Nottingham: 7th International CAT conference, 2017

7th International CAT Conference
20th September 2017 to 23rd September 2017

‘New Frontiers in CAT Understanding and Practice’

7th International CAT Conference hosted by ACAT and ICATA

Wednesday, 20th September to Saturday, 23rd September 2017

University of Nottingham, Jubilee Campus


Keynote Theme

‘Reformulation and Memory: The stories we tell in reconstructing the past’

Workshop Programme Theme

‘Working creatively with complexity’

The theme of the conference workshop programme was ‘Working Creatively with Complexity: CAT theory and practice’.  Workshops focussed on the application of CAT tools and skills to working with complexity, with an emphasis on theory practice links, skills learning, and therapist self-care, particularly when therapists find it hard to help.

The conference marked a collaboration between the international CAT Association (ICATA) and ACAT to bring together the CAT community from around the world in Nottingham, UK, in the autumn of 2017, to celebrate the legacy of Tony Ryle and continue the development of CAT theory and practice.  The conference programme struck a balance between exciting keynote speakers from the worlds of science, philosophy and psychotherapy and a skills-based focus for workshops aimed at developing clinical expertise in those practising CAT.

The conference included an imaginative entertainment and cultural programme interspersed throughout the three days, including international cabaret, book launches, a gala conference dinner and tango lessons for beginners!

Please scroll down for the Conference Programme.  

International Conference 2017 Organising Group

Jason Hepple, Chair of ACAT, UK

Katri Kanninen, Chair of ICATA, Finland

Elizabeth McCormick, UK

Robert Watson, UK

Iannis Vlachos, Greece

Confirmed Keynote and Plenary Speakers included

  • Prof Nicola Clayton  and Clive Wilkins

Exploring the subjective nature of perception and memory 

Prof Nicola Clayton PhD, FRS, FSB, FAPS, is Professor of Comparative Cognition at the University of Cambridge, Scientist in Residence at Rambert Dance Company, a Fellow of Clare College, Cambridge, where she is Director of Studies in Psychology, and a Fellow of the Royal Society since 2010.

Clive Wilkins has worked as a fine art painter and has exhibited widely, including at the National Portrait Gallery, London on several occasions.  He is a performer and magician and is particularly interested in the nature of illusion and the psychology of perception and the chosen ways we adopt to make sense of a strange world.

  • Prof Richard Lane

Memory Reconsolidation, Emotional Arousal and the Process of Change in Psychotherapy: New Insights from Brain Science 

Dr Richard Lane is Professor of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at the University of Arizona.  Dr Lane’s core academic interest is in understanding the psychology and neurobiology of emotional awareness and the mechanisms by which emotion contributes to physical and mental health.

  • Prof Mikael Leiman

Reformulation and referential networks

Prof Leiman PhD, Professor (Emer.) University of Eastern Finland, has been one of the leading contributors to the development of CAT theory and practice alongside Dr Tony Ryle.

  • Dr Paul Sullivan

Response to Prof Leiman from a Bakhtinian perspective

Dr Paul Sullivan BA, HDip (education), PHD, is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at the University of Bradford.  He has a specialist interest in dialogical psychology and its applications to qualitative analysis and a wider interest in the interface between moral philosophy and psychology.

  • Dr Jason Hepple

A relational model of the psyche

Dr Jason Hepple MA (Oxon), FRCPsych, is a CAT Psychotherapist and Trainer and Chair of ACAT.  He works in Somerset in the UK.  He has developed CAT as a model for working in groups and is interested in exploring the dialogic depths of CAT in theory and practice.

  • Dr Caroline Dower

Dr Caroline Dower is an Integrative Psychotherapist with training backgrounds in Cognitive Analytic Therapy, Integrative Psychotherapy and Developmental Somatic Psychotherapy. She combines NHS work in Gastroenterology in Durham with private practice in Newcastle, and trains and supervises in a wider range of settings.

