Therapy: Continuing Education and Why It Matters
A wise man once said that those who fail to learn soon learn to fail. In the world of therapy, continuing education is vital when it comes to providing patients with the very best in results. Psychology is not a static science. If you were dealing with a computer specialist who hadn’t learned anything about computers since they graduated fifteen years ago, how helpful do you think they would be? Well, the same holds true for psychology.
When it comes to therapy, continuing education can mean a lot of things. Today, there are a great many resources available to the psychotherapist who wants to remain on top of their profession. Web-based classes, internet seminars, DVD materials, books, journals. All of these materials are available to every professional therapist, giving them a great deal of choice when it comes to how they would like to remain up to date on the latest research and developments in their field. Of course, if you are taking these classes to earn credits for a license renewal, you have to look for accredited materials that will count towards the total. Materials without such accreditation, however, may be fine for personal growth and development.
Besides simply staying on top of license requirements, however, why is it so important for mental health professionals to further their learning and understanding of their field? For one thing, the research changes all the time. No matter what area you practice in, there are going to be broad changes in thinking over time. Does this mean you have to change your practice every time the wind blows another way among the prevailing minds in psychology? Of course not. But you should always be aware of these changes. Aware of the differences, so you can choose what things you would like to incorporate, if any at all.
A therapist’s patient deserves the best treatment their doctor can offer them. If that doctor has given up on continuing to inform themselves, they have already failed their clientele. The best psychotherapist in the world has yet to perfect their treatment. Any doctor who stops learning has stunted their growth and the growth of their practice. At some point, their treatment will turn to hackwork. In therapy, continuing education is not only important for individual doctors, but important for researchers and professors involved in every facet of the field. Only through ongoing research, thought, and study can the science of psychology and therapy continue to grow.