Yvonne J. Stevens

Creativity and Mental Health: A Cognitive Analytic Approach to Integrating Play and Imagination in Psychotherapy, Supervision and Training

A practical and wide-ranging guide to approaching therapeutic work with creativity, openness and imagination, and to integrating a variety of playful and relational techniques when utilising Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) with clients. Part of the Innovations in CAT series.


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Creativity can be vital to mental health and well-being. Featuring case accounts from therapeutic journeys that have used creative approaches, Creativity and Cognitive Analytic Therapy explores how both novice and seasoned CAT therapists can engage relationally with their creative selves and in doing so enable a more open and flexible exploration with their clients and trainees. The book is structured in three parts. The first sets the scene by discussing creativity and play as an aspect of mental health. The second considers the creative as a freestanding therapeutic approach in forms such as dramatherapy and imagery work, or as a nonverbal means for accessing, expressing and healing trauma – with detailed techniques that can be integrated into practice. The final part looks at a variety of ways in which individual trainers and supervisors have merged their own interests and gifts with the CAT framework.


Yvonne J. Stevens is Senior Lecturer in CAT at the University of Exeter, where she is also Lead for CAT Accreditation, ACAT Exeter Foundation Course Director, and CAT Course Convenor for the DClinPsy program. She teaches creativity to trainees in CAT, psychology and psychiatry.

Yvonne trained in CAT with Tony Ryle at St Thomas’ Hospital from 1989-1995. She has been a CAT therapist, psychotherapy lecturer and training supervisor in the NHS for thirty years, and also works in private practice. She has a longstanding role as Associate Lecturer and assessor on the RCPsych Psychotherapy Module with the Peninsula Medical School. Yvonne’s primary interest is in bringing creativity to psychotherapy, supervision and training. She has supervised, taught and assessed trainees throughout the southwest on all levels of CAT training courses, and she co-convenes an annual national residential training event for CAT trainers and supervisors.


Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

ISBN: 9781803882468

Publication date: August 2024

Pages: 336


Foreword by Elizabeth Wilde McCormick

Preface: Introduction

Part 1: Mental health and the capacity to play
1. CAT, creativity and mental health (Yvonne Stevens)
2. The neurological benefits of novelty and play (Suzanne Lyons andYvonne Stevens)
3. The Zone of Playful Proximal Development (Paul Sullivan)

Part 2: Creative psychotherapeutic models
4. Working with objects as a key to unlocking complex trauma (Suzanne Lyons)
5. Dramatherapy and playful relationality (Vicky Petratou)
6. Beyond your wildest dreams (Nicola Coulter and Sophie Rushbrook)
7. Enabling change with metaphor and imagery (James Turner)
8. Relational dialogues with the inner child (Louise Yorke)
9. Innovative approaches within a learning disability service (Sarah Nicholas and Col)
10. Neurodivergence and the Multiple Self States Model (James Randall)

Part 3: Bringing our creative selves to therapy
11. Reflection as a creative process within supervision (Vicky Petratou)
12. Human development and the ‘Seven Ages of Man’(Jason Hepple)
13. The roots and heart of Cognitive Analytic Music Therapy (Stella Compton Dickinson)
14. Training films for psychotherapeutic education (Kathryn Pemberton)
15. Bringing our stories to life through animation (Rhona Brown)
16. Well-being workshops for CAT therapists (Steve Potter with Annalee Curran and Elizabeth Wilde McCormick)

Afterword (Yvonne Stevens)


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