Continuing professional development (CPD)

Introduction

These guidelines are for the use of practitioners registered with the Dr Edward Bach Centre and relate to their work with the system of 38 flower remedies discovered by Dr Edward Bach.

References to BFRPs (Bach Foundation Registered Practitioners) include BFRAPs (Bach Foundation Registered Animal Practitioners) unless otherwise indicated.

What is continuing professional development?

As professionals we need to review what we do and revise our practice in the light of our experiences, and in the light of experiences that our colleagues have had. Continuing professional development (CPD for short) provides a framework in which to do this. CPD is a simple way of demonstrating that we are committed to learning about our jobs and about ourselves even after we achieve professional status.

Every practising Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner (BFRP) is already involved in the practical side of CPD because we all continue to think about what we do long after we have passed our final level 3 assessment and sent in our application to register. For example, if we have said any of the following things after we first registered we have already been engaged in CPD:

  • ‘I had a challenging case and I had to think hard about how to deal with it. As a result I have revised the way I approach consultations with vulnerable clients.’
  • ‘I was badly let down by a client who came late for appointments and then refused to pay my fees. Now I have developed a contract with clients that spells out exactly what I and the client can expect.’
  • ‘I was getting caught up in promoting my new practice so much that it was all beginning to get on top of me. My husband suggested I take some of my own remedies. I’m glad he did because it reminded me that I need to take care of myself as well.’
  • ‘My employers put everybody through a course on inter-personal relationships. I found some of it relevant to my work as a practitioner, and I’m taking steps to use those insights when necessary.’
  • ‘I read a new book on the remedies and disagreed with every word. Identifying those disagreements gave me real insight into what being a Bach Foundation Registered Practitioner means to me.’
  • ‘I called a friend I had met on the level 3 course and she told me how she has used the remedies to support her main work as an aromatherapist. I’m going to try the same sort of thing with my reflexology clients.’

Reviewing how things have gone, discussing ideas with other people, reading books, attending courses, facing challenges - all these things are part of our journey through life. For us as practitioners these activities reflects the ideal of continuing personal as well as professional development, something we all aspire to in our ongoing use of the remedies. The thing that turns these everyday activities into CPD is the willingness to record them and reflect on them in a structured way.

What sort of things count as CPD?

CPD can include any or all of the following:

  • reading books about the remedies and their use, or books about professional skills;
  • reading journals that deal with relevant activities like listening, conducting consultations and so on;
  • researching specific problems or challenges in the library or on the internet;
  • dealing with clients who present you with new situations, problems and challenges;
  • writing up and reflecting on case notes;
  • getting together with other professionals and sharing information with them in person or by telephone, email, letter and so on;
  • explaining and justifying your work to clients, friends and relations;
  • attending relevant courses, workshops and conferences;
  • giving talks and teaching classes and reflecting on things learned.

There are many other possible forms of CPD. Anything that helps you grow as a practitioner can be listed as CPD.

Why have formal CPD?

If we are all engaged in the practical side of CPD already, why bother keeping records? - The answer is that making time to record and reflect on our experiences allows us to learn more from them. Making CPD a conscious act helps us find space and time in our busy lives. We become better at learning and so become better practitioners.

Who benefits from CPD?

Practitioners benefit! - As practitioners we benefit from our improved skills and confidence, and feel more engaged with our work.

Our clients benefit! - Clients are reassured that we take our professional work seriously enough to want to develop our skills after registration. And of course the things we learn will make us better able to help and support the people we work with.

And the Bach Centre benefits! - CPD is becoming the norm in all kinds of professions. By demonstrating its commitment to CPD the Bach Centre as a registering body, and by extension the system itself, are seen in the best possible light as being professional, responsible and forward-looking.

Is there an obligation to engage in formal CPD?

You need to engage with CPD if you want to be listed for referrals and be on the ‘active’ list. Practitioners who choose not to take part remain on the register but are not considered to be active and are not listed for referrals.

