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.

Therapists ask:

  • 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?”