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Monday, 4 August 2014

CPD - 12 questions that every therapist asks

training and courses in hypnotherapy
CPD is Continuous Professional Development, and its purpose is exactly what it sounds like - to ensure that your professional skills develop and grow throughout your working life as a hypnotherapist. But is it just ticking a box and spending money, or is it going to enhance your practice?


1. What’s the difference between supervision and CPD?
Essentially they have similar intent but a different focus. Supervision is to ensure you are using existing skills and knowledge ethically and effectively, CPD is to extend your knowledge and skills into new areas. This is a blurred line on occasion and if in doubt you should ask your professional body to clarify which heading an activity falls under.

2. What's the point of Hypnotherapy CPD?
Like just about any industry, hypnotherapy is not based on one set of facts or theories which never vary. New ideas and techniques are developed, some old ones are superseded, research highlights new areas in which hypnotherapists can work, new regulations or laws come in which have to be complied with. If you want to run a successful practice you need to keep up to date and develop your skills, which is where the CPD comes in.

3. Who has to do it?
Most hypnotherapy professional bodies in the UK make CPD a requirement of registration as long as you are in practice. This is another difference with supervision, which (although encouraged lifelong) is often only compulsory for the first few years.

4. Why bother?
Your initial hypnotherapy training will most likely have covered the sort of thing you need to be a 'general practitioner', working with a wide variety of issues. As time goes on you'll find you attract more of one kind of client than another, or get interested in specialising. CPD is a way in which you can develop your knowledge in these areas. It's also very valuable to learn from more than one person since every technique has its variations. The more of them you know the more flexible - and therefore effective - you can be when helping clients.

5. How much CPD do I need?
As with supervision, different professional bodies have different guidelines. The General Hypnotherapy Register asks for at least twenty five hours a year, others (like the British Institute of Hypnotherapy & NLP) ask for at least fifteen. Some bodies have different guidelines depending on whether you are seeing clients full time or part time.

6. What counts as continuous professional development?
As a general rule you can include
i. training courses attended in person
ii. distance learning
iii. webinars and conferences
iv. reading and research (e.g. if you are dealing with an issue for the first time, or to enable you to carry out a presentation, you might even be able to count reading this website!)
Most professional bodies leave you reasonably free to choose what CPD you feel you need. A few have accreditation procedures and will only count hours spent on activities they have pre-approved. As with most things, the answer is to check with your own professional body before signing up for an activity.

7. What topics are acceptable?
Hypnotherapy will probably be the main topic area, and you can vary between learning more about an area you already know or branching out into new ones. Most professional bodies will also be happy with a limited amount of hours in other areas too such as business building, PR, first aid, or other therapies which might complement your hypnotherapy. A good CPD portfolio has a variety of activities and subjects across the year.

8. What records should I keep?
Because most professional bodies only ask a percentage of members to submit their records in any one year it's easy to get complacent and let your record keeping slide. I know a few people who’ve been audited and had a mad scramble trying to collect everything together before they could renew their membership.
Keep times and dates of any CPD you undertake as you go. Keep proof to support your records where ever you can - certificates, a brief review of any book you read, lists of websites you've been on when researching. Grading the activities as to how useful they will be in your practice is a good habit to get into, it helps guide your future CPD choices.
Some professional bodies provide a pro forma for CPD records.

9. How do I find CPD activities?
Your professional body may send round details of courses, book reviews etc in its newsletter. Other therapists may recommend courses or reading at supervision meetings or in on line discussions. I have a dedicated site for CPD (https://www.cpd.expert) and there are also others such as www.cpd4therapists.com.
If you go to a course and enjoy it, ask the trainer if they have a newsletter which will tell you about other courses they run.

10. What about client confidentiality?
On some CPD courses, you may be asked about hypnotherapy clients you have worked with, or a trainer will give their own examples as part of the training. The Code of Ethics says this is allowable for training purposes, as long it's done anonymously, in other words so the client cannot be identified or recognised.

11. What about paying for all this?
Be creative. A variety of short webinars and online courses are offered completely free of charge. On line reading and research is also free, and second hand books can often be purchased at very reasonable prices. If you attend a peer support group or socialise with other therapists, try sharing books around to reduce this further.
Where you do have to pay, CPD is an allowable business expense, so you can pay out of your business (before tax is calculated). Other reasonable expenses are also allowed, for example travel costs to attend a course, and overnight stay if it is too far to travel in a day.

12. Finally the big question, does the author do CPD?
Absolutely, and if you haven't guessed by now I count it all as time (and money) well spent. There is always something new to learn however experienced you are. Even if some courses cover similar material they do so in their own way, and each will give you something new. Sooner or later a client will come in who needs exactly that bit of information. And it's often those clients who send you three or four referrals, which more than pays for the original course.

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Author: is Senior Tutor At Yorkshire Hypnotherapy Training, which offers multi accredited hypnotherapy practitioner training in Wakefield and York, along with taster days and foundation levels. YHT also offers supervision and continuous professional development (CPD) courses for established hypnotherapists. Please contact Debbie to find out more.

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