Apart from this one change inactive practitioners to enjoy the same rights and services as at present. All practitioners – active and inactive – receive BFRP Bulletin access and hold a Certificate of Registration and have the right to use the Bach Foundation logo and access Bach Centre and allied support services.

How do I get started?

The first step is to think about the things you are already doing and decide how useful they are to you. To do this list any significant activities you do and write down what you think about them. Do this over a few weeks and then look back at your list to see which activities have proved most valuable to you. This will give you an insight into the kind of CPD activities you find most beneficial.

Once you are used to thinking about your everyday activities as opportunities for learning, move on to a more structured way of planning your learning activities. To do this:

  1. Identify an area or skill that you would like to improve
  2. Plan activities that would improve that skill
  3. Carry out your plan, recording the activities and what you learn from each one
  4. Reflect on your plan and what you have learned, and its impact on your work as a practitioner.

You can take CPD much further if you want to, and you will find some recommended reading listed below.

What evidence of CPD will I have to provide to the Bach Centre?

In most countries you answer a few questions when you renew your registration:

  1. Give a short account of one or more occasions in the past twelve months where you feel you personally have grown and developed, either as a result of taking remedies, or by meeting some personal challenge or goal.
  2. Describe one or more insights into Dr Bach’s system that you have gained over the past twelve months, and the circumstances in which that insight came about.
    • For example, you might have learned more about Larch on a course, or revised your understanding of the system through reading or studying, or gained insight from work with a client or through discussion with a friend or colleague.
  3. Describe one or more improvements that you have made to your professional skills or organisation over the past twelve months and the event or circumstances that led to that improvement.

In the UK the process is slightly different. UK BFRPs need to keep their own records of at least 20 hours CPD per year, which they have to submit for audit when requested. More details can be found via the renewal pages for UK BFRPs.

CPD questions and answers

This section is based on actual concerns raised by practitioners after the Bach Centre announced its intention to implement CPD.

Isn’t CPD expensive and complicated?

Most of us probably think of CPD as ‘going on a course’ or ‘going to a conference’, but it’s just as good (and often more effective) to build CPD into our everyday lives. All we need to do is to take time every so often to reflect on our work and see how we can improve it. If we spend a few minutes a day doing this we will more than meet the requirements of formal CPD.

Does the Bach Centre want to check up on people?

There is no question of us snooping about or trying to judge good from bad from better or acting as some kind of thought police. CPD as we have outlined it is a personal space in which practitioners reflect on their performance. The evidence of CPD we will ask for will be in the form of a short report on what you have learned, once a year. You choose what to put in your report. We certainly won’t criticise or censure practitioners who say they have made mistakes, because making and acknowledging mistakes is one of the best ways to learn.

Why will the Bach Centre only refer clients to people who commit to CPD?

Any list of professionals will include some people who are actively engaged in their work and others who are busy with other areas of their lives. We want to be sure, as far as we can be, that we refer people who need help to somebody from the first group.

Our hope is that the minority of practitioners who do not currently reflect on their performance will be helped to do so by the introduction of CPD. And those who choose not to do this will not be taken off the register, only moved to a part of it that reflects the fact that they do not at present work with the remedies in an active way.

I haven’t got time for CPD - I’m too busy!

CPD involves keeping a written record of learning - no more than a few diary entries in a year - and writing a short report once a year.

Further reading

  • Boud, D, and Walker, D, Reflection: Turning Experience into Learning, Kogan Page, London, UK, 1988
  • Grant, J, The Good CPD Guide, Reed Healthcare Publishing, Sutton, UK, 1999
  • University of Greenwich, Continuing Professional Development for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, UK, 2000

Disclaimer

The information here is provided in good faith but does not constitute legal advice or opinion. No responsibility will be taken by the Bach Centre or any of its agents or officers for any act or omission carried out by anybody who follows these guidelines. In line with clauses 8.1, 8.2 and 8.3 of the Bach Foundation Code of Practice BFRPs are responsible for their own actions at all times.