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More on Continuing Professional Development…
Clare Midgley BFRP, UK
CPD – What on earth is that? – Sounds like a medical condition! Is it catching?
Well, yes it is. All complementary therapy organisations are being asked by the UK government to move towards self-regulation. Continuing professional development (CPD) is a part of that process. We must be seen to be agreeing standards and to be meeting those standards, or eventually we will have someone else’s standards thrust upon us. And while you may be striving already to improve yourself and your work, your efforts will not be recognised by the law if you cannot find a way to record what you are achieving.
All therapy lead bodies, just like the Dr Edward Bach Centre, will have to put in place a system to encourage their practitioners to CONTINUALLY DEVELOP on a PROFESSIONAL level and be the best they can be.
Of course, as Bach practitioners, we already understand that you cannot develop just one aspect of the person – we must work holistically and develop ourselves on every level. If we remain static in life we stagnate and wither. Development will not just reflect what we do as Bach practitioners – i.e. extending our knowledge and competence in the use of the remedies – but also include our other professional achievements, be it a teaching certificate or an additional therapy skill or whatever.
CPD is also relevant to our personal development. By achieving personal goals and meeting challenges we develop ourselves holistically, and therefore will be better professional practitioners.
So how is this going to affect us? I think the main issues that will arise for Bach practitioners are those of time, financial cost, and perhaps ideas.
CPD need not cost us too much extra time. Many of us already keep a journal or notebook recording our thoughts on Bach, life, our clients etc. This can be used to complete the small amount of paperwork that the Bach Centre will issue. If we consider which aspects of our work as practitioners we find the most challenging or the most difficult we will find plenty of things to record.
Financial cost does not have to be a worry. If we enrol on a further education course or a Bach workshop, then yes, we will have to pay. Some of us do that already, so it is not an extra cost. But there are many free ways to develop ourselves and our practices – working with a charity, for example, or giving a talk or writing write an article for publication or taking part in health fair or exhibition. These don’t cost cash, only commitment. Once again – how many of us are doing that already, but not documenting it? If we find we are really stumped for ideas, we can always phone around a few of the other practitioners.
In my own case, I hope to meet with my local GP Practice manager and offer a presentation on Bach remedies to the doctors and practice staff. The hope is that they will allow me to use Bach with some of there clients under GP supervision. (Scary!)
It’s easy to see how all kinds of activity can be Continuous Professional Development. Good luck!
We want you to use this Bulletin to keep in touch with each other. If anything wonderful, funny, interesting or just plain typical has happened to you in your work with the remedies, or if there are any questions that have been nagging away at you, or if you simply want to say hello, please write to us at the Bach Centre, marking your letter clearly as being ‘FOR PUBLICATION’.
We can’t promise to print every letter in the Bulletin, but even if we don’t use your contribution we always love to hear from you.
We’ve had another big postbag on the subject of Continuing Professional Development, and in the spirit of open debate we feel we should print as many letters as we can. Next issue we promise something completely different!
I think CPD is a very good idea for a number of reasons.
First, holistic healing attracts not only gifted, well intentioned individuals, but also a number of people who mean well but aren’t quite glued together, to be blunt. As the system and its geography don’t lend themselves to regional conferences(at least in the US), there is always the possibility that someone has slipped through the cracks and is out there practising inappropriately.
And to keep a system ‘clean’ it is necessary to have some way of spotting difficulties, no matter how spiritual or well-intentioned most of us are (we can look at the Catholic Church here in the US for an example of what can happen without such a system).CPD could be one way of doing this.
Second, CPD encourages self-reflection. The entire Bach system is one of self-reflection, participation, process and growth; and this does not apply ‘just’ to the clients, but to practitioners as well. There is a magic about putting words on paper. In fact I always encourage my clients to journal with their essences, because I have seen time and time again that shifts show up in the writing. By writing it down they can see it, when it isn’t always so clear to them otherwise.
