- Length: 4 sessions, 8 hours total
- Class Format: On-demand teleclass to take anytime, at your convenience. You will receive links to 8 hours of MP3 recordings (from a live class which includes the questions, comments and interactions of the participants with the instructor) and PDF’s containing 91 pages of detailed handouts.
- Tuition: $199
- Instructor: Teresa Wagner, MS
- Who Should Attend: The class is appropriate for anyone who is exposed to clients in pain from pet loss and has a genuine desire to build skills to help them. Particularly helpful for veterinary professionals, animal shelter and rescue workers, trainers, behaviorists, animal communicators and other animal care professionals who want to effectively support others through pet loss. It is also helpful for counselors and therapists who may want to raise their sensitivity to the issue of animal loss, as well as friends and family members who want to better support their loved ones who are grieving the loss of a beloved animal.
- Register: Click here to purchase (This link will automatically redirect you to the Animals in our Hearts web site for purchase.)
- Testimonials: Click here
For students enrolled in the certification program:
- This is a required class
- Prerequisite: None
- Required Reading:
• Understanding Your Grief, Ten Essential Touchstones, Alan D. Wolfelt, Ph.D.
• The Art of Being a Healing Presence, James E. Miller with Susan C. Cutshall
• The Art of Listening in a Healing Way, James E. Miller
- Fee for Coaching & Mentoring session held after submission of Written Class Review: $150 (fee not applicable for students who have pre-paid the entire certification program fee which includes these sessions)
In this four-session class you will have an opportunity to:
- Learn how to take care of yourself with appropriate boundaries when helping others
- Raise your awareness of the specific ethics involved in providing grief support
- Build a thorough conceptual understanding of grief, including disenfranchised and complicated grief, the variety of factors which influence the healing of grief, and state-of-the-art theories of healing grief
- Examine your personal, inner motivations to help others and learn how these impact your effectiveness in supporting those who grieve
- Learn the core grief support skills of empathic inquiry and response, the appropriate use of self disclosure and spirituality when supporting the bereaved, the important dynamics of primary and secondary grievers
- Assess your grief support style as primarily enmeshed, detached, or empathic and well boundaried, and what may be needed to bring it to balance
- Identify very specific do’s and don’ts when supporting those grieving from pet loss
- Increase your knowledge of and access to a wide range of resources for both your own continuing education about pet loss grief support and to pass onto clients
Content and Purpose
This class is designed to help you build, refresh or reaffirm your abilities to effectively support others who are grieving the loss of an animal loved one—to help them through their pain and healing process with both tender compassion and the use of specific skills. The class is a primer of the important basics of grief support. Some of the material in the class is revisited in far more depth in the Essential Counseling Skills class and other required and elective classes in the certification program. This repetition of principles and skills is an intentional aspect of the curriculum for optimal learning. However, this class on helping others with pet loss serves on its own in teaching the basic principles and skills of effective grief support.
Effectively and lovingly offering support to someone through the challenge of grief can make a huge, positive difference in that person’s healing journey. When another being truly cares, understands, and acknowledges the depth of our loss, our path is lighter. When the truth of a painful and difficult loss is acknowledged, we know we are not alone. When we are understood, healing feels much more possible. Almost anyone seeing another in emotional pain wants to help. Yet, seeing or hearing someone in great anguish can also be overwhelming and intimidating. We may feel awkward or unsure about what to say or do. Learning how to effectively help others who grieve the loss of a beloved animal requires far more than feeling sympathy. It also requires specific skills.
Sometimes in attempts to help, friends, family and even professional counselors, healers or authors will impose their beliefs about what we should do or believe or need, thinking that their own paradigms of animal death and grief will be relevant and helpful to everyone. For those who are grieving, this intentional or unconscious imposing gets in the way of them discovering for themselves what they believe or need, and what will work for them. It can also add anger and frustration for being “imposed upon” instead of listened to for those living in an already stressful time of grief.
The most empowering things we can do to help others with pet loss is to learn to be truly present with their suffering: to listen, not advise; to judiciously and gently suggest possibilities, not impose our beliefs as fact–and to do so sparingly and only after offering enough empathy that it is clear to them that we understand and have listened to their story and their thoughts and feelings; to be with them as they find their own way, not judge, push or prod them in the way we think they should grow. To be truly present with someone’s pain without feeling a need to fix it, reconcile it, or recoil from it is one of the most powerful gifts we can give another. It requires patience, discernment of what to say when, skills of empathic expression, and great respect for the wisdom of the other’s journey.
These delicate, subtle yet powerful grief support skills can be learned and integrated into our practices as animal communicators, healers, veterinary professionals, shelter professionals and others who are with those who lose their beloved animals. This four session teleclass offers an introduction to these skills and ideas as well as an overview of a grief healing process.
As a counselor with a healing presence,
you won’t receive as much as you give.
You’re likely to receive even more.