  • ICATA plenaries

National histories, identities and colours of CAT

Reflections on Tony Ryle’s legacy and discussion of ‘where next for CAT and relational mental health?’


Wednesday 20th September 

14:00 – 16:00  Equality and Diversity Forum
16:00 – 16:30  Refreshments
16:30 – 16:45  Conference Welcome and ‘culture shot’
16:45 – 18:15  Opening plenary session ~ ‘ICATA: National histories, identities and colours of CAT’   
18:15 – 18:30  ‘Culture shot’
19.30                Dinner

Thursday 21st September

09:15 – 09:30  Welcome to day and ‘culture shot’
09:30 – 10:45  Plenary Speaker: Dr Jason Hepple ~ ‘A relational model of the psyche

Abstract: CAT has evolved into a relational psychotherapy where the dialogic self is an unfinalised work in progress that is co-created through its inter-psychic activity. ‘We interact and communicate therefore I become,’ as Tony Ryle said.  Jason will seek to address the following questions arising from this: How does a dialogic self relate to the topographical models of the psyche from psychoanalysis? What is CAT’s understanding of conscious and unconscious process? How does dialogism relate to advances in neurobiology and trauma? Where is mindfulness and ‘inner peace’ to be found relationally?

10:45 – 11:15  Refreshments
11:15 – 12:30  Keynote Speaker: Prof. Mikael Leiman ~ ‘Reformulation and referential networks’ 

Abstract: A long-standing theoretical problem in CAT is the relationship of sign-mediation to the concepts of reciprocal roles and procedural sequences.  My earlier (1996) attempt to reconcile roles and procedures by the idea of dialogical sequences did not solve the problem of signs as mediators of our mental activity. The problem can be located in the dialogic, or Bakhtinian, understanding of signs.  I will present my current understanding of signs as referential networks.  The implications of the new conception range from understanding very early development to issues of attention, memory, and the relationship between cognitive and emotional processes. 

12:30 – 13:30  Lunch
13.30 – 15:00  Workshops

  • Liz Fawkes & Dawn Bennett – ‘A glimpse into 40 sessions: Use of self and challenges to the therapist’s sense of self in working with powerful enactments with clients who have had a raw deal in life’‘
  • Deirdre Haslam – ‘Working with, and resolving impasses and ruptures in the therapeutic relationship’
  • Esther Gimeno – ‘Threats of therapeutic rupture: The “Ghosts” of the therapist’
  • Vikki Ryall – ‘A pragmatic approach to including families in CAT therapy using the SSFC model’
  • Alison Jenaway & Carol Gregory – ‘Let’s get physical – getting physical symptoms on the CAT diagram’
  • Vicky Petratou – ‘Feeling stuck in a powerless, ‘victim’-like self-state, how can creative CAT help with embracing the pain and exploring more dialogically useful ways of interacting?’
  • Nicola Crook – ‘Landing in another country with CAT: Use of the model in nurturing self-care’ || Matti Kurronen – ‘TRE (Tension, Stress & Trauma Release Exercise) for Psychotherapists and Clients’ (NB two workshops will be presented within this one session)
  • Paul Johanson & Sara Casado – ‘Loving the unlovable: CAT, compassion and working with people who commit sexual crime’

15:00 – 16:00  Refreshments
16:00 – 17:15  Plenary Speaker: Dr Paul Sullivan ~ Response to Prof Leiman from a Bakhtinian perspective   
17:15 – 17:30  ‘Culture shot’
18:30 – 19:30  Book launches: CAT Supervision and Change for the Better (5th Ed.)
19:30               Dinner ~ Entertainment: International cabaret

Friday 22nd September

09:00 – 09:15  Welcome to day and ‘culture shot’
09:15 – 10:30  Keynote speaker: Prof Richard Lane ~ Memory Reconsolidation, Emotional Arousal and the Process of Change in Psychotherapy: New Insights from Brain Science 

