Jane Sheehan discusses the relevance of CPD in holistic therapy
When I first started doing reflexology and foot reading, Continuous Professional Development (CPD) was something that your accountant did. A professional belonged to a professional body and to remain a member, they would have to show that they had continued their development through a formalised system. This was such a tradition that even HM Customs and Revenue recognised CPD, thus allowed tax relief.
More recently, holistic therapy associations have recognised the value in having a formalised structure for CPD… But is this “a good thing?”
As a provider of a CPD course, I have found that each of the associations apply different criteria when assessing a course for accreditation. There isn’t a uniform standard. One of the associations, with whom I am now accredited, required so many additional things from me that I had to spend an extra six hundred pounds over and above the accreditation fee before my course was accepted, yet other associations had accredited the same course without these additional requirements. As a result, I can only assume that members of that particular association will be seeing the cost of attending an accredited CPD course rising.
Another association offers CPD points not just for attending an accredited workshop, but for other activities related to improving your business, such as spending an hour considering your business strategy – things that would be very hard to prove that you did or didn’t do, and therefore open to abuse.
Indeed, some professions request such stringent adherence to their CPD requirements from their members that the required spend before even allowing a client to be touched could frighten off any new members.
However, as a therapist who loves her subject, I hardly notice the requirements for CPD. I love learning and attend several courses a year just because they seem interesting to me. I am continually updating my practice with what I’m learning. I’m wondering whether it’s even necessary to formalise CPD given that I do all these activities out of a joy for learning more about my subjects.
I started to wonder why we needed a formal CPD system at all!
Then something changed. We started to read more and more attacks in the media aimed at non-allopathic practitioners such as homeopaths, traditional Chinese medicine practitioners and so on. Given though we have a formalised CPD system and recognised qualifications, it is much easier to present evidence of competency and training against such attacks.
As a result, I’m proud to say that my foot reading workshops attract CPD points as follows:
- Association of Reflexologists – 2 per hour to a max of 10 points,
- Federation of Holistic Therapists – 5 points per day and 5 points for the elearning seminar,
- Irish Reflexology Institute – 50 points
- Reflexology New Zealand – 4 CPD points per year for the elearning seminar.
Some other associations offer CPD points for non-accredited courses too.
If we accept that there is a need for CPD, then why can’t the different bodies standardise CPD requirements and the points in order to present a more credible image of the profession?