~ James E. Miller,
The Art of Being a Healing Presence
Session 1: Boundaries and Protection for Helping Professionals:
Preparing Ourselves Energetically
- Understanding Energetic Boundaries and Energetic Protection
- Why They’re Important When Working with People and Animals in Pain
- A Holistic Perspective of These Issues
- Self-Assessment: Levels of Compassionate Response to Others’ Pain
- The Whale’s Lesson on Death
- Specific Techniques and Strategies to Practice Energetic Protection
- Definitions of Loss, Grief, and Grief Healing
- Why Animal Loss is Different
- Personal Understanding of Grief:
• Intimate Self-Awareness of Our Motivation to Help
• Our Orientation as Helpers/Healers
- Intellectual Understanding of Grief
• Principles of Healing Grief & Choices We Make in Response to Loss
• Factors Influencing Grief Responses
• Stages of Grief Theories and Why They Are Not Very Helpful
• Beyond Stages: A Model of Conscious Grief Healing
• Disenfranchised Grief & Complicated Grief
- The Two Golden Rules of Grief Support
- Words That Heal: Empathic Inquiry and Response
- Defining Empathy: What it is and is not
- The Power of Empathic Inquiry: Gentle Questioning for Clarity
- The Power of Empathic Response: Active Listening
- Emotional Empathy Discrimination Exercises
- What is My Grief Support Style: Enmeshed? Empathic & Protected? Detached?
- The Role of Spiritual Beliefs and Paradigms in the Grief Support Process: Helpful or Hindrance?
- Appropriate Use of Self Disclosure
- Specific Do’s and Don’ts When Helping Others with Pet Loss
- Understanding the Issues of Primary and Secondary Grievers
- Personal Integration: What Did I Learn From this Class?
- Resources on Grief Support for Additional Learning and Referral
Detailed information in a usable format
Teresa did a wonderful job at providing very detailed information in a usable format that I could understand and apply.
~ Lori W, CA
Thought provoking, deep, engaging, and encouraging
Teresa did a wonderful job of giving us examples of how to be supportive in helping others with pet loss and at the same time taking care of our own needs. This was thought provoking, deep, engaging, and encouraging. I got to know myself better as well as learned new skills to help others. Teresa is obviously very experienced in the area of counseling and in grief support. I couldn’t imagine a better teacher!
~ Anne B.
Further validated how I feel in my own grief process
It further validated not only how I feel in my own grief process—but also reinforced what I have learned so far about grief counseling. It was good to have the handouts to refer back to as well as add notes around specific concepts. The way Teresa responds back to someone who is either grieving or the way they responded to a question is very “normalizing”. It’s easy to see her use the techniques that are taught in class.
~Holli S, Virginia
I would highly recommend this class for anyone searching for ways to be there for persons going through grief, not just over the loss of their animal.
~ Jan E, KS
Teresa was so loving and compassionate in her delivery
A true role model for all of us. I eagerly looked forward to each and every class. ”
~ Alice P, TX
I feel so much more confident to help someone thru a loss and to deal with some of my own grief I’ve buried. I would highly recommend this class.
~ Terra K, IL
A privilege to listen to Teresa speak on this subject
All sessions were extremely enjoyable and informative. It was a privilege to listen to Teresa speak on this subject. Her compassion, empathy, sensitivity and beautiful energy came across vividly, and served to remind me that the most important thing in this work is not the words, tools and techniques used, but the genuine heartfelt caring expressed. Handouts were fabulous! Well presented, and lots of clear, concise, thought-provoking useful info.
~ Pat S, Ontario
One of the best classes I’ve taken
This class should be required for life!! Huge amount of wonderful information to help you be a sensitive and loving person for someone who is experience loss. This was one of the best classes I’ve taken yet.
~Penny W, WI
I look forward to more classes
I LOVE Teresa. . . she just makes everything so easy even in a difficult situation. I look forward to more classes of hers.
~ Dana L, CA
Teresa has a fantastic ability to teach
She takes the thought-provoking topics involved in helping others with pet loss and presents them in a straightforward fashion. Her ability to mix humor into her presentation of a serious subject is outstanding! She paces content and delivers it at an appropriate level for all to understand. Responds well to questions posed.
~ Davidene T, MT
To be effective grief support practitioners or helpers in any setting, including helping others with pet loss, we must be willing to sense, accept, and feel empathy for all of the emotions our clients may have, however overwhelming or
intense they may be.
It is not our job to take on their feelings or to become enmeshed with their trauma, but rather to have the emotional strength, maturity and willingness to be witness to the full strength of their pain without recoiling, shutting down or rushing in to fix it with our favorite tools, or filter it with our personal worldview or beliefs to make ourselves feel comfortable and competent.
Our job is to listen with highly skilled empathy and to hold space for and trust in the unfolding of our client’s healing.
~ Teresa Wagner