Counsellor, Kathryn & her Canine Companion, Flossie

HumAnima CIC’s dynamic duo & interspecies friends, Kathryn & Flossie

11th September 2013                                        For Immediate Release
Unique Wolverhampton Organisation Working With Animals To Help Vulnerable People

A Wolverhampton organisation that works with animals to help vulnerable people in a remarkable way, is training other counsellors and health and wellbeing practitioners to do the same. HumAnima CIC, run by Kathryn Kimbley, 30, of Wolverhampton, is a social enterprise that offers counselling with a unique approach called Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT). AAT aims to improve the social or emotional functioning of clients and uses animals to help to educate and motivate them. The organisation is now also offering a one-of-a-kind course called Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling, which has been endorsed by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). HumAnima CIC’s founder Kathryn was compelled to start up the organisation after experiencing the benefits of therapeutic interaction with animals first-hand. As a teenager, Kathryn developed severe clinical depression, which was compounded by acute back and joint pain, later diagnosed as Fibromyalgia, a chronic pain condition. She has since battled this debilitating condition on a daily basis, alongside Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS). She says: ‘Around the time I was diagnosed with depression, I was living with a friend who had a Staffordshire Bull Terrier called

Therapy Dog extraordinaire

Treacle, is happily enjoying her retirement

Treacle, who saw me through some of the hardest days, weeks and months. ‘Whenever I felt particularly low, I would usually be in bed and it was during this time that Treacle would come to me, put her head on my tummy and let me stroke her for hours. She helped me get through those very dark days.’ Having always had a love of animals and with a desire to work in a caring profession, Kathryn was unsure of how to combine the two, until a chance meeting at a conference with Dr John Hegarty, Keele University’s Senior Lecturer in Psychology, who had founded a care farming social enterprise. He suggested setting up a consultation business on AAT and encouraged her to do the Masters in Counselling Psychology at Keele University. In 2010, HumAnima Community Interest Company was formed with the support of the local Wolverhampton Voluntary Sector Council, a loan from The Prince’s Trust and a grant from UnLtd. Kathryn predominantly works with Flossie, her English Cocker Spaniel but has also run training on AAT in care farming with a range of farm animals. Kathryn says one of her first experiences of seeing the power of AAT in her own practice was with a client who at his first appointment was quite distressed and emotional. At the follow-up appointment Flossie was brought in and the client was able to calmly talk through his feelings while stroking her. Kathryn explains: ‘Being able to stroke Flossie whilst talking about his experiences had acted as a “filter” for his emotions. He didn’t feel the need to cry as he found comfort in stroking Flossie and was able to talk through his feelings’. Kathryn adds: ‘I grew up in a very deprived area of Wolverhampton and having seen the difficulties people suffered, and experiencing financial hardship and mental illness in the past myself, I wanted to contribute back to the community I grew up in. ‘Starting this business was a way for me to share my passion, what I do best, and help others the best way possible and in a unique and profound way.’ As a “more-than-profit-enterprise”, any profits made by HumAnima CIC are reinvested back into the organisation for further development and to help it to continue to support the local community. Counselling clients range from those with mental health problems, to those dealing with depression, anxiety, relationship problems, bereavement, stress, trauma, domestic violence, or significant life changes. HumAnima CIC also offers training courses for counsellors and health and wellbeing practitioners. The next AAT In Counselling course starts on 28th September and there are limited places left.

The only course of its kind

The course is BACP CPD endorsed

For more information: Interviews and images available on request. Please contact Kathryn Kimbley on [email protected]or on 07971933221 Notes to Editors: The AAT In Counselling course is a three day course for counsellors, therapists, health professionals and students. The course will enable participants to – Recognise the benefits of human-animal interaction (HAI) – Develop a basic understanding of Animal Assisted Therapy (AAT) – Have appropriate awareness of safety aspects when considering AAT – Understand the application of AAT within counselling – Have awareness of suitable animal selection, welfare and techniques Activities will include hands-on experience with potential therapy animals, group activities & role play that will help you consider not just the theory but the practicalities of implementing this unique approach. The course costs £349 and a £60 non-returnable deposit is required.