• Grief counseling for adult pet loss: a primer for mental health professionals

      Sherman, Dawne G.; Gifford, Valerie M.; Hense-Nelson, Brenda J.; McMorrow, Samantha G. (2017-05)
      Grief counseling receives minimal attention in mental health training programs. Many mental health professionals are unprepared to support adult clients with pet loss and the associated bereavement process. Pets fill many vital roles in the lives of adults and the loss of a pet can be a profound experience. Adults sometimes develop intense attachment bonds with pets, and the quality of the human-pet attachment may influence the grief resolution process. Bereaved individuals may experience complicated grief reactions, including co-occurring mental health disorders. Understanding key clinical issues associated with pet loss can both help clinicians provide appropriate client support and facilitate positive treatment outcomes. As an outcome to this research, an educational webinar highlighting key findings gained from the literature review has been developed to assist clinicians with adults whose presenting concerns relate to pet loss.