• 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.
    • Utilizing animal assisted interventions in elementary schools

      France, Catherine E.; Cook, Christine; Morotti, Allan; Brashear, Dawn (2014)
      Animal Assisted Interventions in the elementary school counseling setting involves the school counselor choosing to bring in an animal, commonly a dog, to assist in counseling interventions with a student. The counselor uses the dog as a tool to build a secure and trusting rapport with the student. The counselor is the facilitator of the session; the dog is used in a variety of ways to increase and aide in the benefits of the counseling session. This project illustrates the positive impact of the human-animal bond, the steps necessary to bring animal assisted interventions into a school, and the theoretical base that supports animal assisted interventions. This information is also presented as a website to be easily accessible for counselors, parents, and educators.