Animal Assisted Therapy

/Animal Assisted Therapy

The Power of Animal Assisted Therapy

I already knew about the power of animal assisted therapy as a friend of mine, Frances Weston, uses her Labrador Tilly very successfully in her counselling sessions.

However, I hadn’t really thought about using an animal in speech and language therapy at all. I was working on a channel 4 programme called ‘Born Naughty’, when I was asked to assess a 9 year old called Honey, who was very anxious. She almost totally trashed the library and was basically a whirling dervish of anger, fear and extreme anxiety all wrapped up as awful behaviour! The producer said that we wouldn’t be able to include her as he could get hardly any useable footage from the first session. I, however, had been given a job to do so wanted to complete it. I wanted to know why she was behaving this way, what were her receptive language skills, had she got social communication difficulties and, above all, had been asked to complete my part of an ASD assessment.

I asked him if we could see her again at Sunshine Barn near Ashbourne where Frances has sheep Bertie and Beatrice, chickens, ducks and the gorgeous Tilly, the chocolate Labrador. Tilly greeted Honey, who at once became relaxed, happy and very compliant. We couldn’t believe it was the same child! I realised then that I needed a therapy dog BUT as part of my HCPC registration must only do activities based upon evidence based practice.

I got myself a beautiful chocolate Labrador called Ralph, who the breeder suggested was very bright as he was naughty and into everything; but didn’t really know where to start to use him in therapy when he was old enough.

Fortunately, Frances recommended a course for counsellors […]

By |December 7th, 2015|Animal Assisted Therapy|0 Comments

Are you a “Cat Person” or a “Dog Person”?

It’s a question I’ve been asked on and off throughout my life. It’s a social question. You know – like, “How’s the weather in your part of the  world?” or “Have you seen the latest Marvel movie?”. How you relate to animals is something most people are curious about, whether that’s because they are cat or dog lovers or whether it is in fact a sly plot to get to meet your own furry friends (Yes, that means it’s a tactic I’ve used in the past… successfully). Our languages and cultures are suffused with animals from the stories we tell to our little ones – metaphors and life lessons in sheeps’, wolves and any other furry, feathered or finned clothing – down to the role that they play in our everyday lives. Knowing which animals people like, helps us get to know other people’s personalities.

You have the sayings – metaphors, idioms or similes – such as “fighting like cats and dogs”, “raining cats and dogs”, “working like a dog”, “strong as an ox” and “flogging a dead horse” for example. Some references are positive and some, not so positive but throughout our language you can find references to animals in one way or another. Animals feature heavily in myths and legends and you only have to take one look at any Disney film and you’re sure to find animals galore!

But what about our own personal preferences? I’ve been asked many a time whether I consider myself a “cat person” or a “dog person” and every single time, without fail, I’ve found myself stumped by that question. In all honesty, I’d be more likely to consider myself a “dolphin person” but then I’m not about […]

By |July 25th, 2014|Animal Assisted Therapy, Human Animal Bond|0 Comments

Birdwatching with Biff – What’s the fascination?

Hi, my name is Alexander and I am a very keen birdwatcher.

I started at the age of 5 and now after several years I have become an encyclopaedia of knowledge, ranging from characteristics of birds to their general colourations. For the past two years I have managed to rack up my bird count to around 210 birds, which for a teenager isn’t to shabby!

Since the start of my birding career they have had a huge impact in my life and have made each walk along the beautiful Cornish coast a whole lot better. My Grandma and Granddad used to take me down a valley called Kenidjack and pointed out simple birds such as the blackbird and robin however, now the matriarch of the group has changed.  I have gone that step further and have learnt the key identification notes and also where to find them!

But why bird watching, what is it about looking at our feathery friends that is so exciting? The simple answer is the unpredictability of it! In other words with a computer game the script can never change but with birds you never know what comes around the corner whether it’s a Robin or a bee-eater, you can never predict it.

Recently it has had a profound effect on every member of the household, with my Mother getting up at 5 in the morning most Saturdays to go ringing and on holiday my sister gets woken up by my alarm! With birding you have to show real commitment to your practice. For example if you want to find the most beautiful bird in the world you don’t wait for the bird to come to you, you go to them. Effort is the true […]

By |June 2nd, 2014|Animal Assisted Therapy, Human Animal Bond|0 Comments

Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling Summer Residential course 2014


It is with great pleasure, we can announce the summer dates for our next Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling course! We’ve already had several enquiries and a few places have already gone! This is going to be a fabulous experience especially as we will be hosting the course at the beautiful Nature & Nurture CIC HQ in the stunning Derbyshire countryside!

Please be aware that places are limited to a maximum of 14. Suggestions and recommendations for accommodation will also be available. (Course fee does not include accommodation)

If you would like to find our more, you can download the course brochure here and the booking form here and email me at [email protected]

You can also download the course flyer by clicking on the image below.


When is a Rabbit, not a Rabbit?

