Loss & Life Transitions
Deciding whom to trust with your healing is an important decision.
You may be looking at this page because you have recently experienced a loss, change or life transition. Grief is a universal human experience and it can be defined as “the loss of or change in something that is familiar to us”. Most of us think of a loss through death when we hear the word “grief”. This is not the only event that can produce the mix of emotions that come with grief.
Some of the many other losses you may be experiencing include:
Loss of or change in health
Loss of a job
Loss of a relationship
Loss of identity
Loss of trust
Anticipatory grief is the grief that we can experience before the loss occurs. For example, you may be caring for someone (human or animal) with a terminal illness. You may begin to grieve the changes that are occurring as their health declines. You may feel like you are on an emotional roller coaster as a result of knowing, that one day, the loss will happen, you just aren’t sure when.
As a result of these losses, changes or life transitions, your world may feel like it has been flipped upside down and you may be left feeling overwhelmed, hopeless, confused, afraid, or angry. You may be having difficulty with sleep or changes in your appetite. You may question what this means and how you are supposed to keep going. You may be having fights with family or friends because they say things that, while they probably mean well, are hurtful and it seems like they don’t get it.
If you are caring for someone with a chronic or terminal illness, you may also experience caregiver burnout. You may be feeling emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted. You may struggle with how to continue providing care while also trying to take care of yourself without feeling guilty.
You may have been able to work through other losses, changes, or life transitions in your past. While grief is a universal human experience and you may not have needed help in the past, you may now find yourself feeling stuck and in need of support. Grief does not happen in a bubble, meaning other losses can resurface in the face of new losses, making it more challenging.
You aren't sure how to feel, you just know you want to feel less pain and discomfort. You want to feel less scattered. You want to stop replaying the events of the loss. You want to learn how to take time for you without feeling so guilty. You want to maintain those relationships with others, even if they don’t get it. I can help!
I can help you find ways to mourn the losses without the pain taking over. I can help you find ways to live with the “new normal” so you can keep doing what you need to do and what is important to you. I can help you communicate your needs during this time with friends and family so that you can maintain those meaningful relationships in your life.
I can help you find the healing you desire through these experiences. This does not mean you will never feel the pain and sadness again, for me it means that when that pain surfaces you are able to acknowledge it, without fighting, it so it does not take over.
Grievers don't want to or need to be fixed, they need to be heard!
If you are ready to get started on your healing journey, call to schedule a free, no obligation 20-minute phone consultation.
“Healing does not mean the damage never existed. It means the damage no longer controls our lives”
Animal Care Professionals
Are you an veterinarian, veterinary technician, animal shelter worker, animal control officer, animal rescue worker, or any other professional who works in an animal-related setting who feels burned out and tired of dealing with the stressors of your job?
You work long hours, see so much death, have clients expect too much of you, and see so many people who don’t seem to care about their animals. You may have talked to others about this and heard things like “you knew this was part of the job” or “toughen up and deal with it”. Maybe you even believed these things and thought you needed to work harder or “power through”.
You may now find that you procrastinate on important tasks, avoid certain aspects of work, get angry with co-workers, feel more negative or cynical about work, and you may even be thinking of leaving the role you used to be so passionate about.
In addition, you may notice that this is affecting your relationships with friends and family. You may stop doing things that are meaningful in these relationships because you feel you just don’t have the time or energy.
Compassion fatigue is a big buzz-word right now. You may have heard about the importance of “self-care”, and maybe you even tried things like taking breaks, meditating, or exercising. Some of these things may have worked, at least temporarily.
You went into these professions because you care about helping animals, and you have worked so hard to get here.
You want to find a way to continue doing what you love and cope with the stressors. You want to find a way to have balance in your life without feeling guilty or selfish for taking care of yourself. You want to experience more compassion satisfaction. The good news is that counseling can help!
In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, we will explore what may have lead to where things are so we can work on ways to minimize the chance it will happen again. I will learn more about the strategies you have tried in the past and then teach new skills to help you have more balance and fulfillment, not only professionally but personally. I can help you learn how to set boundaries with yourself and others. I can help you learn ways to increase self-compassion so that you experience less anxiety and self-criticism, which can decrease the impact of negative events and increase your overall well-being.
You are important and I care!
If you are ready to get started, call to schedule a free, no obligation 20-minute phone consultation.
Speaking Engagements & Consultations
Speaking Engagements & Presentations
It is not uncommon for people to share information about the positive ways animals impact our lives. Unfortunately there is a flip side to these relationships - the stress that comes when caring for a chronically or terminally ill animal, the difficult treatment or end-of-life decisions we make on behalf of our animals, and the heartbreak we can experience when there is a loss of the relationship with our animals. I believe it is just as important to talk about these areas to reduce the feelings of isolation that one might experience when going through any of experiences. I want to help those who care for animals, whether it be in personal or professional capacity, also learn how to care for themselves.
Topics that I often present on include:
Animal loss and grief
Caregiver stress, compassion fatigue, and self-care
Communication in the veterinary setting
Information about Veterinary Social Work
I provide presentations to:
Veterinary clinics, animal shelters, or rescue groups looking for more resources on how to deal with the emotional impact of caring for animals.
Mental health professionals looking to increase their awareness of the human-animal bond.
Animal owners who are wanting more information to understand & validate the experience they are going through with their animal.
If you are interested in having me speak to your group, please contact me for availability and rates.
If you are an animal care professional, your training focused on the needs of the animals in your care. Unfortunately, animals do not typically come without a human attached in some capacity.
If you are a mental health professional, you may be interacting with clients who share with you situations that involve their beloved animals. Your training may not have provided any insight into what resources are available or how to assist these individuals.
I provide consultations to animal care professionals and mental health professionals on human-animal relationship issues.
Some examples of consultations include:
Suspected animal abuse/neglect cases
Challenging emotional communications with clients
Clients who are having difficulty making treatment or end-of-life decisions
Possible animal hoarding cases
If you are interested in a consultation, please contact me.
Debriefings for Animal Related Professionals
Debriefing is a nonthreatening intervention shown to reduce compassion fatigue and burnout, and improve resiliency in health care settings. It has been implemented in animal-related settings to allow opportunities for the team to reflect on challenging or difficult cases and unanticipated outcomes. The technique of debriefing creates a space for healing, individually and as a group, by promoting reflection to increase insight and understanding into one's feelings and thoughts about the stressful or traumatic event as well as thoughts and feelings of other group members. It also allows for identification of situational aspects that can possibly be done differently in the future. Debriefing can be done individually or as a group.
While debriefing is not therapy/counseling, it is recommended that a trained professional serve as the facilitator as strong emotions and underlying psychological issues may surface.
If you are interested in learning more about whether a debrief would be helpful for your organization or to schedule a debrief, please contact me for availability and rates.