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Dr Julie Smith, a Clinical Psychologist with over 3.5 million TikTok followers, talks about CAT

Updated: Jul 18, 2023

The beauty of awareness...

When faced with a challenge, personally and professionally understanding how you have learnt to survive in the world relationally, can really help you to grow as an individual and a professional to find new ways of not repeating old unhelpful patterns.

Dr Julie Smith, a Clinical Psychologist with over 3.5 million TikTok followers, talks beautifully about what makes CAT such a wonderful approach...

"There's a really fascinating therapy called CAT therapy, actually. So it's Cognitive Analytic Therapy. Just CAT for short, that really is just a fascinating therapy where it looks at the relationships that you have when you're younger. So when you're growing up with parents or siblings or family, and in those relationships, you learn how to behave in the world, right?

You learn about, you know, who I am, what to expect from other people, and what to expect from the world at large. You develop kind of survival strategies or coping strategies in, for example, in a difficult relationship, you learn how to cope with that, and you have these kinds of safety behaviours, and as you grow up, you're in a different situation, right?

You're not dependent on parents and stuff like that. But those survival strategies, those safety behaviours continue, and they get played out in your adult relationships. And I just love that therapy.

It's great for looking at the patterns and the cycles that people tend to feel stuck in, in their relationships and how that reflects those early life experiences that are essentially outdated coping strategies.

But it's really difficult, you know, if something's been a lifetime of habit, you can't just break that by telling yourself to do that. So it takes time and it takes practice and you literally map out the cycle so that you learn to sort of acknowledge it in hindsight first of all. you say, okay, last week that happened. And that happened. And yeah, I went around the cycle and then eventually you've done that enough that you start to recognise it when you're in it. So as you were about to do something, you think, hang on a minute, I know what this, this is predictable. I know what I'm doing. And in that moment, you then get this chance.

This is the beauty of awareness it's when you then get this chance to choose whether you go with it. And sometimes you will, and you'll go around the cycle again. And sometimes you'll do this other thing that you've already worked out you need to do and you break the cycle and then you get the benefits of that.

And so it's this really kind of long process of sometimes going around the cycle again and then sometimes breaking it and finding this new life that you can create in your relationships and stuff like that and it's incredible how life-changing that can be for people."


Are you looking to start therapy? If so, feel free to book in a call

Or perhaps this has sparked your interest in training as a Cognitive Analytic Therapist? If so, click below to find out more


Many thanks to Steven Bartlett and his world renowned podcast, The Diary of a CEO. You can check out the full interview with Dr Julie Smith at

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