Lee Crothers, Nick Barnes

Working Relationally with Young People: A Cognitive Analytic Approach to Helping Individuals, Families and Communities

Bringing together a diverse range of contributors to explore the theory, practice and potential of working relationally – as partner rather than expert – with troubled young people to effect meaningful change in mental health contexts and beyond.


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This book explores the growing interest in and demand for relational mental health support for young people, parents, families and communities. Relational approaches place an emphasis on authentic and mutual connections; the therapist is not an aloof ‘expert’, but an engaged human being who is an active part of the process, and who draws on subjective experiences and passions in the service of the client. Through eighteen contributed chapters and four short case studies, Working Relationally with Young People explores the theory, practice and delivery of Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) and its relational mindset in youth mental health and wellbeing, and makes the case for prioritising a relational way of working across all services and support for young people – whether they be within children and young people’s mental health, or in other contexts such as education, social care or youth work.


Cognitive Analytic Therapy (CAT) practitioners and psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses and other practitioners working within children and young people’s mental health services. Professionals working in sectors such as education, social care and youth work, as well as service managers and others concerned with outcomes for young people.


Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd

ISBN: 9781803883120

Publication Date: October 2023

Page count: 288


1. Introduction (Editors)

2. A relational approach to working alongside young people with eating difficulties (Lee Crothers & Melissa Keller-Tuberg)

3. Using CAT for young people with intellectual disability and autism (Jo Varela)

4. Relational practice when working alongside LGBTQ+ young people (Victoria Ryall)

5. A case for CAT in an early intervention service (Wendy Giovanelli & Kiera Wickremasinghe)

6. A relationally informed model of care for young people living with a diagnosis of personality disorder (Louise McCutcheon, Jessica O’Connell, Ben McKechnie& Andrew Chanen)

Case Study 1 –Being on both sides (Brede)

7. Setting up a new psychotherapy service in Chennai (Sivakemi Suresh)

8. An embodied approach to CAT with young adults (Caroline Greenwood Dower)

9. Thinking and working relationally in out of home care (Katherine Monson & Kiera Kauler)

10. Working relationally with parents (Clare Young)

11. Bringing CAT into the family and beyond (Debbra Mortlock)

12. A relational approach in groups with young people (Cat McKenzie)

Case Study 2 –A game of two halves (Nick Barnes)

13. Relating and connecting in digital spaces (Alex Bretherton & Nick Barnes)

14. The climate and ecological emergency through a relational lens (Angie Phong, Reem Ramadan & Nick Barnes)

15. CAT in Education (Leah O’Toole & Claire Regan)

Case study 3: Learning to learn (Donna Lockett)

16. The need for working relationally within the workplace (Editors)

17. Proximity and power when working alongside communities (Rhona Brown & Nick Barnes)

Case study 4: Creativity for Recovery and Emotional Wellbeing (CREW)

18. Closing thoughts and common threads (Editors)


Nick Barnes is a psychiatrist with Highland CAMHS who specialises in work with young people. He is also a Cognitive Analytic Therapist and Honorary Associate Professor at University College London. After twenty years of CAMHS work, supported by a quarter century of youth sector involvement, Nick has a keen interest in finding a broader offer for children, young people and families to enable them address emotional and mental health difficulties.

Lee Crothers is a psychotherapist who directs In Dialogue, a Melbourne-based therapy centre that uses CAT and a relational framework to offer services, education and evidence-based therapeutic interventions. Lee has over twenty years of clinical experience and was one of the first clinicians in Australia to become an accredited CAT practitioner. She is Chair of the Australian and New Zealand Association for Cognitive Analytic Therapy (ANZACAT).


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