Interview with Dr. Vicki Handfield
These are the questions which have been most frequently asked of me, so you have access to the information you need:
How long have you been doing what you do and how did you get to be a “Get Healthy, Get Happy” expert?
I’ve been in private practice as a clinical psychologist since being licensed in 1982; prior to that I had twelve years of full-time education and training. I have helped thousands of people overcome many types of emotional problems. I have also had my share of personal challenges and have learned a lot through the school of hard knocks. I have found ways to create a wonderful life and want to share these solutions with many others.
Who are your clients exactly?
They are hard-working, responsible, honest people, women and men, who are motivated to improve their lives. Most are between the ages of 40 and 60. Many of them are self-employed, or spouses of the small business owners. Many women in particular tend to be excessively self-critical, rarely feeling proud of themselves, often beating themselves up, holding the bar too high. Men do these things to themselves too. These habits create strong tendencies to expect negatives, feel frustrated, stressed, fatigued – leading to making poor choices. When I see people that are really ready to make positive changes, these are people who move ahead rapidly when they follow my program.
What about if my situation is different from the ones you normally help?
Commonalities overcome differences. My experience is truly vast; I have worked with so many different people, coming from all walks of life, all types of histories, jobs, family backgrounds, medical problems (many etceteras!) that I can tell you the odds are extremely high that I can work well with you. If it becomes clear that it is not a good match, I will tell you as soon as I see that is the case and would encourage you to do the same.
How are you different from other life coaches?
My training and experience as a clinical psychologist sets me apart from the average coach. There certainly are many highly skilled coaches available. I have the distinctions of having a wealth of training leading to my doctorate degree, having received the highest honors in my graduate program, and more than three decades of experience helping people. I have also owned a group practice in the past, and own a building which I have had renovated to be historically accurate; as you can see, I have a lot of business experience also. I have also served in political office and learned a lot in that capacity as well. My history is highly varied and extensive.
Personally, I have come a long way. In the early 1990’s I had a back problem, with it’s attendant pain and limitations. I gained a lot of weight, which also impaired my confidence and had a very negative emotional impact. In the late 90’s, I began an exercise program, slowly and with much difficulty – more emotional than physical! In doing this, I developed my current 6-step program because it worked for me. I was able to lose about 50 pounds, over a long period of time, and I’ve been able to keep the weight off ever since.
Also, as you can see on my Home Page, I had a stroke in 2006. It was a giant wake-up call for me! I embarked upon a journey of going ahead and doing things I had always thought about but never tried. I started with learning to make stained glass, and moved on to dancing and drumming. I evolved into a much happier person, with an exuberant sense of energy, often absolutely loving life. I used to say “oh, I have good days and bad days” – now I say “Life can be gorgeous – and brutal”.
I think it is so important for us to enjoy our lives to the max, just so we can inhale the beauty that is available for us. We also need to have an internal reservoir of energy in order to weather the storms that life does bring. Our society often does not adequately recognize how difficult life can be; we get brief news breaks about horrible events, but tend to see a lot of advertising (totally unrealistic) about how we think we ‘should’ expect our lives to look and feel.
What type of personality do you work best with and what is expected of me?
I work best with people who are highly responsible, somewhat obsessive-compulsive, self-critical, burned out, frustrated, and easily angered. Another commonality is people with an anxious tendency. What’s expected is that you give your full cooperation and make your best effort; I expect you to allow yourself to dream of what is possible, what is needed and what is desired.
What exactly is your program?
* I offer a 6-step program for habit change.
Does this really work?
Yes! When a client makes their best efforts and follows my program, they achieve great results. Working together creates an atmosphere of positive expectations and when you actively participate, stretch your definition of possibilities, take what feels like risks for you, you will succeed.
What results can I expect?
You will see remarkable improvements in your sense of control, calmness, productivity and feelings of happiness and openness. You will choose the habit pattern that you feel needs improvement, we will make an individualized plan and you will put it into action in an achievable manner. We will make sure that the steps are reasonable and doable. If it does not work optimally, we will tweak it so it works for you. Nobody is perfect, neither of us is; we will try until we succeed and it won’t take long!
How quickly can I expect results?
Most people feel better after their first visit, simply based on feeling understood, having a good rapport with me, and being glad they made a start. Then, usually after the first 2 or 3 visits, they report initial improvements in their behavior patterns and feelings of pride and accomplishment in their early success. As we continue, these feelings grow with the changes that are made. There are sometimes setbacks, which is just a human thing; setbacks help us understand what your roadblocks have been and how to remove them. This prevents future slippage significantly. These processes are the same, whether we are working individually or in a group.
How long is the program?
I offer three options…and it is up to you to choose the one you feel is right for you. See the page about Services to get more specifics.
Do people ever decide to continue after the first habit change?
Some do, some return later on to work on another habit, some decide to continue for maintenance. Some are very satisfied and have not returned so far. We do what works for you.
Dr. Vicki, based on everything you’ve said, I know you’re the one I want to work with. What are my options for getting started?
Well, first off you can contact me by phone or email for our first conversation. We need to talk to be sure my services are right for you. Then we’ll look at the different choices for individual or group work. If you want more specifics before we talk, check out my Services page on this site; the Services page has a lot of information to help you begin to decide how you want to start working with me.
* Please see the Services page for more details.