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Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) combines cognitive psychotherapies such as CBT with psychoanalytic approaches to create an integrated, user-friendly and effective therapy. CAT is tailored to your individual needs, looking at the way you think, feel and act. This approach can aid you in thinking about yourself differently, finding out what your difficulties are; how they started and how they impact your daily life and relationships. CAT not only helps you to understand the underlying patterns of thought and behaviour that contribute towards negative actions but it also enables you to get past the limitation of diagnosis by enabling you to understand the reasons behind the symptoms of illness. 

CAT is not as focused on traditional labels and syndromes but instead recognises people beyond their diagnosis. If you have had a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, personality disorders or phobia CAT may suit you. CAT had also been found to aid those that are dealing with overwhelming stress, or are struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders, as well as those that struggle with relationships and looking after themselves. 

A CAT therapy is usually between 16-24 sessions, though this can be discussed and agreed with your therapist at the start of therapy. Each weekly session is for 50-60 minutes. Between one and five follow-up sessions are offered after the end of regular therapy. 

The structure: 

After the first session you will complete a ‘Psychotherapy File’ which asks about Traps, Dilemmas and Snags (which are typical problems or patterns), you may also be asked to monitor mood and behaviour patterns.

Early sessions will focus primarily on hearing your story and understanding patterns that make up your life.

Once you reach around the fourth session your therapist will work on written ‘Reformulation’ of your situation.

Reformulation will not only describe the problems and patterns you have discussed with your therapist but also illustrate a series of Target Problem Procedures which show your past experiences that still influence your current behaviour. You will then work towards resolving these and learning new ways of dealing with your situations.

In the final few sessions, you will consolidate the key themes you have shared over previous sessions and talk through the feelings and thoughts you have over ending the therapy.

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