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Optimising your CPD

Continuous Professional Development (CPD) is a necessity as well as an opportunity.

Most professional bodies require a minimum level of CPD hours each year: British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy mandates 30 hours, as does National Citizen Service, while the UK Council for Psychotherapy asks for an average of 50 hours each year. Other organisations require that a proportion of hours are relevant to a specialist area of practice, such as psychosexual therapy, or that a proportion of CPD is face-to-face.

Check in advance the CPD requirements applicable to you, so you can plan enough CPD to maintain your membership each year, without any nasty surprises or a last-minute rush.                                                                    Remember that CPD doesn’t necessarily mean attending courses or workshops; time reading journals or text books still counts as CPD.

Yet CPD is also an opportunity to resource yourself with new skills and knowledge. If you are planning to attend training days, here are some pointers when choosing CPD.

Augmenting your scope of practice
How will this CPD expand your work?
- Will it add another therapy approach or treatment protocol?
- How relevant is this CPD for your current or desired client group(s)?
- Could this CPD create another income stream, such as couple therapy or working as a supervisor or EMDR practitioner?

Quality of training
Check the credentials of the training organisation and its tutors:
- Is this a reputable trainer or training provider?
- Has the organisation or the course been running successfully already?
- What are the credentials and experience of the trainer(s)? Are they published authors, university lecturers, clinical leads, or with demonstrable clinical experience in this field?
- Will the training be delivered by named tutors?

Accreditation
Is the course accredited as reassurance about quality standards?
- Many CPD courses and workshops are accredited by a professional membership body; this means the syllabus and content have been peer-reviewed to meet quality standards. For example, for EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) you might check that the trainer and the course are accredited by EFT International, or with EMDR that the course and trainer are accredited by EMDR UK & Ireland/Europe.
- Be aware that accreditation by a professional body is different from accreditation by an academic institute such as a university. Be clear about whether academic accreditation such as a Masters course is important for you.
- Universities are usually regulated by Ofqual, although some private training companies match university standards of further education by ensuring their courses are Ofqual-regulated. Academic accreditation usually involves higher checks such as an external examiner for quality assurance internally and externally.

Fees and feedback
- Make sure there’s a commitment to gathering feedback, as well as a complaints process, and diversity policy.
- Check that the training provider offers clear terms and conditions regarding enrolment, payment, cancellation and conditions for any fee refunds. This is important if you are booking well in advance, in case your circumstances change. Most training providers offer deferral to a subsequent intake. Realistically, training providers incur costs in advance for costs like venue hire, so it’s reasonable to expect a cut-off point where cancellation is non-refundable because of the risk being undertaken by the training provider to cover their costs.

Author – Sarah Paton Briggs - The Grove Practice

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