Julie Donegan


about me

cognitive analytic therapy (CAT)

what to expect





What is Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) ?


Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a highly effective, short- term, and practical therapy. It was devised to be a sophisticated but up-front form of treatment to be delivered within the NHS. It can be of benefit to all with varying degrees of distress and diagnoses.


CAT attracts clients who have tried numerous alternative therapies, as it explores what has hindered change in the past and how problems are maintained.


Devised in London by Consultant Psychiatrist Tony Ryle over thirty years ago, CAT genuinely integrates psychodynamic, cognitive and behavioural therapy.  It has a robust theory base including psychoanalysis, Kelly’s personal construct theory, Cognitive behavioural approaches, developmental psychology and attachment theory.  CAT’s strength lies in making insights from all these perspectives accessible and available for practical use. Rooted in educational theory, it is attentive to how people most effectively acquire insight and skills.


Practically speaking CAT is a form of psychotherapy which aims to be clear, safe, accessible, and user friendly.  It is short term- from six to twenty four sessions, sixteen being the average- as the targeted and structured method produces change within a relatively short time-frame. Ending is seen as an important process in itself and is openly explored.


Problems are understood in the context of an individual’s own history and life experiences. Current coping strategies have often originated from tough and challenging times in childhood. These coping mechanisms were necessary and got an individual so far. However,the strategies may, unknowingly,have become fixed and self defeating over the years. Having gained some shared understanding on this, therapist and client target new and better ways of coping. Throughout it is collaborative and open with the client playing an active role. CAT pays particular attention to relationships, recognising them as a prime motivator in life and that most distress in human beings is relationship based.  The therapeutic relationship within the room is used to creatively explore matters.


More details on CAT can be found at: http://www.acat.me.uk/

Counselling to help with depression and how talking therapy using Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) can help.  Julie Donegan is a accredited CAT practitioner in Edinburgh.