Wendy van der Velden is an online counsellor

What attracted you to become a therapist?

I have always liked caring and making a difference, in essence doing something worthwhile.

After working in animal care for 25 years, it was actually a bereavement in my own life which set me on the path to become a therapist.

Where did you train? 

I trained with Ichas, a college in Limerick, Ireland, and completed a BA in Counselling and Psychotherapy Skills.

Can you tell us about the type of therapy you practise?

It really depends on the client, what therapy would suit them, what their goals are, possible time limits. I am integrative so I am quite versatile in therapeutic approach and like to make this decision with the client.

I do like and use CBT and solution-focused therapy often as these are proven to be very helpful. I also do life coaching for people who are more specifically goal-orientated.

How does CBT help with symptoms of anxiety?

Cognitive behaviour therapy can be very helpful with anxiety as it looks at the underlying thoughts that cause the anxious feelings and behaviours. 

Recognising the thoughts and challenging them – stopping them in their tracks so to speak – changes our feelings and reactive behaviours.

What sort of people do you usually see?

I mostly see adults with a wide range of difficulties. I would work with any problem really, as long as it isn't beyond my remit. 

I do have an interest in starting work with adolescents and couples so if you would like to start that journey with me, you are more then welcome.

Have you noticed any recent mental health trends or wider changes in attitude?

Due to Covid-19 depression and anxiety disorders have risen significantly, specifically in younger people. Thankfully it is also more recognised and accepted, and there is less stigma in looking for help.

What do you like about being a therapist?

If I can make even a little bit of difference in a person’s life and help improve how they feel and how they cope, that makes it worthwhile.

What is less pleasant?

It takes a lot of energy! Not necessary unpleasant but definitely something to mind so that your own life balance has to be ok.

How long have you been with Welldoing and what you think of us?

I have only just started with Welldoing but I'm happy so far. I have joined two CPD sessions so far but will definitely join more.

What books have been important to you in terms of your professional and personal development? Do you ever recommend books to clients?

I read a lot but I like Bessel van der Kolk The Body Keeps the Score, Peter Livine Waking the Tiger and I often recommend Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

What you do for your own mental health? 

I try to keep a good life balance so I have good energy for work. My social contacts, family and friends are of major importance – and my animals of course!

I do a lot of exercise: I run, ride my horse and hike in the weekends.

Mindfulness is also very helpful.

You are an online therapist. What can you share with us about seeing clients in this way?

I work mostly online so my clients can come from much further afield than England or Ireland, but they bring the same difficulties.

What’s your consultation room like?

As I work online might not be applicable but for people in my area of County Clare, I have a room in a lovely wellness centre in Ennis.

What do you wish people knew about therapy?

That you don't have to wait until situations become too hard to handle for you – come sooner, prevention is better than cure!

What did you learn about yourself in therapy?

‘Know thyself’: As a therapist it is important to know your own values, possible prejudices, our social constructs etc so we can be non judgemental and accepting of people as they are.

Contact Wendy here

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