Category Archives: Information about CAT

Youth CAT

CAT with children and young people

CAT is about understanding relationships with self and others. Relationships begin from birth. Even before a child is born, circumstances in the parents’ past and during pregnancy can influence how early relationships develop. CAT is relevant at all stages across the lifespan, including with children and young people.

CAT’s flexible use of drawings and letters makes it possible to adapt therapeutic work to meet individual needs. This means it can usefully fit with a broad range of ages, abilities and preferences.

CAT with teams and families

In work with families and teams supporting young people, CAT can help to highlight common themes and enhance shared understanding. It can help bring together different viewpoints. Given the many services that may be involved with a young person and their family, a common language through CAT can help people understand each other better.

Youth CAT special interest group

CAT therapists have been working in this area since at least 2013. A Youth CAT special interest group (SIG) was set up then to help co-ordinate this work. A recent relaunch of this SIG is helping to refresh connections. Since September 2020 meetings have brought together around thirty therapists using CAT with children and young people of all ages. In many cases this includes work with parents, carers and organisations supporting young people. Future meetings and developments are in the pipeline.

The range of CAT work across different settings and services

CAT therapists are working across the early lifespan, from parent/infant mental health to young people in their adolescence. Many teams in child & adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) are benefitting from CAT. In addition to community teams, CAT therapists are also working into inpatient units, including secure/forensic units for young people.

CAT is also supporting children and young people, along with family and professional carers, around fostering, adoption and other ‘looked after children’ settings. Parenting support and education are other areas starting to benefit from CAT thinking. CAT has also been applied towards helping strengthen and support communities.

Find out more

Follow the Youth CAT Special Interest Group on Twitter at or check the hashtag #YouthCATSIG

You can learn more about some different examples of CAT with children and young people by following the links below:

Video by Louise McCutcheon/ICATA

In this video our member Louise McCutcheon outlines ways in which CAT can be a useful therapy model for young people.

Parenting- The Middle Way

This is a blog about using CAT ideas to help inform parenting, by our member Alison Jenaway who is a former Chair of ACAT. Read the Parenting – The Middle Way blog at this link.

A Relational Approach To Young People’s Mental Health

Read a recent article by our member Nick Barnes, describing his work in a child and adolescent mental health service in London. Follow this link to read A Relational Approach to Young People’s Mental Health.

Youth CAT by ACAT Public Engagement Team is licensed under Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International