Abstract: The thesis of this talk is that enduring change in all major psychotherapy modalities, including behavioral therapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, emotion-focused and psychodynamic psychotherapy, results from the updating of prior emotional memories through a process of reconsolidation that incorporates new emotional experiences. An integrative memory model with three interactive components – autobiographical (event) memories, semantic structures, and emotional responses – will be presented supported by emerging evidence from cognitive neuroscience on implicit and explicit emotion, implicit and explicit memory, emotion-memory interactions, memory reconsolidation, and the relationship between autobiographical and semantic memory. The proposed essential ingredients of therapeutic change include: 1) reactivating old memories; 2) engaging in new emotional experiences that are incorporated into these reactivated memories via the process of reconsolidation; and 3) reinforcing the integrative memory structure by practicing a new way of behaving and experiencing the world in a variety of contexts. Implications of this new neurobiologically-grounded synthesis for research, clinical practice and teaching will be discussed.  

Objectives: At the conclusion of this presentation audience members will be able to

1.    Describe the integrated memory model consisting of concurrent activation and interaction between emotional arousal, episodic memory and semantic structures.
2.    Discuss how behavioral, cognitive-behavioral, emotion-focused and psychodynamic psychotherapies access the integrated memory model from different entry points.
3.    Explain how emotional arousal and memory reconsolidation are necessary ingredients of change in all major forms of psychotherapy.
4.    Describe how the “working through” process consists of the conversion of episodic memories into semantic structures.

10:30 – 11:00  Refreshments
11:00 – 12:00  Keynote speakers: Prof Nicola Clayton FRS and Clive Wilkins ~ ‘Exploring the subjective nature of perception and memory’    
12:00 – 12:30  Panel discussion
12:30 – 13:30  Lunch
13:30 – 15:00  Workshops

  • Jay Dudley – ‘Bridging the relational space – towards a new beginning’
  • Christina Hardy – ‘Envy: Green-eyed Monster or Desire for Equality’
  • Ann Treesa Rafi – ‘Cognitive Analytic Therapy for the wise old ‘Dadaji’* in India’ || Zampouridou – ‘Cultural diversity and CAT: the Greek experience’
  • Eeva Joki – ‘The power and dark shadows of leaders’ || Rita Toli – ‘Applying CAT in a Greek primary school’
  • Louise Elwell – ’Working actively in CAT with detached states of mind containing the experience of emptiness, desolation and boredom’
  • Kerry Manson, Marisol Cavieres & Sunil Lad – ‘Developing a CAT understanding of ASPD’
  • Jennifer O’Brien & Fritha Melville – ‘Using experiential and creative approaches to contextualise workplace stress and support self-care practices for helping professions’
  • Tim Sheard – ‘How do we relate to our bodies in CAT: Positively included, taken for granted or thrown to the dogs?

15:00 – 16:00  Refreshments
16:00 – 17:00  Plenary Speaker: Caroline Dower
17:00 – 18:00  ACAT Annual General Meeting
19:00 – 19:30  Pre-dinner drinks with ‘culture shot’
19:30 – 21:00  Gala Dinner
21:00 til late   Introduction to the 8-step tango for beginners with demonstration (Nicola Clayton and Clive Wilkins); live music and dancing

Saturday 23rd September

09:00 – 09:14  Welcome to day and ‘culture shot’
09:15 – 10:45  Plenary speakers: Debby Pickvance, Annie Nehmad, Jessie Emilion: CAT supervision: new ideas, new practice’
10:45 – 11:15  Refreshments
11:15 – 12:45  ICATA Plenary: Marie-Anne Bernardy, Andrew Chanen, Steve Potter: 3 thirty minute presentations looking at the future range of theory and practice in CAT
12:45 – 13:00  ‘Culture shot’ and close of Conference


Bursaries were funded through a legacy left to ACAT in Tony Ryle’s will. With grateful thanks.

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