Pet Loss and Bereavement for Therapists

Pet Loss and Bereavement for Therapists

The loss of a pet can be have an incredibly significant impact on a person and sometimes they will seek support as they navigate their grief following the loss of a pet.  This course is an extensive look at pet loss, and how it may impact upon your clients.

Who is this course for?

This course is designed for counsellors and therapists (either in-training or qualified and practicing) who would like a better understanding of pet loss, how it affects people and how they might support clients through pet loss in therapy. We recommend that those who have experienced a personal loss within the previous 6 months do not undertake this course.

What topics will be covered?

The Human – Companion Animal Bond:

The relationship between pets and people, how it develops, helps and impacts upon a person.  How attachment and culture play a part in the bond.  How the bond between people and pets can become stronger or, sometimes distorted.

Loss and grief with pets:

Circumstances and factors affecting grief with pet loss, types of loss in relation to pets, helping clients understand the stages/phases of their grief, helping clients understand their responses to grief, complex grief and links to pre-existing issues.

Euthanasia and death:

Aspects of euthanasia and the euthansia process.  Supporting clients around difficult decisions, and through euthanasia.  What happens after death – decisions about body care and exploring remembrance.

Pet loss and life stages:

Supporting children and parents through pet loss.  Supporting older people through pet loss.

How long will the course take?

While the course is designed to be completed at your own pace, there are 20 hours of directed study.  You will have access to the materials indefinitely* once you have enrolled but we encourage you to complete the course within 1 year of starting.

To receive your Completion Certificate with CPD hours you will need to complete the entire course including several essay type assessments within 1 year.

How will I be assessed?

There are a number of essay-type questions throughout the course designed to help you reflect upon the topics that you have been covering.  Each essay-type question requires no more than 300 words each and they are submitted online through the Learning Management System.  You will receive feedback and any areas for improvement will be highlighted for further exploration or re-submission.  You may choose not to be assessed as you go through the course but should you choose this option, you will not receive a certificate of completion.

What support will I receive during the course?

There are a variety of support channels available for you during the course.  You may have up to 2 video tutorials with your tutor during the course should you want them and you can email your tutor directly for support.  Tutorials are an opportunity to go over parts of the training, in particular reflective exercises you will have completed, in addition to asking questions or expressing concerns.

Who will be my tutor?

Julia Dando is a Counsellor in private practice Accredited with the National Counselling Society.  She has a Masters Degree in Open and Distance Education and extensive experience in developing and delivering training for those supporting pet loss and bereavement.  The training manager at Blue Cross Pet Bereavement Support Service and Society for Companion Animal Studies for several years, delivering training to helpline volunteers, re-homing centre staff and Veterinary staff across the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

She recently helped develop the “Paws to Listen” pet loss support helpline for Cat’s Protection, providing an extensive training package for the service staff which received the first and only quality endorsement from The Helplines Partnership (previously The Helplines Association).  Julia has written a handbook and delivered training for volunteers at Rosie’s Trust, a charity in Northern Ireland supporting the terminally ill through pet loss.  She has delivered face-to-face and online training to many organisations and hundreds of Veterinary Surgeons, nurses, Crematoria staff, counsellors, helpline volunteers, and rehoming centre staff across the UK.