CPD: find it, do it, record it
As we all know, Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is vital to keep your knowledge, experience and skills up-to-date. Every responsible and ethical therapist takes CPD very seriously.
As well as professional expertise, CPD can help practitioners develop business skills, such as courses helping you to set up in private practice.
CPD is a requirement of membership or accreditation by most professional bodies, whether you’re a psychotherapist, an osteopath, a physiotherapist, a chiropodist, or any other type of therapist.
The Professional Associations Research Network defines CPD as "any process or activity that provides added value to the capability of the professional through the increase in knowledge, skills and personal qualities necessary for the appropriate execution of professional and technical duties, often termed competence".
What counts as CPD?
CPD requirements vary according to each specialism or professional body, but can include:
- training courses
- online learning
- attendance of workshops or seminars
- clinical supervision
- reading industry journals or websites and making notes
- personal coaching or therapy
Before undertaking any CPD activity, check whether it is endorsed by your professional body. However, even if it isn’t endorsed, if you feel it will add value to your profession, go ahead. On the other hand, make sure you are also completing the CPD that will meet the requirements for maintaining your accreditation.
How to find a CPD opportunity
Whatever your specialism, there will probably be an association or organisation that lists CPD opportunities relevant to your area of expertise.
For example, the BACP website contains a comprehensive CPD directory. Members can search the directory to find training courses, workshops and seminars in their area.
Don’t forget to record your CPD
It’s surprising how often practitioners forget to record their CPD until the last minute (for example, when they need to reapply for accreditation). It can also be difficult to prioritise keeping the CPD records up to date. If you leave it until the last minute, you’ll invariably forget to include details of workshops or seminars that you have attended, or articles and books that you have read.
Also, going back over three or even five years to find the details or certificates can be frustratingly time consuming. A well filed CPD flyer, handout, notes and certificate can save you hours when the deadline looms.