By Jan Luther, Master EFT Practitioner
Over the years I have had the privilege of assisting clients as they work through virtually every form of grief. Often overlooked is the deep and debilitation grief that can come from the loss of a family pet.
I want to share some typical themes you might encounter when assisting a client with the loss of a beloved pet.
The client may be surprised by how deeply they feel the loss. I would suggest you begin there.
Tap simply for:
Even though I cannot believe how much I ache and hurt for my pet, I deeply and completely love and accept myself. (Use the pets name as much as possible as this too will help them heal the trauma.)
Second I might suggest you tap around any fears that others will not understand or that others will not be supportive of their grief process as it was “just a pet.” Occasionally they will have already experienced someone mocking them for the way they are handling the loss so of course tap for any actual incidents of being misunderstood.
Some tapping starter phrases might be:
Even though people just don’t understand how much I loved my pet, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though they may mock and be harsh or intolerant over my loss, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though, they may not have loved a pet like this, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
Even though it’s hard for me to honor the depth of my ability to love a pet, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.
The client may have memories of other experiences when they were also judged or misunderstood for their feelings. Clients often find that by processing their pet-loss grief they open windows on self-imposed restrictions around being true to their own emotions and feelings.
I share personal belief with my clients that love is love and whether they have 2 legs or 4 legs, it hurts to lose a companion. We often hear that our pets love us unconditionally; I believe that it is truer that our pets allow us to love at our most unconditional best.
We are fully open with our pets even if we may hold back around friends for family. Clients who seldom touch others or seemingly never play or tease people will cuddle and play with their pets openly.
I believe that for some people, pets allow us to reach a level of companionship that we rarely if ever accomplish with other humans. While this exchange of love is wonderful when we have a living pet to extend it to we may feel as if we have lost that part of ourselves when the pet passes.
Some tapping themes I would suggest:
Missing loyal companion and comfort
Missing dependable. Always there for me
Missing never judging me. The unconditional love
Missing that part of me.
I teach about the effects of this “left over love” in my book Grief Is Mourning Sickness. I expound on my personal opinion that we feel the literal physical pain of grief because our hearts are bulging with the love we are now left holding that we wish-like-anything that we could still extend to our now missing loved one.
The third theme with pet loss is that it will bring up any number of other losses and often “pseudo-losses.” For example, one client was planning to start a business many years prior to the pet’s death and when the business opportunity crashed they didn’t realize that they were still ‘grieving’ the loss.
In this case the business was never really born so it couldn’t really die in the typical sense, but it was the loss of a dream, a vision and no doubt intense investments of hours and planning. The client had done what we often do and simply tried to forget the dream and move on.
The passing of the beloved pet brought up this and other times in their past when they had felt similar pain and may have neglected to address it as grief.
A final theme that I would like to touch upon is that of dealing with the haunting memories after a pet has passed. Just as we may have mental movies playing of a lost person, we will often find our mind doing what I call “the spotlight search” for the lost pet.
There are shadow memories where we imagine that we hear them barking or meowing. We may have regrets around decisions we made in our relationship with our pet. Times when we did or did not do something that affected our pets comfort level.
Each of the memories can be blessed and healed very simply by applying EFT.