CPD (Continuous Professional Development) is something that professionals across a multitude of careers commit to. It’s often a requirement of professional membership organisations. So CPD can be seen as a chore. Although it does oblige therapists to find a range of different ways to further their own knowledge and experience, whether that is through attending lectures or conferences or other events. Online CPD events have also become more popular and accessible.
CPD sometimes creates a feeling of an additional burden on a schedule that may already be tight and it’s not uncommon for professionals working in this industry to have complaints about the pressure added by the requirement to keep up with CPD hours. However, CPD is not a purposeless system of torture for professionals - it does have a purpose. Very often, the clinical benefits are obvious.
The professional development commitment
The purpose of CPD is to broaden existing knowledge and ensure that therapists are always up to date with the latest developments in their profession. Without the obligation to maintain professional credentials many of us simply wouldn’t commit. Although it can feel like an annoyance what it’s actually doing is providing us with a window of opportunity for one of the greatest strengths in the therapist’s arsenal: ongoing learning. This can stimulate a new love for an existing subject, open up a new perspective or create a different approach to one that may have been keeping us stuck for some time. And often - more often than not - it will also give us new tools that we can use in clinical practice, not just when it comes to expanding what we know and how we work but for the benefit of clients too.
CPD in practice
Ideally, CPD supports us in making the link between the acquisition and its relevance to real life therapy situations. This can become starkly obvious. There are even moments when we realise that we simply wouldn’t have approached a situation with the depth of understanding that we applied, without the information we’d recently obtained from CPD.
Consider this: you attend an online CPD event on the topic of brain function. Learning about the way the left and right hemispheres of the brain function is relevant to the traditional view that much of the change that happens during therapy is taking place in the right hemisphere. The CPD event goes on to look at the relationship between affect dysregulation and psychopathy. It explores how affect dysregulation is the result of insecure attachment and the response is usually to over or under regulate (avoidance strategy or anxiety strategy).
Then consider finding yourself in a situation with a client where they are repeatedly cancelling sessions and showing up late when they do actually attend. When attending their next session, they realise that high anxiety affects them when they are worried about disappointing an authority figure. And then they connect this to a childhood experience where they couldn’t reach out to a caregiver when they were worried or afraid. With the knowledge from the CPD event, you’d immediately see the affect dysregulation and pattern of anxious insecure attachment. This insight gained from CPD would support you in responding to the client appropriately in order to make it emotionally safer for them to show up in therapy – knowing the source of the anxiety that was getting in their way.
This is just one individual example of the clinical benefits of CPD that demonstrates how this “obligation” of ongoing development is actually something of an opportunity reframed as a commitment to onoing professional learning.
The Grove Practice is an established psychotherapy service and CPD training provider with a track record of 20 years. Our insights gained from therapy provision give us a unique insight into the golden nuggets that are essential as CPD for therapists. Find out about our range of CPD courses here: thegrovepractice.com/training