Pet Bereavement Counselling
Face to face, telephone, email, instant messaging or webcam counselling
- Diploma in Online Counselling Skills and Practice, OCST, 2019
- Pet Bereavement Course, Blue Cross, 2016
- Diploma in Youth Counselling, Institute of Counselling, 2014
- Awareness in Bereavement Care foundation course, Cruse Bereavement Care, 2008
- Advanced Diploma in Integrative Counselling, 2006-8, Iron Mill Institute
Bereavement - living with the loss of an animal
I am trained and experienced in providing counselling support to people who are experiencing a variety of issues, such as bereavement, self-esteem, self-harm, stress, relationship issues, eating disorders, parental separation and divorce, and anger.
However, when I was training to be a counsellor, and also after I became a qualified counsellor, I trained with Cruse, attending the ‘Cruse Foundation Course’ for bereavement support volunteers, and worked for Cruse Bereavement Care as a volunteer in a counselling role, for a number of years, helping to support people who were bereaved after the death of a person.
That training and work opened my eyes to how we deal with death in modern society, and to how valuable and necessary it can be for many people who are bereaved, to have someone to talk to about what they are going through – someone who is not a friend or family member. Like many people, I have experienced the death of those around me, and been faced with having to live through my own grief.
In addition, as an animal lover, and pet ‘owner’ for many years, I have cherished my animals and also experienced grief from losing them when they were old, frail and also when they were very young. During those dark times, I relied on the support of those around me, stuff written on internet, books that I bought, music that I listened to, and going for walks – as well as wine, paracetamol and crying.
However, we all lead busy lives, and I realised that in the depths of my grief , the support from people nearest to me was not enough – even when they went home, walked away, said goodbye or whatever the situation of us being together was, – I was still grieving when they were no longer around. I also found that the support, relief, and change of mood I could get from other ways such as going for a walk, going to the shops, drinking a glass of wine, eating chocolate, cakes or other junk food, or watching TV … was also not enough – I found that the calm, or relief, or focus on the wine, chocolate, or TV was short and temporary – it didn’t last, and the grief was still there no matter what I did.
I also experienced grief that can be so dark and so persistent that as a human being, it may feel that we can’t seem to be able to grieve enough, can’t seem to get all of the upset out of us, can’t seem to cry enough, and can’t seem to talk about it enough – that the feelings just won’t go away, or get any better.
I had initially not come across ‘pet bereavement’ as a specific focus for counselling, but eventually came across the support offered by Blue Cross. Up until that point I had not come across anyone who had experienced such profound grief as I had from the death of a pet, or a person, and I decided to do the Blue Cross Pet Bereavement training course to try to offer support to other people who might also be grieving the loss of their pet.
What I offer
There are many voluntary organisations that offer bereavement support for the loss of a person, such as Cruse Bereavement Care. For the loss of a pet, there is the Blue Cross. All of these agencies offer an excellent service – please see my Help page for their contact details. I am not part of any of these bereavement care organisations, but offer my own additional avenue of bereavement support.
As with any counselling, I can’t claim to be able to ‘make you feel better’ or to ‘fix you’. What I offer is a quiet, space for you to sit with your feelings or to help you think through them if that’s what you want to do. I have found however, from talking with people grieving the loss of an animal being that perhaps what helps most, is coming into contact with someone else who grieves the death of an animal being as if that loss were a human – the feeling that you are not the only one who gets so upset over the death of an animal. Someone to help you to think through, that you are not going mad – what you are experiencing is a normal human reaction to the loss of a dear one.
I offer my sessions in a variety of ways – face to face, telephone, telephone, email, instant messaging or webcam. I offer counselling as a one-off session, or a series of sessions. I do not put a limit on the number of sessions I offer per person – grief takes it own time to work through. I also do not specify a minimum number of sessions – I have found that often one session is enough.
The counsellling that I offer is mainly ‘person-centred’ which means that I will be lead by what by what you want to say – to talk through how you are feeling. In addition, if it feels right, I might also offer to talk through how we as a society tend to deal with death, and more specifically issues relating to the death of an animal, such as euthanasia, and how there tends to be a difference in how people speak about the death of a human, and the death of an animal – all of which can affect how any of us grieve the death of a beloved animal being.
In addition, sometimes, when we feel that we are doing OK, something will trigger our grief and bring it all to the surface again. Consequently, I also offer ad-hoc sessions, subject to my being available. – for which you can just ring up, text or email me to book a session with no obligation to come back again if you don’t want to.
I work according to the BACP’s Ethical Framework.
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