Other News

Pets grieve too

Recognizing the symptoms of missing a departed owner or pal

July 23, 2013|By William Hageman, Tribune Newspapers
When a family pet dies, people grieve. But the reverse is also the case: When you go, your dog, cat or rabbit may grieve over losing you. And when a pet dies, a surviving pet may take it worst of all.

Pet grief exists. It’s not the same as the grief a person experiences nor is it as deep. It’s not present in every case. But it exists in ways recognizable to us.

The most evident manifestations of grief are a loss of appetite, social withdrawal or the frequent revisiting of places that were meaningful, according to Barbara J. King, a professor of anthropology at Virginia’s College of William & Mary who specializes in animal behavior.

King, the author of “How Animals Grieve” (University of Chicago Press), says that in some cases an animal’s response to a death can be explained by the pet being in tune with the surviving people in the house.

“We know with dogs, they’re so tuned in to our gestures and facial expressions,” she says. “There’s fascinating research that they’re more attuned than chimpanzees are, and chimpanzees are supposed to be the end-all and be-all of cognition. The problem comes in when some animal grief gets dismissed (on that basis). … The depth of an animal’s response and the length it lasts seem to go beyond responding to people in the home.”

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did a still-quoted behavioral study in 1996 to gauge the degree of pet responses to the death of another pet. The survey asked about changes in eating habits, sleeping, vocalization, solicitation of affection and more.

In both cats and dogs, the survey found, the category showing most change was solicitation of affection. In dogs, 34 percent demanded more attention, 12 percent sought less, 24 percent became clingy/needy, 4 percent avoided contact with their human. Only 26 percent were unchanged. In cats, 38 percent sought more attention, 8 percent sought less, 20 percent became clingy/needy, 10 percent avoided contact, 23 percent remained unchanged. (Figures were rounded off.)

Eating habits showed considerable change, with 36 percent of dogs and 46 percent of cats eating less than usual following the death of a housemate. The observed decreased appetite lasted from less than a week to six months.

In their conclusion, the researchers wrote, “we can assure pet owners that signs of grieving are not uncommon in dogs and cats.”

“I don’t want to say dogs grieve, cats grieve, horses grieve,” King says. “I say some dogs grieve. Sometimes people contact me and say (they) had two dogs and one died and the other didn’t grieve — why not? It’s animal individuality … the survivor’s relationship to the dead, the survivor’s personality. Sometimes animals recover quickly or do not grieve at all, but I think they grieve for us.”

Grief isn’t limited to cats and dogs, King found. “It was very surprising to me how much rabbits grieve. Ducks too. There was a duck rescued from a foie gras factory who had a duck friend die, and it didn’t survive the friend’s death. There can be a slow decline and death.”

If you suspect a pet is grieving, provide extra attention and love for your pet. King also suggests letting the survivor see the body if possible.

“Lots of animal people on farms and in homes do this now,” she says. “Sometimes the survivor seems to get a sense of closure. You have two close pets, friends, one goes to the vet and … doesn’t come back. … If it’s possible, let them smell the dead animal, see it. It might help. Or get a clipping of fur from the animal at the vet and let the survivor smell it.”

Bringing a new animal, a young animal, into the home has been shown to rejuvenate an older pet. But in the case of grieving, it might be best to let things run their course.

“Animals do love,” King says, “and we know one of the risks of love is grief.”


Chicago Tribune Article

Art Therapy, Other News, Psychology

Color Therapy & Healing – An Introduction

From Art Therapy Blog

It is everywhere you look, and everywhere you don’t look. You delight in its marvels both consciously and sub-consciously. You see color all the time, but how often do you think about its origins and effects? In a series of articles, we are going to explore this topic further. With this first article, we’ll go over some basics of color therapy and healing. You can read the next 2 articles here: 1) Color Meanings and 2) Color Psychology. You can also download our color meaning and symbolism charts.

Topics covered in this article:

  1. What is Color?
  2. An Introduction to Color Therapy
  3. A Brief History of Color Therapy

What is Color?

