Lunchtime Talk: Anne Benson, 15th June 2016
Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is an individual time-limited therapy developed in the 1960s and 1970s by Anthony Ryle. CAT was developed in and for the NHS with the intention of providing an accessible, effective, affordable psychotherapy in a resource limited public health care system. It is an integrative therapy drawing on dialogism; psychodynamic, cognitive, personal construct and activity theories.
CAT offers a relational approach. It acknowledges that as human beings we are primed to relate to each other. CAT believes that the way we learn to involve others in our attempts to find out who we are in the world sets ups patterns that we continue to use. Reciprocal Roles are a core construct in CAT – we tend to treat people in the way we anticipate they will treat us, and, from how others relate to us we learn how to relate to ourselves – this results in us re-enacting reciprocating role relationships. We might have role pairs of nurturing to nurtured or critically judging to critically judged. This relational understanding provides a powerful way of describing patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving. It can help understand distress, conflict and a sense of repetition or stuckness, both at a one to one level and also more widely in teams and organisations.
It is this wider application of CAT and its potential to offer something to the Tavistock tradition of understanding organisations that will be explored, in this seminar. What reciprocal roles do we see enacted within organisational life? How do patterns of behaviour generate from these and serve to maintain the status quo; and how might we intervene to make changes? I will introduce some of CAT’s relational understanding and its tools of explaining and mapping out what is going on. We can then explore together the extent to which these might be useful in organisational consultancy, supervision or other sense making, change intended activities.
Anne Benson joined the Tavistock Institute in December 2015. She has extensive experience of working with individuals, teams and organisations especially in the health and social care sector. She has particular interest and expertise in leadership development, organisational and team culture and dynamics, working through change and working at and across boundaries. She is interested in what goes on beneath the surface and working with people to make sense of this in practical ways that make a difference. Since 2007 she has also been working as a CAT therapist and continues to run a small private therapy practice. In the spirit of integration, dialogue and the translation of ideas into practice she is keen to explore what the concepts and frameworks used in CAT have to offer the TIHR approach to working with organisations.
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