Well, it’s certainly been a long time coming. HumAnima CIC has been sitting in the nest, being nurtured, incubated and prepared to fledge and take off. I didn’t know whether and when it would happen. Now I know that it is, excitement is setting in mixed with a healthy dose of a reality check that’s screaming at me to put my administrator’s “head” on and knuckle down to the hard slog that this is going to require. If anything, I’m prepared to work hard.

HumAnima CIC is a social enterprise that will exist to provide a unique counselling service for people in the local area. What is unique is the availability and application of an approach known as Animal Assisted Therapy or A.A.T. Whilst I have had some people question me with a very bemused look, this has occasionally been verbalised with “What?… You give dogs a massage?”. Nope.

The Delta Society, which is the largest organisation which certifies therapy dogs in America, provides a formal definition of Animal Assisted Therapy:

AAT is a goal-directed intervention in which an animal that meets specific criteria is an integral part of the treatment process. AAT is directed and/or delivered by a health/human service professional with specialized expertise, and within the scope of practice of his/her profession.

AAT is designed to promote improvement in human physical, social, emotional, and/or cognitive functioning [cognitive functioning refers to thinking and intellectual skills]. AAT is provided in a variety of settings and may be group or individual in nature. This process is documented and evaluated.”

(From Standards of Practice for Animal-Assisted Activities and Therapy)

http://www.deltasociety.org/Page.aspx?pid=320

Whilst I recognise that this approach may not suit everybody, it will be a unique addition to more traditional humanistic counselling approaches that I offer – Person centred and Solution Focused counselling.

HumAnima CIC originated from my wish to combine my passion for animals with my passion for helping people. I spent many years in my youth wandering this way and that, doing qualifications ‘x’ that would enable me to help people and qualifications ‘y’ that nurtured my love of animals. It all came together though in 3 particular steps. Step 1 – the Professional Certificate in Animals and Horticulture as Therapy, Step 2 – my Foundation Certificate in Animals and Horticulture as Therapy and finally the “biggie”… Step 3 – a Masters in Counselling Psychology during which I focused on “Counsellor attitudes and experiences Towards incorporating Animal Assisted Therapy into Practice”. All three contributed and shaped my decisions to finally create a social enterprise that will continue to combine these two passions of mine.

I could write several books about how all this came about, and I will admit that I have bored more than a few people with that story. Think of Trusty in “Lady & the Tramp” saying “As my grandpappy, Ol’ Reliable, used to say… I don’t recollect if I’ve ever mentioned Ol’ Reliable before?” with little Jock replying “ye, ye have, laddie. Frequently.”… and you’ll get the general idea! But I’ll leave those stories for another day.

Jock & Trusty

Things are finally (having taken their time…) slowly but surely coming together. Proposals for business are out and I hope to be advertising for business within the next month. The website is in the process of being built and hopefully content will be being uploaded at the end of next week. Some capital has been accrued and eyes and ears are open for networking and “mingling” opportunities (which I just love!!).

Flossie, who you will soon be introduced to, more formally as my “Co-therapist” is presently sound asleep on her bed in the kitchen. Dinky, (understudy and co-therapist in the making…) is also snoring away but under the kitchen table as I write this.

Now that we are within the new financial year, we can keep our fingers, toes and paws crossed that we’ll get off to a good start with some promising new business relationships! Please wish us luck!

If you’d like to find out any more about HumAnima CIC or what I do, please feel free to email me at info(at)humanima.co.uk

The website is due to be launched this month some time, technology and time willing so please bear with me!