Why CPD is Crucial to Your Counselling CareerMay 24, 2022
As a mental health professional, you’re completely committed to giving your clients your very best. People rely on you; you’re their sounding board, and oftentimes, their sanctuary. And because you’re being trusted with the delicate balance of your clients’ mental wellbeing, you understand that continued learning – and perpetual development – is part and parcel of your unique position.
That’s why CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is as crucial to your career as any initial qualification.
With so many people experiencing the challenges of mental ill health around the world, particularly in light of a global pandemic that has led to a significant worsening of mental health worldwide, counsellors and therapists are in greater demand than ever before. But if you want to be the professional that your clients need (and deserve), it’s essential you invest in your own future.
The Bountiful Benefits of CPD
CPD exists as a way to ensure high professional standards are maintained within specific industries – but it’s just as much about the individual as the industry they’re operating in. CPD allows professionals to improve, refresh and expand their skill sets throughout their careers. And with demands changing all the time in just about every sector across the globe, it’s an invaluable way to make sure your skills remain relevant.
For mental health professionals, this is of paramount importance.
Being able to safeguard the clients in your care is a legal requirement for all registered counselling and psychotherapy practitioners; to do this effectively, you must maintain (and frequently enhance) your professional competency at every stage of your career.
Furthermore, committing to Continuing Professional Development is one of the best ways to remain competitive, set yourself apart from your peers, and evidence your dedication to honing your craft; this is particularly beneficial in job interviews and applications, and when submitting tenders for new business.
CPD will also help you to grow in both personal and professional confidence – increasing job satisfaction, and benefitting your own mental wellbeing. This is of course incredibly important for anyone practising in the field of mental health.
If you’re aware of any knowledge gaps, shortfalls, or areas of low confidence, CPD enables you to focus your attention specifically where it’s needed; it also allows you to be curious – and rediscover the pleasure of learning, on your own terms! Developing your counselling skills and continually expanding your knowledge of mental health – and everything that feeds into it – equips you with the skills you need to meet your professional obligations, whilst ensuring you can connect with, understand, and relate to your clients.
What Does CPD Look Like?
Continuing Professional Development isn’t just one thing. And that’s one of its many benefits! You can take short courses if that’s your thing; if you don’t like to learn that way, there are plenty of seminars, webinars, conferences and workshops you can attend. You can even design and facilitate your own!
And if that doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, you could pen pieces related to your area of professional expertise, take part in professional committees, or carry out your own relevant research. The beauty of CPD is that as long as you do it, it can be entirely on your terms – which is a joyous way to learn!
But it’s vital that any professional development you undertake meets certain criteria. According to accreditation specialists CPD UK, 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.
So whilst you don’t have an entirely ‘free run’, any professional development that meets this standard can count towards your CPD. The main thing is to find something that allows you to expand on your existing knowledge in a way that you enjoy and respond to.
Ready to Take Charge of Your Career?
As a mental health professional, I pride myself on consistently growing my own counselling ‘tool kit’ – and because I’m passionate about helping others, my peers included, I’ve created my own opportunities for CPD.
If you want to feel empowered in your profession, take charge of your career development, and increase your confidence as a counsellor, I invite you to sign up to my Relationship Recovery Toolkit Webinar – taking place on 16, 21 and 22 June.
For more information on this webinar, please do reach out to me. I’m always happy to answer any questions you may have.
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