As most of you know, color is light and energy. Color is visible because it reflects, bends, and refracts through all kinds of particles, molecules and objects. There are a variety of wavelengths that light can be categorized, producing different types of light. Visible wavelengths fall approximately in the 390 to 750 nanometre range and is known as the visible spectrum. Other wavelengths and frequencies are associated with non-visible light such as x-rays & ultraviolet rays. Most people are aware of the effects of non-visible light, so it makes sense that visible light would also affect us.

One example of the way light can affect us is a mild form of depression known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), which causes many people suffering during winters.

An Introduction to Color Therapy

Color therapy and healing (also known as chromotherapy or light therapy) is a type of holistic healing that uses the visible spectrum of light and color to affect a person’s mood and physical or mental health. Each color falls into a specific frequency and vibration, which many believe contribute to specific properties that can be used to affect the energy and frequencies within our bodies.

While it is common knowledge that light enters through our eyes, it’s important to note that light can also enter through our skin. Given the unique frequencies and vibrations of various colors, people believe that certain colors entering the body can activate hormones causing chemical reactions within the body, then influencing emotion and enabling the body to heal.

Colors are known to have an effect on people with brain disorders or people with emotional troubles. For example, the color blue can have a calming effect which can then result in lower blood pressure, whereas the color red might have the opposite effect. Green is another color that may be used to relax people who are emotionally unbalanced. Yellow, on the other hand, may be used to help invigorate people who might be suffering from depression. (We’ll dive deeper into specific colors in a future article.)

Alternative therapies also believe that a person’s aura contains different layers of light which can be used for cleansing and balancing. Knowing the colors in your aura can help you better understand your spirit, and thus help you better understand how to heal. Additionally, the colors surrounding you can also have various effects.

A Brief History of Color Therapy

It’s no mystery that the sun and its source of light (or lack thereof), can have a profound effect on us. Thousands of years ago, some countries began exploring color and its healing capabilities. Egypt, Greece and China are known for their forays into color healing and therapy. A few examples include:

  • Painting rooms different colors with the hopes of treating certain conditions.
  • Utilizing colors in nature in their surroundings (blue from skies, green from grass, etc.)
  • Healing rooms that utilized crystals to break up sunlight shining through.

There is evidence of people attempting to use color for healing and therapy from as far back as 2000 years. And it has gained in popularity throughout the years, with numerous books being written about it, including Johann Wolfgang Goethe who studied the physiological effects of color. As we mentioned though, many people are skeptical about using color and light for healing or therapy.

Stay tuned for upcoming articles over the next few weeks where we’ll introduce color meanings and symbolism, how we see color, and the various effects of specific colors.

Does color affect you? Let us know in the comments.


Creativity and Solitude – Qoute

“In order to be open to creativity, one must have the capacity for constructive use of solitude. One must overcome the fear of being alone,” wrote the American existential psychologist Rollo May.

Other News, Psychology

18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently – ReBogg

By Carolyn Gregoire

Creativity works in mysterious and often paradoxical ways. Creative thinking is a stable, defining characteristic in some personalities, but it may also change based on situation and context. Inspiration and ideas often arise seemingly out of nowhere and then fail to show up when we most need them, and creative thinking requires complex cognition yet is completely distinct from the thinking process.

Neuroscience paints a complicated picture of creativity. As scientists now understand it, creativity is far more complex than the right-left brain distinction would have us think (the theory being that left brain = rational and analytical, right brain = creative and emotional). In fact, creativity is thought to involve a number of cognitive processes, neural pathways and emotions, and we still don’t have the full picture of how the imaginative mind works.

And psychologically speaking, creative personality types are difficult to pin down, largely because they’re complex, paradoxical and tend to avoid habit or routine. And it’s not just a stereotype of the “tortured artist” — artists really may be more complicated people. Research has suggested that creativity involves the coming together of a multitude of traits, behaviors and social influences in a single person.

“It’s actually hard for creative people to know themselves because the creative self is more complex than the non-creative self,” Scott Barry Kaufman, a psychologist at New York University who has spent years researching creativity, told The Huffington Post. “The things that stand out the most are the paradoxes of the creative self … Imaginative people have messier minds.”

While there’s no “typical” creative type, there are some tell-tale characteristics and behaviors of highly creative people. Here are 18 things they do differently.

