Pet Bereavement Counselors:
There are literally hundreds of people who are now counseling in pet bereavement, and it is not possible for the APLB to register them all. Some hesitate to be listed in any directory, others are first discovering the benefits of this wonderful service, and many more are still unknown to us. We welcome all new applicants to contact us directly by mail or online at firstname.lastname@example.org. This listing is arranged according to geographical location. We are pleased that every counselor registered here is a member of the APLB.
Deborah A. Massey, LSCW, CAS
12 Paoli Pike, Suite 3
Paoli, Pennsylvania 19301
I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Addition Specialist. My Master’s thesis focused on the bonding between people and their pets. I counsel people who are dealing with euthanasia decisions, grief recovery and am privileged to do therapy when other issues surface as a result of losing a pet. I also am a certified Spiritual Director and Gestalt Therapist.
My approach to pet bereavement is to create a safe non-judgmental environment to allow grief to unfold and healing to happen. I use role play, picture sharing, journal writing, cognitive restructuring and celebratory closing ceremonies. Animals are the joy of life.
Karen Litzinger, MA, LPC
7625 West Hutchinson Street
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15218
I am a Licensed Professional Counselor and National Certified. For much of my professional career, I have specialized in career counseling and led a job seekers support group that dealt significantly with loss. I expanded my private practice to pet loss counseling following my producing the CD, Heal Your Heart: Coping with the Loss of a Pet following the deaths of my two dogs within four months. I received the Certificate of Counselor Training in Pet Loss from the APLB and was certified as a Bereavement Facilitator by the American Academy of Bereavement.
My approach to pet bereavement is grounded in validating the intense loss and helping clients understand the stages of bereavement and cope with any guilt. My focus is on short term counseling through reflective listening, experiential exercises, cognitive therapy, and memorial ritual. If further counseling is advisable, I can recommend clients to area psychotherapists.
Sandi Herman, MS
I developed a special interest in working with people experiencing the loss of animal companions after the death of my beloved cat Rosebud in 1999. I have been a counselor and health educator for the past twenty years, and have worked with people individually and in groups on various issues, including that of loss. I was one of the founding members of Philly PAWS, an organization that assists people living with HIV care for their animals. Individual and group counseling sessions are provided in a safe and caring environment where individuals can tell their stories, receive support through the natural stages of the grieving process, and learn strategies on how to take care of themselves during such a stressful time. I also use guided imagery, journal writing, art, and ceremony to help participants remember the gifts that their animal companions have given them.
Mary Elizabeth Van Everbroeck, MA, LMFT
Pet Guardian Education and Animal Advocacy Services, Inc.
310 Davisville Road, Suite 102
Warminster, Pennsylvania 18974
I am a licensed nursing home administrator, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and have been counseling the elderly and their family members since 1989. I have been specializing in the emotional issues of pet sickness, death and bereavement. My counseling also extends to helping family members assist the pet through grief processes associated with the loss of another pet in the family, or a human family member.
I offer help based on a systemic view of reality, consistent with the marriage and family therapy paradigm. Families include pets, since they are active contributing members of the system. My counseling style is designed to help all members of a family deal with the grief and loss of their beloved companions, both human and non-human. This helps provide for an easier closure process.