Counseling

Counseling Program
There are two main components to this program – grief counseling and compassion fatigue counseling in individual and group forms. Both counseling services are provided to approved clients free of charge. This year, four activity-based workshops will be offered to small groups of people that have or have had companion animals with cancer to honor the human-animal connection and allow families to connect with others going through similar life events.  Please contact us if you are interested in taking advantage of this program.

Grief counseling is an important aspect in the healing process when a companion animal is lost to cancer. Personal accounts reflecting on connections to those lost to cancer (human and animal) express sadness, depression, anger, and various other feelings when attempting to cope with reality (Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, 2013, para. 1). Counseling is vital to honoring the human-animal connection and the surviving human’s well-being. To do this, KarmaSue’s members validate the person’s feelings and help him or her move through the process of grief purposefully and compassionately. As suggested in an in-person interview, if talk therapy is not desired, other outlets will be available including planting trees, journeys to the mountains to spread ashes, and the like.

Compassion fatigue counseling is considered a secondary traumatic stress disorder with symptoms including but not limited to stress, apathy, and isolation (Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project, 2013, para. 1). It is realistic and accurate to say that humans caring for companion animals with cancer experience compassion fatigue; some individuals do so without understanding the true validity of their feelings. A study developed by Rank, Zaparanick, and Gentry (2009) confirm the validity of nonhuman animal care compassion fatigue using an exploratory design and testing the effects of a training on symptoms related to this secondary traumatic stress disorder. The results found that an innovative training as treatment for compassion fatigue lowered stress levels and increased compassion satisfaction scores. The findings validate the development of programs that support humans as they endure all that comes along with an animal cancer diagnosis and taking special care of loved pets as they undergo treatment.

KarmaSue offers compassion fatigue counseling to those suffering from the feelings described above and more. Family members are able to discuss their thoughts and fears in a safe place void of judgment and are given tools to practice self-care while working through a cancer diagnosis, treatment(s), and hopefully remission. Experts in this area provide counseling to families free of charge. It is at the core of KarmaSue to honor the human-animal connection; this is an ideal way to bring the mission to life.

To inquire about this program, please send us an email at karmasuecancer@gmail.com.

References:
Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project. (2013). Did you know? Retrieved from
http://www.compassionfatigue.org/

Rank, M. G., Zaparanick, T. L., & Gentry, J. (2009). Nonhuman-animal care compassion fatigue:
Training as treatment. Best Practice in Mental Health, 5(2), 40-61. Retrieved from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.dml.regis.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=1&sid=8d396dce-7a55-4c5d-8f8f-ce1611245136%40sessionmgr111&hid=124