Letters in cognitive analytic therapy: The patient's experience

Michelle Hamill, Mary Reid, Shirley Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

25 Citations (Scopus)


Patient perspectives on how therapeutic letters contributed to their experience of cognitive analytic therapy (CAT) were investigated. Eight patients took part in semistructured interviews. A grounded, thematic analysis of their accounts suggested four general processes. First, letters offered a tangible, lasting framework for the assimilation of a new perspective about themselves and their relationships and facilitated coping with a complex range of emotions and risks this awareness required. Second, they demonstrated therapists’ commitment to patients’ growth. Third, they helped to teach participants about the therapy process as an example of an interpersonal exchange. Fourth, they helped participants consider how they wished to share personal information. These data offer a more complex understanding of this standard CAT intervention. Although some findings are consistent with CAT theory, the range of emotional dilemmas associated with letters has not received specific attention. Clinical implications are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)573-583
Number of pages11
JournalPsychotherapy Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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