We’ve all grown up around the endless children’s stories, myths, legends and fables with animals as their heroes, villains, guides and companions. No matter the cultural background, animals abound. Children have an innate affinity for animals; perhaps down to Biophilia, an innate tendency or love of nature, as defined by E. O. Wilson (1984), suggesting this love, this connection is part of biology, genetic make-up and is in fact in-built. Perhaps that is why it is so easy for children, young people, adults and older people to relate to most things concerning animals – whether that be a conversation or an interaction.

What were your favourite stories with animals whilst you were growing up? I have always loved all the different animal stories as I was growing up. Stories where the animals could speak to us and we could be understood back were always a favourite and classic tales such as Brer Rabbit from Disney’s “Song of the South” have stayed with me throughout my years.

A popular “tool” though has always been the fable – Aesop’s Fables being perhaps the most well-known. Who hasn’t heard of “The Hare and the Tortoise” or “The Fox & the Crow”? Most people are familiar with them and of course there are morals and lessons to be learnt behind these wonderful stories. (If you aren’t familiar with these wonderful tales, I can highly recommend them!) Depending on how you read them you may take away one lesson or more; in “The Hare and the Tortoise” you might end up considering “more haste, less speed” or, as it was for me “slow but steady, wins the race”. There are a number of different interpretations and different people will perceive and interpret different […]

Unique Wolverhampton Organisation Working With Animals To Help Vulnerable People


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

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 […]

By |September 20th, 2013|Animal Assisted Therapy|0 Comments

Busy, busy Beeeeee!!!

Well, as usual it’s all happening here at HumAnima CIC! There being only one of me, I’m having to really choose wisely where I focus my attention and as I have learned, multi-tasking simply divides your effort and efficiency! So better to put 100% in at each area than 50% in two!

But what have I been up to? Well, as some of you may know (those who are subscribed to our monthly newsletter) our one of a kind “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” course is now CPD endorsed by the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP). This means that the course is recognised as contributing towards an individual’s “Continuing Professional Development” so this really demonstrates just how valuable the course is.

Our next course is taking place in a few weeks time, and will be kicking off on Saturday 28th September at the lovely Linden House in Wolverhampton. There are a few places left so if you would like a copy of the brochure or would like to join us then please email me at [email protected] and I will email you. But do hurry as places are limited and I wanted everybody to be prepared for all the excitement and learning you will experience on this amazing course!

I’ve also been working on a new partnership I’ve developed with a fellow Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador – Scott Adams of Exotic Zoo CIC. They’re based in Telford and have a spiffing array of friendly, unusual, curious and intriguing exotic animals that include armadillos (I will admit they’re my favourite but shhh! Don’t tell the meerkats, Immy & Amara!), snakes, tenrecs, skunks, frogs, fruit bats and other weird and wonderful creatures! Granted not all are suitable for therapeutic […]

By |September 17th, 2013|Animal Assisted Therapy|1 Comment

NEW WEBINAR – “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling”

I have great pleasure in announcing that our new webinar series “Animal Assisted Therapy in Counselling” will be starting Friday 1st February at 19:00 (GMT)!

This first webinar is ABSOLUTELY FREE!!

During the session, we will look at the basic definitions, concepts and ideas behind Animal Assisted Therapy & the closely related Animal Assisted Activities. At the end of the session you will have an understanding of the differences between these two terms, which are often confused and misused!

I will also be talking about what you can look forward to in the next 5 weeks of our webinar course! (Subsequent sessions are priced at £15/ $25 and are payable via Paypal. Those attending all subsequent 5 webinars will be refunded £10 after their completion.)

If you’d like to join and find out more about this amazing field, please register below:

I look forward to welcoming you on the course!

Kathryn & Flossie

By |January 8th, 2013|Animal Assisted Therapy|0 Comments

There’s no time like the present!

Well it’s been far too long since I updated the blog but the diary has been chocka block for quite a few months! Finding the time to have a bath has been challenging and I felt that the general public would approve more of an ‘abluted’ representative for HumAnima CIC rather than a frazzled one!

Where to begin though! I’ve had several meetings with a few organisations to discuss the possibility of working with them to deliver courses and therapy programmes. Finance continues to be an issue for the majority of them but there are a few who know that it is wise to invest in NEW opportunities especially in hard times like these and so 2013 will hopefully include new partnerships and collaborations with some really forward-thinking organisations!

Perhaps I should have started with our biggest achievement of 2012 though…? In November I put in an entry for HumAnima CIC for the Social Enterprise West Midlands Awards. I entered us into Prima award, which was the award for innovation. It was a very short turnaround time for shortlisting and notification but we were quickly informed that we had been shortlisted! Now to be shortlisted, was an achievement in itself as we were up against many other entries (I can’t remember the exact number. Must check!) so that put a smile on my face. Unfortunately, the date of the award ceremony clashed with a previous engagement I had to deliver a Pets As Therapy visit but thankfully I was able to rearrange that for February. On the night in question, our category had 4 entrants a few of whom I was already aware of and knew were fantastic and indeed innovative social enterprises! It was an honour […]

A Helping Paw!

Check out an article I wrote for the brand new Holistic Magazine (P56-57). This great new magazine is the brainchild of Holistic Directory Founder and magazine editor, Sophie Jewry. The Holistic Directory is one of the fastest growing directories of holistic services in the UK.

A Helping Paw