Carolyn Lawson

BSc MSc D Clinical Psychology AFBPsS

Chartered Clinical Psychologist | Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT)

For Carolyn’s fees, see below

Whilst an undergraduate at Nottingham University, I had the advantage of studying with Professor David Smail, a clinical psychologist whose teaching inspired me to decide that I wanted to use my psychological knowledge to work with people with emotional and relationship difficulties. After a period working in the NHS, I trained as a clinical psychologist and qualified in 1985. My clinical training involved working with people across the age span and those with disabilities, as well as in specialist services.

Since qualifying I have worked in the NHS in a number of settings, including GP surgeries, hospice, and specialist psychotherapy services, but mostly in adult services for people with a wide variety of problems.

Psychologists are generally in short supply in the NHS, leading to long waiting lists or no access at all for a lot of people who could benefit from having time and space to talk. For this reason I trained in cognitive analytic therapy (CAT), which is a focused and time limited therapy and very effective in helping people make changes in their life. I completed my training as a cognitive analytic therapist in 1998.

Cognitive Analytic Therapy

Cognitive analytic therapy is widely applicable across a range of difficulties such as, depression, anxiety, personal and relationship problems.

We start by looking at the story of your life and how your current situation has come about through the experiences that you have had till now. We all tend to develop patterns of being in relation to ourselves and others which often are useful until we come to certain stresses in our lives. Then, rather than helping, our normal ways of dealing with things can instead make the situation more difficult. This is something that we can in part be aware of, yet feel unable to change, since sometimes the situation or people around us make it feel impossible. This is when we need the help of someone who has the time and focus of really listening to us.

The focus of change is first to recognise what is happening and then, with that awareness, consider the options and think about what changes we can try to make a difference in our lives.

What to expect

When you make contact, I will arrange a meeting to talk with you about your reasons for seeking therapy, and to share with you my ideas of the scope and purpose of CAT in terms of how it relates to you and the things you want to talk about.

This initial assessment session allows you to see if you are happy to work with me in a course of Cognitive Analytic Therapy, and to answer any specific questions you may have about the therapy.

Then we will draw up a contract for a set period of time. CAT is a ‘brief’ form of psychotherapy and normally takes 16 sessions. However I may also recommend 8, 12, or 24 sessions if it feels appropriate, and will discuss the reasons for doing so with you. CAT therapists rarely work to an unlimited time period. The dates and times of the therapy sessions are then worked out with you for a mutually convenient time.

The early therapy sessions will be concerned with hearing your story and beginning to piece together the patterns that make up your life and to start to understand how they work. I may also ask you to monitor your mood or behaviour patterns between sessions.


During our work together, we will aim to mobilise your own strengths and resources and develop specific tools for understanding and self-help. At the end of therapy, I will normally offer you a follow-up appointment in the next couple of months to meet with me and discuss how things have gone for you following the therapy.

Change can be a difficult process but within a respectful, supportive and confidential relationship in the comfortable and safe environment of the Stillpoint Practice, it can be a real possibility.

Carolyn’s fees:

All appointments 1 hour – contact the practice on 0114 2586133 

Carolyn’s Working Week:

Wednesday: Afternoon and Early Evening

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Health Insurance

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You may be able to claim for some therapies offered by this practitioner