How to find a good continuing professional development course (CPD)
Choosing a continuing professional development course (CPD) can be difficult. Training is fairly costly, especially for therapists with few clients and you don’t get many chances per year to get it right.
As a supervisor and trainer, I'm regularly asked to pass comment on courses. I feel ethically obliged to avoid this because if I say something negative, it can seem unprofessional, especially regarding competitors. And if I say something positive towards one course, my neutrality or silence when asked about another course would probably imply my disdain.
But what we can do is look for general patterns and things that could help. So here are some tips to help you along!
Earned their stripes or full of hype?
Read through the hype. Trainers obviously want to promote their training and it can be a competitive marketplace. However, please keep their marketing antics in perspective...
'What every good therapist must know' - are we poor therapists if we don't know?
'Train with the world's best hypnotist' - who decides that and by what criteria?
'Advanced ...' - is it really advanced? Or is this cynical marketing to sell courses?
Watch out for claims to expertise, such as 'I trained with the world's leading authority on anxiety'. This is helpful, of course, but it does not necessarily mean that the trainer or training is any good. Anyone can train with experts – even if they are poor hypnotherapists. They just pay a fee and sit in on a course.
What should I look out for?
- Take a course you feel genuinely interested in.
- Chat with the trainer.
- Question what qualifies the trainer in this area.
- Is the CPD useful to you and your clients?
- Will the CPD be recognised by your professional body? Consult them if in doubt. How many hours of training and home study is expected?
- But avoid the temptation to view training as something to just keep the professional associations off your back. You're not doing it for them - this is illusory. They're interested in service to the public and we should be too.
- Is the trainer bestowing certificates in an arbitrary way? Or is their substance behind them - something useful that you can feel proud of?
Recommendation & Testimonials
This is a great way to assess CPD. Someone else has tested the course out and found it useful.
Some caveats: each therapist has different needs, specialisms, beliefs, preferred styles of training and trainer, etc. so try to ascertain exactly what was so good. If a fellow therapist says a course is ’rubbish' perhaps they didn't like the trainer? Or it was too scientific and they prefer something more spiritual? Or it satisfied CPD requirements at the cheapest price but wasn't a course the person was interested in. So recommendations are great as long as it is accompanied by effective questioning.