Training Services

Two-Day Introduction to Psychologically Informed Working Course.

YMCA Together delivers a two-day introduction to psychologically informed environments using a cognitive analytic approach. The course objectives are:

  • To better understand what a psychologically informed environment (PIE) is.
  • To understand how a PIE operates and is maintained in services.
  • To recognise the importance of the therapeutic alliance and how to build and maintain it with practical tools.
  • To acknowledge the impact that trauma and adverse childhood experiences have on behaviour and relate to adulthood.
  • To learn what a Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) approach is, how to use it, and how to manage your own behaviours to benefit the people you support.

We typically run the course for up to 25 people who work with people experiencing particular challenges in their lives, such as homelessness, domestic abuse, substance misuse challenges or mental ill health.

The course is broadly divided into two days. On day one, we examine what underlies the behaviour of the people we work alongside and what practical tools to bring into the workplace. 

Day two introduces the concept of a cognitive analytic approach. CAT is a relational approach, thinking about how we relate to ourselves, to other people and how they relate to us. We consider how we can bring unhelpful enactments into our interventions and how understanding ourselves from a cognitive analytic perspective can help people step out of their behaviour patterns.

We ask that people bring their best, open, reflective selves to the course as we think about how to do our best for the people we work alongside.

Ellie McNeil, CEO of YMCA Together and Kate Portman, Psychology partner or Claire Worthington, Trainee CAT therapist, deliver the course.

6-month Cognitive Analytic Therapy Case Management Course (ACAT Accredited)

The course consists of six training days—36 hours of teaching, with six hours of seminar reading incorporated into the structure. At the start of each training day, there’s a 1-hour reflection on reading. If you wish to receive accreditation for the course, you’ll need to complete an essay.

Alongside structured teaching, group work and guided reading, trainees will also be involved with:

Clinical Practice

The clinical practice aspect of the course allows trainees to gain a working understanding of using CAT in case management applicable to their work. The focus of this work will be using CAT, not doing CAT.

However, it will support using the CAT model, method, and tools in their work with an identified resident group. Trainees will work with (a minimum of) two cases across the training programme, either by providing direct interventions or by guiding team work by mapping and developing two reformulation-led care plans.

We support clinical practice with weekly supervision, which is facilitated weekly by groups of three trainees meeting for 1.5 hours with external supervisors. 

Supervisors will be allocated at the start of the course; consideration will be given to the trainee’s areas of work/supervisor experience as well as location and timing to enable the best fit. There’ll be a clinical appraisal towards the end of training. We can arrange more if the supervisor or trainee requires or requests them. 

The appraisal lists attendance. However, the Course Admin Assistant will work with the supervisor and trainees to keep a log of supervision attendance available to the course director.

Personal Reformulation (PR)

Self-reflection is a core part of CAT training to enable a full experience of CAT as a relational approach and to develop an awareness of self to enable the use of self. Trainees will be required to join a therapist of their choosing to engage in personal reformulation. 

This confidential space will allow for the development of an increased capacity for self-reflection, responsiveness and awareness of the potential for, or real enactments, through the development of a diagram.

Personal Learning Journal

Trainees will be encouraged to keep a personal learning log. The learning log will promote the development of an observing eye and support the embodiment of concepts of Recognition and Revision through curiosity and reflection.

Reflective Practice Facilitation

We can offer support and training to organisations establishing reflective practice. We can also facilitate reflective practice.

 Please email for more information on any of our courses.

Contact us to find out more.

If you’d like more information or want to book, please get in touch with our Learning and Development Co-ordinator on