Perhaps you spent a few weeks, several months or even years working towards your initial qualification. After that effort (if indeed it was), why would you then want to carry on your development journey? Surely you are ‘done’, know all you need to know and there is no point in learning even more or engaging in ‘continued professional development’ (often known simply as CPD)… Sadly, this is a common perception (or misconception), often surprisingly from those who have minimal training and through to those who have more extensive training.
There is a view that if we tread water instead of moving forward, we are actually going backwards, because others are moving forward. Not developing yourself can have an impact in a short period of time. With little input into your ways of thinking, you could become stale within a year. There is no need (unless you want to) to jump in and learn every new ‘model’ or train with every new ‘guru’, regardless of whether they bring little or no value to your business. However, it can be good practice to keep aware of what is on your professional horizon and whether any change to your business or practice would be beneficial. If you are competing for clients in a busy area, then being ahead of the pack can make a huge difference to your client base. This is where CPD comes in…
From a personal perspective, continuously developing yourself helps expand your world view, gaining knowledge which can result in enhancing your skill profile. This can have vast benefits for your professional practice, whether it is seen as bright new ideas for developing your business, new ways of working with clients, or even how to take care of you!
Continuing professional-development is more accessible than you may think.
The traditional options, such as workshops, magazines, research articles and books remain popular. However, technology continues to expand our options, with widespread access to the internet. The world of informative and networking sites and apps (such as YouTube, Facebook, WhatsApp, Lynda.com, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Audible) enable us access to non-traditional learning options. As we are becoming ever more accustomed to multi-tasking, we can gain new knowledge listening to a podcast, whilst travelling to work, exercising or even cleaning the house. Learning truly is available for us in a format we most prefer, at a time that is right for how we learn best, 24/7/365. So, what are some of the less traditional learning formats for continued professional development that you could consider?
You might already prefer to listen to a fiction book, rather than read it (whether in paperback or e-reader). Beyond a good story, a significant number of non-fiction books are available as audio books and programmes (yes, including hypnosis/hypnotherapy ones!).
Whilst an audio book can be rather one-dimensional (the material is often read as printed in the original version), a podcast tends to be more dynamic. A popular model is the podcast interview. Podcasts tend to be longer than soundbites of information and shorter than an audio book. They are also often more personal, gaining some insight into the views and perspectives of both the interviewee and interviewer. For hypnotherapists, popular podcasters include Howard Cooper (Rapid ChangeWorks), Adam Eason (Hypnosis Weekly) and Jason Linnett (Worksmart Hypnosis). Here are some links of both myself and Rory featured on these particular podcasts:
TED talks vary in length, often ranging between 3 mins and around 20 minutes. They’re a great way of getting informative and educational viewpoints of leaders, academics, experts, public figures and everyday men and women with something to say. Topics are broad and a great way of finding out more about diverse topics including science, technology, creativity, education and business (not to mention hypnosis!).
Whether you are looking at the finer points of double-entry book-keeping, proof that hypnosis can reduce/remove pain, information on the psychology of leadership, tips on Rational Emotive Behaviour Therapy for Hypnotherapists, information on how someone reacts to stress, recommendations for hypnotherapy reading books, or any of millions of other interesting topics for exploration, there is likely to be something relevant on YouTube. Often, the videos are of relatively short duration, which means they’re great for continued professional development as you can fit some learning in, even with a crammed schedule.
A MOOC is a ‘Massive Open Online Course. There are a vast number of online courses, open access classrooms (virtual) and even universities providing access to free training. Often this will go beyond traditional learning materials, such as reading content and videos of talks and may include a range of interactive activities, forums and rapid feedback.
It could be said that the only way we really know or learn to do something, is if we are challenged to use it or apply it from a different perspective. Just because you’ve attended one training in the past, doesn’t necessarily mean that you won’t benefit from further study with another hypnotherapy training company/school. Many different trainers teach in different ways, which help students and hypnotherapists to engage in ways (and with topics/materials) they may have not in the past… Also, on the topic of teaching, by teaching others what you know, you will be able to gain a depth of understanding of your own knowledge of that topic. It is this challenging of your knowledge that can also lead to greater insight and learning.
Finding out how others do what you do, their thinking, approaches, what works and what doesn’t, can put you on the fast track towards success, if you are open to learning from others. However, rather than simply taking the information from others, be prepared to share yourself. Not only will you help build beneficial reciprocal relationships, but you may discover you know more than you realised. Talking to others is a great way of finding out your views on a whole host of topics and spreading good practice throughout the hypnotherapy industry.
Having a mentor or supervisor is usually a different relationship to having a teacher, coach or colleague. Saying that, you will be able to negotiate quite how your mentoring relationship will evolve. Often a mentor/supervisor will be someone who has already been where you are now, whether in the same industry or a different one and has relatable expertise. This may be directly related to your core practice, or more broadly focused on business. There are many different mentors and supervisors out there. I personally offer both 1-to-1 supervision and group supervision sessions, which are useful for learning how to work with complex clients, how to get more clients and how to take care of your own mental health as a therapist. Supervision can be some of the most beneficial continued professional development, as it is specifically tailored to your own individual needs and requirements.
An interesting and relatively new form of mentoring is that of ‘reverse mentoring’, where you are mentored by someone who is younger than yourself, giving you access to potentially fresher approaches for thinking and working. For example, this can be particularly helpful if you are at a loss amidst the sea of rapidly emerging forms of social media.
In whichever ways you choose to engage in continued professional development, it can be good to know where you are starting from. A self-assessment of your knowledge and skills, identifying any gaps is a great way to begin. However, whilst it is great to be focused towards filling those gaps, it can also be useful to learn something beyond your familiar world; this is a great way to expand your horizons. Who knows, you may find something that really works for you in a way that you might not have expected.
Finally, as mentioned at the start of this blog, your ‘attitude’ towards learning is important. No longer are you a child at school; those old ways of viewing learning, whether positive or less so, are not relevant to now you are now. Keeping a positive attitude, focused on what you want to achieve, can help your continued professional development journey occur in most beneficial ways for you.
We hope that this blog on continued professional development (CPD) has been helpful to you. If you have any more questions about this topic or anything else for that matter, do please get in touch, because we’re always happy to help!
– written by Dr Kate Beaven-Marks