Updated: Jun 22
Hi Victoria, Welcome to Crew Radio!
It’s a couple of weeks since you started and I thought it would be good if we got to know you a little better.
Is it true you are a real life Psychologist?
I am indeed a real life, fully qualified psychologist. I came late to the field though, qualifying in my forties after studying part time for two years alongside my day job in leadership. I had always been an ‘armchair psychologist’ before that and fascinated by the human mind, consciousness, performance and the like, so it was wonderful to back up all the pop psychology I had read with some really robust and detailed understanding. I loved learning about neuroscience in particular, and I was proud to receive a Distinction and a University prize for highest grade in my year. I’m currently working to publish my research, which was on the effects of Mindful breathing on social performance and empathy.
That is so cool, and it’s something a lot of people are interested in, what made you want to study to be a Psychologist?
I have always been very curious about life, the Universe and everything – and the way people interact and behave in particular. My first degree was in anthropology, and my bookshelves have been lined with books about the mind, consciousness, philosophy and personal development as far back as I can remember. When the University I was leading launched a Master’s in Psychology and I had the opportunity to study part time online alongside my career, it seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. It was a brilliant experience and gave me a confidence and clarity on subjects I had been interested in for all that time, as well as the opportunity to develop my own research to contribute to the field.
Do you think the world has become obsessed with what I call comic book psychology? 10 ways to spot a narcissist! 7 ways to know your ex is a psychopath?
Yes, I do! But this isn’t exclusively bad. Developing self-awareness and an understanding of others is such an important foundation to a successful life – anything that helps open people’s eyes to aspects of their character or their relationship with others is potentially valuable, and these quizzes are at least accessible and fun, rather than the somewhat stuffy and inaccessible articles and books you have to read when you do the ‘proper academic’ side of psychology. The one aspect of this that I am less keen on is that desire to attached labels and diagnoses to people. In my opinion we live in an era where we are a bit too trigger happy when it comes to boxing people in with diagnostic labels. People and their attitudes and behaviours come in all shapes and sizes – attaching labels both limits the potential we see in the person (or ourselves) and potentially creates an ‘excuse’ for what is actually just poor self-regulation or an accumulation of unhelpful habits! By attaching a diagnostic label, you basically tell a person “you can’t change this – it's just how you are” – but in my work as a psychologist and coach, I have repeatedly seen how powerful deep change mindset work can be in literally evaporating ‘conditions’ such as anxiety, attention deficit and phobias.
Sadly this trigger happy labelling isn’t limited to buzzfeed-style quizzes, it happens all over the psychological world as well! In fact the ‘go to’ manual for psychologists (called the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Disorders) is so flaky that homosexuality was only removed from it as a ‘disorder’ in 1973. The disorders that make it in and are taken out are agreed by a bunch of psychologists sitting round a table each year and debating what should be included. Not a very rigorous and scientific process at all!
These days you concentrate on coaching, why did you decide to go down that path instead of the couch, note book and pen!
There is a very clear distinction between coaching and counselling or talk therapy. I am 100% focused on where my clients want to get to – not where they have been. So much talk therapy is creating space around our stories, the things that happened to us as kids, the complex history that creates the ways we behave. This can have a role in helping a person heal and justify their experience. But it can also support a victim outlook where we blame our past for how we are, rather than taking responsibility (which is much more empowering!) so that we can make a choice to be different in ways that serve the outcomes we want. I do provide integrated therapy as well as coaching, using NLP (neurolinguistic programming), mindfulness, Timeline Therapy and Hypnotherapy, however the therapy work I do is wholly focused on where the client wants to get to and I take a tough love approach to people hiding behind their past as a justification for their present. I find this hugely fulfilling because it is so effective – I have now had many clients who were in therapy as much as 5 years before they came to me, and didn’t really get the breakthrough they wanted. We usually generate a complete transformation in just 3-4 months.
Tell us about all the ‘woo’ stuff you do too?
Well over the course of my career, I learnt that much of my success was founded in an ability to really manage and harness my personal energy – to engage and inspire others through a real felt connection. As I was studying psychology I got interested in Reiki and Pranic healing and started looking into the science of these energy-based techniques. Over time I have built up an understanding of the science and research that underpins these techniques and approaches, which has taken me further in that direction. I now consider much of my mindset work to be effecting as much change at an energetic level as it is a subconscious level – the combination is, I think, what makes the work so powerful. There have been many occasions where my client and I have both felt a very tangible energetic release take place that we are able to acknowledge and discuss – it is usually in these situations where the client goes on to experience a very major transformation and breakthrough around something that felt completely ‘stuck’ or unavailable to them before.
What can people expect from your show every week?
I’ll be sharing all of my favourite tools and resources around personal effectiveness, living in alignment, managing personal energy and creating success. I’ll read a weekly ‘coaching oracle card’, play music to both energise and soothe listeners, and give an occasional ‘science of woo’ explanation of something that helps people get to grips with why woo really is worth their time. I’ll also bring on occasional guests to talk about interesting topics on the themes above.
You have chosen to be live so if people want to contact you and ask questions whilst the show is going on will they be able to do that?
People can reach me via the crewradio.com contact us form outside of showtime. For live messages and requests, they should join me in the Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/takeoffwithcoachvictoria to get involved in chat, request opportunities and message me with questions.
When is the show and what is it called?
Take Off with Coach Victoria – Wednesdays at 10am, and Fridays at 1pm GMT