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People and pets

By Ellen Noonan

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This paper, arising out of the personal experience of the author and her colleagues and friends, explores the significance of pets to their owners. Drawing on psychoanalytic and attachment theory, ethology, veterinarians and literature, she suggests that pets may be attachment figures, transitional objects and therapists. Their constancy, along with the inarticulate complexity of the relationship formed, goes some way towards illuminating the intense grief reaction of some owners at their pet's death. Although the media are currently recognizing the importance of pets and the ways that people are irresistibly hooked into a relationship with them, the author is perhaps suggesting that they may also be a source of understanding for counsellors and clients in the consulting-room. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2010 APA, all rights reserved) (journal abstract)

Publication Title Psychodynamic Counselling
Volume 4
Issue 1
Pages 17-31
ISBN/ISSN 1353-3339
Publisher Taylor & Francis
DOI 10.1080/13533339808404167
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Attachment behavior
  2. Interspecies interactions
  3. peer-reviewed
  4. Pets and companion animals
  5. Psychoanalysis.
  6. Transitional Objects
  1. peer-reviewed