Our dogs and us

Why counselling for dog people?

Our dogs respond to how we feel

We humans can be very good at ignoring how we feel. This is a good tactic to get us through difficult situations but when we do it too much it can lead to problems in our lives. It can also affect our dogs.

The experienced dog trainer Kevin Behan wrote a book about it. He said

We do the things we do for a lot of reasons, but for our dog, who studies our every move, it doesn’t matter what we do, say, or think. What matters is what we feel and the emotion that’s invested in the things we do, say, or think.

Kevin Behan, Your Dog is Your Mirror

So when your dog’s behaviour has changed for some unknown reason, or there’s a behaviour that you are struggling with, something else might be going on. An Anubis session can help you dig a bit deeper. It’s not always about the dog.

Photo by Sven Brandsma on Unsplash

I provide one-to-one hour long counselling sessions where you can talk in a confidential, non-judgemental, safe environment, about the difficulties you are experiencing.

Sessions are by appointment, either in person at Drymen , or remotely. My therapy room is ‘dog friendly’ so if you are visiting in person you are welcome to bring your dog (physical appointments are suspended at the moment, due to COVID restrictions but will be available as soon as government regulations allow).

Thermodynamics of Emotion Symposium 2019

I have a Certificate in Counselling and a Diploma in Bio-energy healing. I am a member of COSCA (Counselling and Psychotherapy in Scotland) and follow their ethics and code of practice. I have been studying the connections between thoughts and feelings and our dogs since 2006. I am constantly learning and developing my knowledge on the subject.

Before becoming a therapist I worked for 16 years as a manager in the Scottish National Health Service, most recently involved in managing change.

Labrador watching dog training on TV
Training my labrador

I don’t provide advice on dog training. I’ve explored lots of approaches with my own dogs, and I’m very interested in the subject but it’s not my specialty. I am not a dog behaviourist either. My focus is on supporting you, working on the things that you bring to the session. Together we work to improve your understanding of what is going on.

rough drawing of recumbernt Anubis

For those of you that are interested (because it is a bit geeky).

I named my therapy after Anubis, the Ancient Egyptian God. Anubis is depicted as a half-man half-jackal, or sometimes a jackal lying down on a box. If you do a search on him you will find him described as the God of the Dead, which sounds a bit grim. But if you do a bit more research, as I did, you will find that he is known as the gatekeeper to our self-awareness. With this job description he monitors the ‘death’ of our old self. The chest that Anubis guards contains the treasure that is self-knowledge. So he oversees the process by which we realise our full potential, by better understanding ourselves.

‘to know thyself is the beginning of wisdom’

Socrates

It is important for me to connect my work with clients to this deeper wisdom. By reflecting on our dog’s difficult behaviour, or just generally how they make us feel, we can improve our self-awareness. Our dogs are acting as our very own Anubis representatives.