Read more about “18 Things Highly Creative People Do Differently

Creative Living - Reflections, Qoutes

Creative Power – Alfred Adler

“This creative power is a striving power; this creative power can be seen in different views, in the power of evolution, in the power of life, in the power which accomplishes the goal of an ideal completion to overcome the difficulties of life.” – Alfred AdlerHeatherCamera

Creative Living - Reflections, Psychology

Both Picture and Artist

Both Picture and Artist.

Are we a product of our environment? Or is our environment a product of our perceptions?  Sure when we are born into this world we are at the mercy of the environment and people in our lives.  Naturally we began by depending on others for shelter, nourishment and love. However, we are not a blank slate.  We enter this world with words of good intention written on our soul that will be instrumental in shaping our personally.  As our world becomes bigger and we become influenced by other social groups like school and friends we begin to realize how we could influence the outcome of our world, sometimes by trial and error.

We can take the skills we have learned from our family to navigate through our world, which can be good or bad.  All events that have helped in shaping our world have had a positive outcome.  No matter how horrible the event there is always something positive to hold on to that helps get us through.  Sometimes the positive is hard to find but if you look, you will find it.   As adults we have to remember we are in control and can make change happen.

Focusing on doubt, loss, or failure only creates more of the same.  You are in control of how you live your life, of how you perceive your world, and how you tell your story.  Live your life with your in born good intentions, not with the doubts you gathered along the way.  Retell your edited story.  Forgive or understand yourself for hurting others, and others who hurt you.  Learn to let go of holding the pain of others; it is not yours to carry.

The world we experience is the world we have created for ourselves.  By knowing this we can make changes.  First, you have to retell your story more positively and with understanding. Focus on the language you use daily. Secondly, you have to believe it to be true.  Believe that you can find a partner that does not end in divorce or believe you can have a successful career.  The more you can focus on your good intentions and desires in this world and not your worries and doubts you will discover more success and happiness.

Art therapy can be instrumental in training the brain, our emotions and our beliefs about our personal perceptions of the world to more favorable outcomes. There are lessons to be learned in the darkness. Finding a balance with our light and dark aspects of our personalities will help find everyday balance.

English: Alfred Adler Česky: Rakouský lékař a ...
English: Alfred Adler Česky: Rakouský lékař a fyzioterapeut Alfred Adler (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To quote Alfred Adler, “The individual is thus both the picture and the artist.  He is the artist of his own personality, but as an artist he is neither an infallible worker nor a person with a complete understanding of mind and body; he is rather a weak, extremely fallible, and imperfect human being.” (The Individual Psychology of Alfred Adler, 1956. Ansbacher & Ansbacher)

Art Therapy, Family Therapy, Psychology

creative coaching

Why Creative Coaching for Parent and Child?
In a recent Newsweek article creative ability was said to be declining in U.S. Schools

Art of Counseling works with all ages to build creative problem solving  skills through  numerous learning experiences and resources.
Seven Ways to Increase Creative Ability:
1.    Reduce Screen time
2.    Get Moving
3.    Follow a Passion
4.    take a break
5.    Explore other Cultures
6.    Close the suggestion box
7.    Don’t force it -Let it Flow
Key features of Creativity Coaching:

Children’s multiple symbolic expressions
•    Creativity coaching uses the arts as  symbolic language through which to express understandings of both the creative parent and the creative child
•    Consistent with Dr. Howard Gardner’s notion of schooling for multiple intelligences, Creativity Coaching calls for the integration of the graphic arts as tools for cognitive, linguistic, and social development.
•    Presentation of creative problem solving exercises in multiple forms such as print, art, construction, drama, music, puppetry, and shadow play. These are viewed as essential to children’s understanding of experience. 

A creativity portfolio is kept to document the process
•     Documenting and displaying the children’s project work, which is necessary for children to express, revisit, and construct to reconstruct their feelings, ideas and       understanding
•     Pictures of children engaged in experiences, their words as they discuss what they are doing, feeling and thinking, and the children’s interpretation of experience through the visual media are placed in the portfolio as a presentation of the dynamics of learning..

The role of the environment
•    Environments teach  and enhance creativity in children. Try-color Coaching helps create the best environment
•    The aesthetic beauty within the home and school is seen as an important part of respecting the child and their learning environment
•    An atmosphere of playfulness and joy is encouraged

Connie Gretsch