Gaye Mack BFRP, U.S.A.
The first meeting was on Waiheke Island, just out of Auckland. It was a wonderful way to spend a weekend – committed, enthusiastic, passionate BFRP’s staying together with a venue and view to die for.Our agenda was varied. We took in philosophy, consultation, questioning and practice procedures, and live consultations (with two real clients brave enough to face five practitioners each). We looked at case studies and held midwifery, counselling and depression workshops.
Although we have had all the same training, it was interesting to see the different opinions we had, especially regarding dosages! We wrote to the Bach Centre and we now have been put straight!
Then last week we had another meeting. CPD was on the agenda this time, bearing in mind the comments that appeared in the last Bulletin. It’s obviously pressing a few buttons but we unanimously agreed that CPD was a positive move for BFRPs. It can only do good for both the practitioner and the client – it brings a consciousness to our continued learning.
Many other professions (massage therapists, psychologists, psychotherapists etc.) in NZ have to have CPD and in fact if they don’t do it then they are de-registered. To be recognised as a professional body with credibility I think it is essential that we attend workshops, meet regularly and continue our reading etc.
I know it seems against the philosophy of Dr Bach but this is the 21st century and we are out there with hundreds of other modalities. Our clients are more discerning and expect us to be as professional as the others. We can still do our work with compassion, keeping things simple and spreading the word.
Di Stodart BFRP, New Zealand (on behalf of the attendees)
I was horrified to see that Modern Management Methods have started to pollute something as clean and simple as Dr Edward Bach’s wonderful system. CPD has taken over so many professions these days. If you are inadequate or inexperienced in a field you either don’t realise it or you do, and are unlikely to admit it. On the other hand if you excel, natural modesty should prevent boasting. To encourage this trend to self-inflated egos is a recipe for disaster.
What charming people this style of management produces. A workplace where the boastful and pushy reach the top at the expense of the ones that actually get on with the job rather than spending time filling in forms after hours of deep introspection, cosmetic reading of books and attending as many courses and seminars as possible in an effort to increase their personal CPD. The conscientious are, in fact, inadvertently supporting the pushy. Should they also become completely self-interested – work would cease at the expense of an inelegant scramble for CPD.
My first reaction to the introduction of CPD in this erstwhile exemplary organisation was to consider resigning.
Christine Self BFRP, UK
I have a feeling some practitioners misunderstand the idea of CPD and see it as ‘evaluation of self-development’ rather than what it is, ‘encouragement towards self-development’. In my view CPD is crucial if we are dealing with clients, i.e. people who come to us for professional help and pay for our services.
Practitioner training can only provide potential practitioners with basic information about the work they are going to do. It offers very little practice and supervision. In most European countries people in the ‘helping’ profession are required to undergo additional specialist training – seminars, lectures, and many hours of workshop, practice and supervision. Only then can they set up their individual practice as independent practitioners.
No matter how experienced they are, good practitioners often consult their supervisor or attend group supervision so as to understand their clients’ problems better, receive feedback and ideas, and deal with their own emotional response to their clients’.
This, of course, would not apply to people who learn a given method just for self-help and to help their own children, neighbours, etc. These people could hold a status of ‘inactive practitioners’, which is very reasonable, and is what the Centre has proposed.
It was said in the Bulletin that CPD can be all kind of professional development. For example, gathering useful information can be CPD – like a list of telephone numbers and addresses for institutions that might be of importance to you. In Poland we have something called a ‘Crisis Intervention Centre’ for the victims of physical abuse, or group therapy for alcoholics, drug addicts, schizophrenic people etc. There are also special telephone help lines. Do you know the relevant numbers in your area? If not, CPD is an opportunity to find out…
I am very happy the Centre is making steps towards raising the level of competence among practitioners. It will enable us to use the remedies hand in hand with our other professional services. I cannot wait until the Bach remedies are registered in my country so that I can use them in clinical practice. Many of you do not know how lucky you are to be able to purchase BFR in chemists!
