Cognitive Analytic Therapy

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT), a form of psychotherapy developed by Dr Anthony Ryle, involves collaboration between therapist and patient who work together in order to identify malevolent patterns in the patient's life. It is known for its brief length of treatment and the importance of helping the patient develop their own ability to cope with negative patterns of emotional expression. Treatment emphasizes discovering where psychological problems in one's life come from and practical methods of coping with these problems. Therapy is particularly effective because it emphasizes the patient's personal history as opposed to applying a set procedure to all clients. Furthermore, because of its collaborative nature, the patient is encouraged to become an active part of the treatment, working on recognizing and revising negative patterns.


Cognitive Analytic Therapy generally ranges from 4 to 24 sessions, with the traditional number of sessions being 16. Early on in therapy the patient will usually be asked to monitor and document a particular symptom. This takes the form of usual problem procedures (Cognitive Analytic Therapy often uses the terminology Traps, Dilemmas and Snags). After the problems have been monitored, the therapist will provide the patient with a written 'Reformulation,' which includes a description of the problems and how the patient approaches them. The Reformulation allows the patient to reflect on the cause and current methods of coping with their problems in order to make positive changes to the ways they handle targeted problems. The remainder of therapy aims at empowering the patient with the necessary tools to continue recognizing and confronting their psychological stresses. Because of the brief nature of Cognitive Analytic Therapy, the aim is not to fix problems at the end of treatment, but to give the patient the required scaffolding to treat their problems on their own.