Continuing professional development in mental health professions

CPD – does it really make a difference?

Continuing professional development (CPD) is a common aspect of many mental health professions. Participation in CPD is intended to assist mental health professionals in maintaining, enhancing, and further developing their knowledge, skills, and competence, and to ensure the use of evidence-based practices throughout the mental health professions. Yet despite the emphasis on CPD there has, to date, been surprisingly little empirical research directed toward understanding the impact of CPD participation on mental health professionals’ knowledge, skills, and competence, or on their clinical practice.

In 2012, a research project was launched to assess the efficacy of CPD. The first stage of this research involved systematic analyses literature relating to research on the efficacy of CPD.

The second stage involved analysis of an existing CPD programs in neuropsychotherapy. This involved analysis of workshop evaluation data to determine the extent of new learning that has occurred through CPD activities.

The third stage involved former workshop neuropsychotherapy workshop participants who were invited to complete a brief online survey about their neuropsychotherapy CPD experiences, particularly the extent of new learning and the extent to which new learning has been utilised in clinical practice. Data was also collected to determine the factors that influence new learning, knowledge and skill retention, and utilisation of new learning in clinical practice.

The fourth stage will involve qualitative data collection though focus groups with former workshop neuropsychotherapy workshop participants, discussing their neuropsychotherapy CPD experiences, extent of new learning, and utilisation of learning in practice.

The final stage will involve expanding the proposed research agenda to assess other types of mental health CPD in Australia, in order to determine characteristics that influence new learning, knowledge and skill retention, and the utilisation of new learning in clinical practice.

These data, in turn, are expected to shed light on CPD in Australia and its impacts on mental health professionals’ clinical practice, enhancing the quality of CPD and the health of all Australians.

The 14th International Mental Health Conference would like to thank Dr Pieter Rossouw, Director of the School of Psychology at the University of Queensland who presented this paper at last week’s conference held 5-7 August at Outrigger, Surfers Paradise.

Dr Pieter Rossouw is the Director of the Master of Counselling Program at the School of Psychology and the School of Social Work and Human Services at The University of Queensland

Dr Pieter Rossouw is the Director of the Master of Counselling Program at the School of Psychology and the School of Social Work and Human Services at The University of Queensland

Dr Rossouw explored some significant preliminary findings and indicators in regards to the efficacy of CPD, the strengths and the shortcomings of the study.

Dr Pieter Rossouw is the Director of the Master of Counselling Program at the School of Psychology and the School of Social Work and Human Services at The University of Queensland. His research and teaching focuses on Neuropsychotherapy. Pieter is also the Director of the Unit for Neuropsychotherapy and Mediros – a company that provides training in Neurobiology and Neuropsychotherapy. Pieter has been in private practice for the past 25 years. Pieter holds Honours Degrees in Philosophy and Psychology, a Master Degree in Clinical Psychology and a PhD. Pieter is a member of the Australian Psychological Society and the APS College of Clinical Psychologists. He provides Mental Health training for GP’s and is accredited at the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Pieter was a Professor in Clinical Psychology at Universities in Canada, Holland and South Africa where he also spearheaded a Psycho-Therapeutic Assistance Program to support people being exposed to trauma. Pieter specialises in Neuropsychotherapy and is an expert in anxiety and mood disorders. He has published 5 Scientific Books and 20 scientific articles.

This presentation and others from the conference will be available via podcast from our website very soon.  Click here to find out more.

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