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Cognitive analytic therapy at 30

  • Anthony Ryle, Stephen Kellett, Jason Hepple and Rachel Calvert

Cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) was formalised in 1984 by Anthony Ryle. It facilitated the clinical integration of psychodynamic therapy and personal construct/cognitive psychology. It is a brief, user-friendly relational therapy, applicable to the wide range of psychological problems typically seen in public mental health settings. It has recently been included in national guidelines for the treatment of personality disorder in the National Health Service. CAT provides a coherent model of development and psychopathology, which centrally views the self as both socially formed and embedded. Owing to its core relational grounding, CAT is being increasingly applied to team contexts/systems, enabling a ‘common language’ for team formulation/practice. It is also being successfully delivered as a group therapy. This article describes the development and unique features of the CAT model, analyses the current evidence base and identifies potential future directions for the model.

Learning Objectives

Be able to describe the core principles of the CAT approach.

Appreciate the evidence base for CAT.

Understand CAT's place today among talking therapies.

Corresponding author
Dr Jason Hepple, Psychological Therapies, Summerlands Health Park, 56 Preston Road, Yeovil BA20 2BX, UK. Email:
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Declaration of Interest

A.R. is the originator of the CAT model and President of the Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ACAT). J.H. is Chair of ACAT.

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Cognitive analytic therapy at 30

  • Anthony Ryle, Stephen Kellett, Jason Hepple and Rachel Calvert
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