Counselling, also called psychotherapy or simply therapy, involves working with clients experiencing a wide range of emotional and psychological difficulties to help them bring about effective change and enhance their overall wellbeing. This informal article provides an introduction to CPD for Counsellors and Psychotherapists, including the specific Industry requirements, as well outline the BACP Ethical Framework.
CPD in the Counselling and Psychotherapy Sector
There around 450 million people currently suffering from mental disorders and it is among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide. Through different types of therapy – including cognitive behaviour therapy and talking therapies – counsellors and psychotherapists help their patients identify, define, and work through emotional, behavioural or relationship problems or difficulties.
Due to the wide variety of clients no one day is ever the same in the career of a counsellor or psychotherapist. Whether acting as a social worker handling familial disputes or as an online counsellor coaching people through chronic anxiety, a counsellor or therapist must be well-versed in a range of behavioural disorders, mental dysfunctions, thought patterns and methods of diagnosis and rehabilitation.
Continuing Professional Development (or CPD) allows professionals to maintain, develop and enhance their professional competency in order to safeguard clients and is an ongoing requirement for all registered practitioners within the counselling and psychotherapy field.
Studying counselling skills and related issues as part of your career shows that you can not only meet professional requirements but can also be of direct benefit in your work with the public and can help you to better understand the mental health aspects of your professional role.
What does Continuing Professional Development (CPD) involve?
The National Counselling Society defines CPD as ‘a range of learning activities through which professional counsellors grow and develop throughout their careers to ensure that they retain their ability throughout their evolving scope of practice’.
For CPD to be effective, it must:
- Develop, implement and maintain personal and professional standards and ethical practice
- Apply psychological and related methods, concepts, theories, and instruments
- Research and develop new and existing psychological methods, concepts, models, theories and instruments
- Communicate psychological knowledge, principles, methods, needs and policy requirements.
- Develop and train the application of psychological skills, knowledge, practice and procedures.
You should think about any gaps in your knowledge or additional skills that will help clients and your field of work. This is to ensure that you are building upon the foundation of your existing skills and knowledge, and are able to provide a better service to the public.
Examples of effective CPD include: short courses on professional issues, seminars and conferences, designing and facilitating workshops, writing articles relevant to professional practice, participation in professional committees, personal therapy, and research relevant to the profession.