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This study sought to explore community mental health teams' (CMHTs) experiences of receiving an innovative introductory level training in cognitive analytic therapy (CAT). CMHTs are important providers of care for people with mental health problems. Although CMHTs have many strengths, they have been widely criticized for failing to have a shared model underlying practice. Inter-professional training which develops shared therapeutic models from which to plan care delivery is, therefore, essential. We have been developing such a training based on the psychotherapeutic principles of CAT. Twelve community mental health staff (six mental health social workers and six community psychiatric nurses) were interviewed by an independent interviewer following the completion of the training programme. The interviews were analysed using a qualitative thematic analysis. The analysis revealed that the programme increased the participants' self-assessed therapeutic confidence and skill and fostered the development of a shared model within the team, although the training was also perceived as adding to workload. The results of this study suggest that whole-team CAT training may facilitate cohesion and also suggest that having some shared common language is important in enabling and supporting work with 'difficult' and 'complex' clients, for example, those with personality disorders. Further development of such training accompanied by rigorous evaluation should be undertaken.

Original publication




Journal article


Int J Ment Health Nurs

Publication Date





131 - 137


Attitude of Health Personnel, Clinical Competence, Cognitive Therapy, Community Mental Health Services, Cooperative Behavior, England, Health Services Needs and Demand, Humans, Inservice Training, Interprofessional Relations, Nursing Education Research, Nursing Methodology Research, Patient Care Team, Program Evaluation, Qualitative Research, Self-Assessment, Surveys and Questionnaires