The Importance of Continuing Professional Development (CPD)
CPD is extremely important for all professions, particularly psychotherapy. The world is not static, and changes occur from day to day. It is helpful for psychotherapists to be aware of these subtle changes that occur in society, and to use this knowledge to shape the work in the consulting room. There are many opportunities for one to gain CPD points. Some practitioners develop skills in completely unrelated areas; for instance, some learn a new skill, such as taking up golf or learning a language, and this is known as personal development. CPD, however, relates to professional development. Researchers and practitioners are continually defining and re-defining new ways and approaches to clinical practice, offering new treatment programmes and modalities that can be used in the workplace. It is important to read these new papers so that we our up-to-date; however, I feel that it is important also to go to lectures; it is here that practitioners can discuss their ideas and cases, and this is probably a better way to develop one’s knowledge. I also continue to go to the Royal Society of Medicine for lectures: I enjoy speaking to practitioners after the meeting particularly. I also teach health professionals on the BSCAH hypnosis training courses. I am a member of council for BSCAH and I am also a member of council of the Section of Hypnosis and Psychosomatic Medicine at the Royal Society of Medicine.
The BMJ modules are also helpful for CPD, particularly when reading recent development regarding NICE guidelines. However, it is very important to remember that many of these courses are intended for medics, and, although the information can be extremely useful for psychotherapists, one must make a clear distinction in therapy that one is not giving a medical opinion, and that one’s role is solely being a psychotherapist.
CPD encourages the continual development of knowledge on a steady and constant basis. It also helps us to understand the recent changes in policies and methods. And, as far as I am concerned, memory needs repetition, and if we don’t repeat some of the skills and knowledge that we have learnt we forget it. As a result, without CPD, many practitioners become stale and ‘out of date’. If a practitioner is constantly encouraged to talk and listen to ideas, he is able to consolidate his knowledge in these areas. But he can also work on weaker areas, and ask other practitioners for advice. CPD also, like the supervisions, encourages practitioners to be reflexive in their work, and this is an extremely important part of being a good psychotherapist.