Counseling for Pet Owners

For those of us who share our hearts and homes with animals, there can be so much joy! And at the same time there can be much stress and heartache related to our pets.

Pet owners usually reach out to me for two reasons:

  • They have a “special needs” pet with behavioral or medical issues. They feel stressed, overwhelmed (and a million other feelings) as they manage all the ways this impacts their life
  • They are looking for pet loss and grief support to help them through the overwhelming heartbreak of saying goodbye to a beloved pet

The pet owners I work with often feel misunderstood and unsupported by others in their life. Even as they’re being bowled over by stress or grief, they struggle with finding the help they need for both their pet and themselves. They feel like others are telling them some version of “you are crazy for feeling this way about your pet”. A lack of support and understanding (and even straight-up judgment) from friends and family can leave them feeling isolated and alone.

As a therapist and fellow pet owner, I’m here to tell you you’re not weird or crazy, and you’re definitely not alone.

What you can expect from working with me

 I will not judge you. I want to hear the stories about your pet, what they mean to you, where there are struggles and where there is so much joy and love.

My hope is that through our conversations….

you feel less alone, and know that you aren’t crazy!

you will feel understood.

you will have knowledge of support and resources available, and feel some relief.

you will share as many stories about your beloved pet as you can think of!

you will feel heard, validated, and like healing can begin.

 

How we can work together

I provide counseling for pet owners, in person at my Chicago office (or teletherapy on a case by case basis for clients who live anywhere in Illinois). I work with individuals as well as couples and families dealing with concerns related to their pet.

Counseling sessions are typically about 55 minutes long. Counseling can be ongoing for as long as you feel you need the support. For example, sometimes it is just for a few sessions to deal with the immediate grief of losing a pet. Or sometimes the caregiving stresses are more long-term. And sometimes people find that there are other things in their life they’d like to address in counseling, and that they appreciate working with someone who understands how much their pet means to them.

Additional support I can provide:

  • Referrals to veterinary, behavior, training support
  • Recommendations for books & articles specific to what you are going through
  • I also facilitate two support groups here in Chicago. You can find more information about support groups here.

 Why I am so passionate about supporting pet owners

I totally get how much our pets mean to us and the emotional roller coaster they can take us on. Just ask my dog Ruby how crazy I am about her!

And I have lived the experience of others not understanding what my pet means to me and how hurtful that can be.   I have also been lucky enough to also have people who understand 100% the human-animal bond and are super supportive, and I know how life-giving that can be.

I am drawn to support pet owners because I have heard too many stories of people experiencing a dismissive or judgmental response from others when they have tried to share about what is going on with their pet and how it is impacting them. And that just breaks my heart. I am passionate about providing a space where pet owners feel understood, heard, and know that they are not “crazy” for how they are feeling!

And I just love hearing people share stories about their pets 🙂

Fees & Insurance

The fee for counseling is $130/session (50-55 minutes long).

If you want to use your insurance coverage, I am in-network with BCBS PPO & BlueChoice, Cigna, and Medicare.

If I am out-of-network for your insurance, I can provide you a receipt to submit to your insurance for out-of-network coverage.

A sliding scale fee is available through OpenPath.

First step

I want to help you find the support you need with whatever it is you are struggling with with your pet. Contact me to schedule a free 20 minute phone consultation, and if you are interested in support groups for pet owners you can find more information here.