Victoria Riddiford

National Therapeutic Leader and Team Leader Christchurch

Witnessing the transformation in my clients is a beautiful and often humbling experience.

I have been working as a counsellor with NZAF in Christchurch since 2006. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a further 4 years training as a Pascha Therapist (including a one-year graduate programme). Growing up with a gay brother and having two family members die of AIDS-related illnesses, I am passionate about HIV prevention and also making a difference to those living with HIV.

My clients are mainly gay and bisexual men, and I also see a small number of heterosexual clients living with HIV. Many of my clients have been marginalised or have lost a sense of self-worth and connection with themselves and others.  My work includes supporting clients to understand why they feel the way they do, validating what they know is right for them and hence choosing a more self-directed and authentic way of living in the world. 

Time and time again I see the immense, positive effect an increase in self-value has on the choices an individual makes for themselves and for those around them. When you feel better about yourself, you are more likely to say no to environments and situations that cause distress and harm, and to choose people and situations that reflect how you feel about yourself. It’s common sense really. Witnessing this transformation in my clients is a beautiful and often humbling experience.

There are many things I love about my job; the complexity of HIV, the diversity of clients, being a part of social change (challenging stigma and discrimination, education and HIV prevention), HIV testing, keeping informed via the NZAF’s amazing research department and, in particular, being part of a caring, professional and dedicated team.

Health Services