The Importance of Continuous Professional Development

Expert Author Susan Leigh
Many organisations regard Continuous Professional Development as mandatory. You have to agree to undertake and make a commitment to ongoing training as part of the criteria for membership and for renewal of professional liability insurance. Every professional person should choose to commit to ongoing development as a way of learning what is happening in their field of expertise, learning new skills, refreshing old skills and sharing time with other professionals in their field.
The reality is, ongoing training makes common sense. For a professional person, being apprised of the latest techniques and developments is an important part of being able to do their job efficiently and effectively and keep pace with the competition. There is no guarantee that someone can learn enough from reading the trade magazines or the mail shots that are sent them from their professional memberships. And even if they do, reading an article may be beneficial and thought provoking, but it is no substitute for a day or two spent in a learning environment with the opportunity to focus, concentrate, ask questions and practice until proficient.
As a full time counsellor and hypnotherapist I value the opportunity to take time to continue my training. Even on occasion repeating training that I have already undertaken is fascinating and really useful. You may hear a different trainers' perspective, or there may be a new slant or interpretation of a technique, or course attendees may ask questions that take the training in a slightly different direction. Sometimes when I have repeated foundation course training that was originally taken years ago I have been reminded of techniques that I have not used for awhile, or I think of a particular client who would appreciate and work well with a certain piece of work. It is all valuable time spent refreshing skills.
Whatever field you work in, ongoing training offers important time away from the office in which to learn new techniques and skills. It provides a safe opportunity to practice them and be fine if mistakes are made or it takes time to become proficient. Sometimes there are useful ways to remember and refresh existing skills and maybe learn new ways to use what you have already learned and are regularly using.
Other course attendees can provide interesting learning opportunities too. They may share fascinating anecdotes and case histories, they may ask challenging, thought-provoking questions in class and often the conversations at break times can be valuable experiences too.
I have been fortunate enough to be able to attend some excellent residential workshops with some of the major names in the field of hypnotherapy. The classroom work and practical applications have always been remarkable. The time to devote to watching a master at work, hearing them relate their experiences and discuss new innovations is more than memorable.
But the break times have always been really interesting too. Discussing problems, difficult cases, even business worries with other professionals in a relaxed environment away from the office is a valuable use of time. Sometimes there is the opportunity to network with other professionals who have different specialisms, perhaps on occasion finding ways to forge an alliance or maybe share some joint business opportunities.
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