people with a diagnosis of EUPD
- Personal therapy experience
- Work experience in a mental health setting. Where the trainee has no such experience, they may be required to undertake a suitable placement
Click here to read more about our entry criteria for CAT Practitioner trainings. This includes information for candidates who may not strictly meet the entry criteria but are interested to explore CAT training.
For example, Catalyse will consider applicants such as High Intensity IAPT therapists who meet entry criteria for the one-year CAT Foundation course but who can demonstrate a level of experience in delivering psychological therapies such that they wish to be considered for the Practitioner course.
Catalyse will consider applications from CAT Foundation course graduates. They can apply with their foundation year credit to complete year 2. This enables Foundation graduates to gain the additional training, clinical experience and assessments necessary for accreditation as an ACAT accredited CAT Therapist /Practitioner.
For details of how to apply as a Foundation course graduate to complete Year 2 alongside our Practitioner Course trainees, please click here. More information about CAT Foundation Training is available on ACAT’s pages – please visit this link to view.
- Initial application fee £15 :: If called for interview £50
- Academic Training: £2,400 per year (including ACAT registration fee of £87 per year).
- Supervision usually costs approx £1600 for the year. Alternatively, trainees may be able to get supervision within their workplace. Some may be able to negotiate free placements in exchange for seeing clients within the supervisor’s work setting (normally NHS).
- Personal Therapy (approx) £1020/£1360 – please see course prospectus for info.
- Optional additions: Books: four course texts, and the ACAT Annual conference.
Total: £9,425 approx
Some of the training days will include invited speakers with specialist knowledge and experience in a specific area.
How to Apply
Entry to the two year course is through application, interview and attendance at a CAT introductory workshop (two days) or equivalent. Applicants are invited to submit an application form, and CV with 2 referees. They should provide details of source of referrals, assessment arrangements and venue for seeing clients. In addition, applicants should write a personal supporting statement of around 750 words giving an indication of:
- your current therapeutic approach
- what you hope to gain from training in CAT
- why it is important for psychotherapists to develop an understanding of their own emotional life
- plus one case summary of around 500 words
Additionally, those applying for the HEE funded pathway should additionally address what CAT will bring to their work with clients with complex early trauma.
Shortlisted applicants will then be invited for an interview.
Please send your application to Frances Free – email firstname.lastname@example.org, tel 07842 137745, postal address available on request.
Payment of Application and/or Interview Fees
You can pay the application or interview fee online by clicking here. Before proceeding to pay online, please ensure you read and understand our terms and conditions.
If you intend to pay by cheque or bank transfer, please make payment to ‘Catalyse’, and contact Frances Free (as above) for further details.
Applications to the course for this intake are now closed. You can read an update on 2023 applications at this link.
The initial deadline for applications was Friday 12th May, 2023 and the principal interview date was Friday 23rd June, 2023 (online).
If you have any queries, please contact us.
Prior to the first day of training each year we have a short Question and Answer session between new trainees and past graduates. You can see some excerpts from those discussions (plus additional information) in the document provided below – ‘2023 CAT FAQs’. Please contact us if you have any other queries.
Catalyse (formerly CAT North) has run a successful CAT Practitioner Training programme in the North of England since 1992. It is a not-for-profit organisation which also offers a range of other services. These include:
- other training programmes, including bespoke trainings for teams and organisations
- training films to help develop and scaffold skills in cognitive analytic therapy
- continuing professional development events
- personal reformulation for personal and professional development
- research, evaluation and other consultancy
The Catalyse Practitioner Training in cognitive analytic therapy is one of the regional trainings accredited by the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT). You can find out more about ACAT accredited trainings at this link. Alternatively, you can contact ACAT by email via email@example.com.
The application form, application guidance, a flyer and prospectus together with FAQs are available to download below.