There has been a growing body of research exploring the bond that forms between people and their pets and the positive impact that our interactions with animals have on our emotional, psychological, physical, and spiritual well-being. The "human-animal bond" is a powerful force and those of us who have shared our lives with animals ... dogs, cats, horses, rodents, reptiles, fish, farm animals ... do not need research articles or statistics to prove it. We live it every moment that we interact with those animals, and for many of us the effects of that bond extend beyond those moments. Because of the importance these animals have in our lives and our efforts to care and provide for them, we are also affected by things that impact the animal's well-being, such as ...
Many pet owners or animal lovers may not consider seeking professional counseling when faced with challenges like these. You might believe that a counselor would not recognize the significance that any of these issues have for you or that the counselor might minimize it (e.g., "It is just an animal."). Sharon believes in honoring the bond that we have with our pets and in respecting the impact that pet-related concerns can have on a pet owner. She has lived with animals her whole life and has experienced all of the issues noted above. Sharon's family currently includes two dogs (Jasper and Aurora), two cats (Ceili and Roxie), a fancy rat (Pippin), and various inhabitants of a saltwater aquarium. As an animal-lover and a mental health professional, Sharon furthered her knowledge about the human-animal bond by obtaining professional certification in Animals and Human Health through the University of Denver's Institute for Human Animal Connection. She has also obtained training in Trauma-Focused Equine Assisted Psychotherapy through Natural Lifemanship, and completed the Pet Partners' Handler Training class through Therapy Pets of Greater Cincinnati.
Counseling to address the impact of pet-related concerns is designed to validate your feelings and your experiences, and to help you cope with issues such as the illness of a pet, prepare for loss when facing a pet's terminal illness, and heal from the loss of a pet regardless of the nature of that loss (e.g., death, divorce, the pet escaping the yard, etc.). When an animal is a part of our family, our emotional reactions to these things can be just as strong as if it were a human family member and we might need additional support or assistance in dealing with such concerns. (PLEASE NOTE: Sharon does not provide animal training or directly address behavioral issues in animals. She provides counseling to assist humans with the impact pet-related concerns have on them.)
If counseling can be beneficial for you (or your child/teen) in coping with pet-related concerns, please contact Sharon at 513-445-9959 or via our Contact Form.