Igor Pietkiewicz BFRP, Poland
Having read the letters in response to CPD published in the May/June issue, I must say I feel ambivalent about it.
On the one hand, it can feel as though we are being observed, checked up on, that we need to ‘prove ourselves’. And although I understand the thinking behind CPD, it does feel like a lack of trust. It feels as though we’re being sucked into the regimentation that legislation demands.
On the other hand, I know from my own experience how much can I learn from refresher days, and that I can get stale and set in my thinking if I don’t attend some kind of self-development day, which is what I feel the training days on the remedies are.
It all depends on how we are looking at it. It seems to me we could use the remedies on this issue… and I think in the end my choice must be to look on CPD as encouragement rather than lack of trust.
Judith Brooke, BFRP, UK
I was surprised at the opposition to CPD from some practitioners. Dr Bach was a professional health care worker. He engaged in CPD all his life, continually reflecting on his healing methods and his spiritual beliefs. He developed throughout his life both personally and professionally. This is how he was able to discover his system of healing.
In the UK the recent House of Lords Science & Technology Select Committee Report on Complementary and Alternative Medicine (2000) placed the Bach remedies in its second group, ‘Complementary Therapies’. This group contains therapies that clearly complement conventional medicine, with some provision of these therapies within the NHS already a reality.
The report recommended that more work should be done to develop regulatory structures for therapies like ours. It specifically highlighted the fact that orthodox healthcare professionals have to engage in CPD, and said that complementary therapies would have to come into line with this if an integrated healthcare system was to be successful.
In Heal Thyself, Dr Bach wrote that ‘the cause of all our troubles is self and separateness, and this vanishes as soon as Love and knowledge of the great Unity become part of our natures.’ As practitioners we should embrace the challenge of being united with other professional healthcare practitioners. This doesn’t mean compromising Dr Bach’s philosophy and the simplicity of the healing system.
CPD will enhance our knowledge and skills as practitioners if we embrace it positively.
Ann Hull BFRP, UK.
(Dr Bach often wrote down his personal reflections, as we see in The Original Writings. No doubt he would not have called his writing ‘Continuing Professional Development’, but it certainly performed the same purpose, i.e. helping him to grow and develop. – Ed.)
Since the last (May 2002) issue was prepared, 42 new practitioners have joined the register:
- in Argentina, Gabriela Ricciardelli and Susana Mingramm;
- in Australia, Araluen Hagan;
- in Brazil, Maria do Carmo Canale Ortega and Maria Luiza Antunes Sperandeo;
- in Canada, Camellia Pratt, Joanne Marks and Bernita Stever;
- in England, Jane Edwards, Carol Holliday, Winifred Dunn, Marion Baudains, Teresa Charman, Carol Guest and Annie Thantrey;
- in France, Daniele Perrin, Alain Fugen, Janet Edsforth Stone, Christine-Marie Fronteau and Marie-Odile Cagnat;
- in Italy, Suzanne Arregger Perini;
- in Japan, Naoko Utsumi, Junko Nakamura, Ritsuko Abe, Naoko Aoshima, Kazuko Goto, Satomi Takanashi and Masae Kitahara;
- in New Zealand, Masako Smith;
- in Northern Ireland, Gemma McIlmail;
- in Norway, Gro Midthun;
- in Portugal, Maria Da Graca Fernandes Caballero Macias;
- in Scotland, Andrée Ryan;
- in Spain, Emilio Escudero Sales, Carmen Villar Celorio and Carlos Descalzo Senorans;
- in the U.S.A., Beverlee Hunter, Gretchen Thevenau, Key Burns and Gisela Antonuk;
- and in Wales, Mary-Anne Sneade and Denise Tedore.
There are now 1,129 practitioners on the register.
This archive material has been edited to remove some out-of-date advice and information.