Meet the Therapist: Vicky Mould
What attracted you to become a therapist?
I have had counselling myself and felt the benefits in all areas of my life, yet this is one of a few reasons I wanted to become a counsellor. Being there for others and supportive of others is a part of who I am as a person, so training as a counsellor just felt right. I've also always enjoyed working with other people – I find it interesting, varied, and appropriately challenging. I certainly think my experiences as a Helpline Volunteer and Mental Health Support Worker increased my passion and desire to pursue counselling as a profession.
Where did you train?
I completed my core training in Southampton in Hampshire, including the Diploma in Psychotherapeutic Counselling, Certificate of Higher Education in Counselling and Centra Counselling Level 1. My counselling placement was with Cruse Bereavement Care, so I completed their foundation course and client assessment training too.
Since being in private practice, I have received training in couple and family counselling, grief and bereavement counselling (advanced level), and undertaken a range of continuing professional development courses, including art therapy.
Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?
My counselling approach is person-centred, which is a well-established approach, developed by the psychologist, Carl Rogers. I would say I'm a creative person-centred counsellor because I have received training in art therapy and can use art and other mediums in sessions.
I provide both long and short-term counselling, and my clients decide what we explore in our sessions, including setting and working towards any personal goals. I also work at their pace.
The person-centred approach fits with my personality, values and beliefs, and I enable people to heal, grow and change through a set of relationship skills and qualities that I have, including self-awareness.
I'm committed to providing an environment where people feel genuinely valued and accepted, believed in, heard and understood, and sometimes challenged, yet in a supportive way. Through this environment, they can develop new perspectives, their awareness and self-esteem. They can also build confidence and trust in their coping abilities, strengths and potential that they have.
My role is to help my clients make life choices and changes that they want to make and continue to be the best that they can be – whatever unique form or shape that might take. Essentially, we're all striving to be the best we can be, yet life can get in the way of that natural process.
How does person-centred therapy help people experiencing bereavement?
The death of a family member, partner, child or baby can be devastating, confusing and distressing, and most people benefit from emotional support – whether that's from friends, the family, peers in a support group, a pastor or counsellor.
As a person-centred bereavement counsellor, it's important to me that people can be themselves in our sessions, without the worry or pressure of how they 'should' or 'shouldn't' be.
I provide a safe, trusting and accepting space where people can be as they are, talk openly, reflect and express their feelings and emotions. I will listen to how things are for them and respond with understanding. I might offer education around grief, yet many people benefit from having their experiences and feelings validated.
I trust in my client's ability to cope and move forward – even if or when they don't. I work alongside them for as long as they need.
What sort of people do you usually see?
I work with adults of all ages and from all walks of life, including individuals, couples and families. I usually see people that are struggling with loss, mental health issues or the effects of domestic abuse/violence or finding it difficult to cope in pregnancy or with parenthood. However, it's more about a mutual feeling that my client and I can work well together.
What do you like about being a therapist?
For me, it's a meaningful role in today's world, and I value that. Life can be tough, and we can feel alone with our struggles, overwhelmed by them, unsupported, judged and or misunderstood.
I like the fact that I get to meet and know such a diverse mix of people and learn from them too. Also, I get to be part of their life journey – whatever path that might take, and that's a real privilege.
While being a self-employed therapist has its challenges, it does fit well with my personal life and other commitments. It's one of the best decisions I've made.
What is less pleasant?
I feel saddened and sometimes frustrated with the difficulties people can experience in or with the mental health system. Similarly, it saddens me when people are repeatedly defined or judged by their mental health issues or see themselves as weak or unable to cope. That said, I have witnessed the difference that person-centred therapy can make, and I hold onto that.
How long have you been with welldoing.org, and what do you think of us?
I joined welldoing.org a few years ago now, and I experience the team as professional yet friendly, and also prompt in dealing with my enquiries. I find the website and my counsellor profile very user-friendly. I do like welldoing.org's focus on matching the client with the right counsellor – this is needed because it's daunting looking for a counsellor, and there are many out there.
Do you ever suggest books or apps to clients?
I don't suggest books to clients, yet sometimes a client will refer to one they're currently reading, and which has relevance to their explorations in counselling. I may suggest apps such as Headspace or Calm - if it feels appropriate to do so, yet it's up to my client as to whether they try it out. I often have two or three clients that are using either one of these apps already and find them helpful.
What do you do for your own mental health?
I try and do some form of relaxation at least once a day, such as guided meditation. I enjoy being outdoors – walking the dog, by the sea or in woodlands, going bowling and swimming, spending time with family and connecting with friends.
You are a therapist in Eastleigh in Hampshire - what can you share with us about seeing clients in that area?
The people I see tend to work in the area or live near to or are in easy reach of my counselling practice. Mental health appears to be a significant issue for both men and women, yet I am aware of increasing support from employers in this area, which feels like a 'positive thing'. I can provide online counselling, so I sometimes see people elsewhere in the UK and abroad.
What is your therapy room like?
I have access to a couple of therapy rooms, yet my main room is light and cosy, with a lovely canvas on the wall, a table and comfy chairs to sit on. I have art and other mediums to hand – should my clients wish to use those in sessions.
What did you learn about yourself in therapy?
I learned to feel okay about myself again and that I can trust in the strengths and inner wisdom that I have. Interestingly, I often see clients that have lost that sense of who they are, yet learn to reconnect with it through counselling.
What do you wish people knew about therapy?
Anyone can benefit from counselling – it's a form of self-care and support. Similarly, it's a space for you to bring whatever is troubling you, and what feels important to you.
It's worth taking the time to find a counsellor that feels right for you, whether you're considering counselling for the first time or coming back to it. Having a good working relationship with your counsellor, or at least the potential to build one, provides the foundations for 'effective' counselling.