ashtonshaw psychological therapies
Ashton Shaw 
Specialist Psychology Services

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) is a short-term, problem-focused form of behavioural treatment. Through CBT, people learn that their perceptions directly influence the way they respond to specific situations in their behaviours and actions. During CBT, clients learn how to challenge and question the rationality of specific thoughts to directly influence their emotions and behaviour. Clients are also encouraged to test out new beliefs through changing their behaviours through planned experiments. In this way, CBT targets specific unhelpful thoughts and beliefs and has a ‘here and now’ focus on the relevant set of client symptoms e.g. Panic Disorder. The Principles of CBT can be tailored to each client’s needs and situation.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) is a structured set of sessions focused on our relationships with other people and the self. It involves working with the therapist to look at what has hindered changes in the past, in order to understand better how to move forward in the present. Questions like “Why do I always end up feeling like this?” and “Why do I keep ending up here?” become more answerable. CAT is distinctive in that the client and therapist together come up with a personalised diagram of the specific relationship patterns that are causing difficulties for that person. This allows them to begin to identify what is unfolding in relationships with other people and themselves, and gives the opportunity to discuss and try out different alternatives. CAT work is active and shared. The therapist can document the process, through a letter directly to the client, at two points in therapy. The first summarises the joint understanding of patterns causing difficulties (and how they developed), and the second reflects on and records the achievements and conclusions of therapy. These, and other documents used, become tools for use within, outside and beyond the duration of therapy. In this way, clients gain skills to help them manage their lives more successfully and to continue using them after therapy ends. It focuses on global and fundamental change in how we interact in our world. The Principles of CAT can be tailored to each client’s needs and situation.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a ‘third generation’ Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT). Evidence of the effectiveness of mindfulness has advanced traditional CBT techniques beyond simply addressing a set of ‘symptoms’. ACT looks at what makes up our internal world and how we can interact with it. ACT addresses our processes of thinking; how we internally process our stream of thoughts. It focuses on how we can rest ourselves in the present moment, rather than being focused on past memories or consumed by worry or anticipation of the future. ACT also looks for what we truly value in life and how we might move towards the version of ourselves that is grounded in what is personally meaningful for us and gives us purpose. The Principles of ACT can be tailored to each client’s needs and situation.

I also use Solution Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT), elements of Psychodynamic Interpersonal Therapy (PIT), Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy (DDP) and The Neurosequential Model of Therapeutics (NMT).

child and adolescent mental health support