What is CPD?
CPD – Continuing Professional Development.
A counsellor, therapist or coach continues to develop themselves professionally. So much of a therapists professional competence is related to their own level of personal development. Therefore a therapist needs to keep themselves in good mental and emotional shape.
In practice this means that, even after accreditation, the therapist continues to do some or all of the following:
- Go on training courses and workshops,
- Have clinical supervision
- Read industry journals and websites.
- Go to personal therapy, or coaching.
- Read books about therapeutic models and approaches to personal development
- Be mindful of and actively engaged with their own personal and professional development
How do therapists do CPD?
A responsible therapist will be using something called, ‘self-reflective practice’.
Questions that the therapists asks him or herself regularly throughout their working week are,
- What am I aware of in myself while working with this client? (e.g. any unease or over-confidence – take these things to supervision, or self-supervision)
- What is the level of knowledge that I hold about the presenting issues of my cases? What else might I need to know? How will I get that knowledge?
- What is an honest appraisal of my level of experience with this type of issue? Do I need to step out of my comfort zone and work with wider issues? Am I over-stretching myself? Be honest!
How therapists choose which CPD to do
Therapists should be able to give a rationale for the personal and professional development activities that they engage in.
- What benefits to myself will I get from taking on this CPD activity?
- How will those gains enrich my work with clients?
Why I think CPD for therapists and coaches is essential.
- It is ethical practice, in terms of doing no harm (e.g. bringing therapists unconscious material to light and not having blind spots that could taint the therapeutic effect for clients)
- To prevent complacency and retain an enquiring attitude
- To keep the therapist fresh and enthusiastic, mentally stimulated, and (emotionally) nourished
- As part of self-care and reduce the risk of burnout.
For therapists, personal development is professional development
Therapists should be always asking themselves, “What do I need for me to be nourished?” and “How can I grow as a person?”