Pet Loss Grief Support Animals in our Hearts  Animal Communication Teresa Wagner
  • The best way to learn the language of another species is as a social partner.

    ~Conrad Lorenz

Workshops & Events

Understanding Trauma and Post-Trauma Stress--
Including How It Impacts Loss and Grief

trauma image



A 3-part teleclass: 8 total hours
(with additional hours of pre-class assignments)

or LIVE?

This is an on-demand teleclass to take anytime, at your convenience.
The MP3 recordings received with this purchase are from a live class which include the questions, comments and interactions of the participants with the instructor.


$199  includes:
• 8 hours of digital audio recordings of each class session
• 115 pages of detailed handouts.
At check-out, you can choose to pay over 6 months with no interest.


Click here to purchase

This is a required class in the Animal Loss and Grief Support Training and Certification Program. If you wish to take this class for credit in the program please see Certification Requirements and This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



Teresa Wagner, M.S., Program Founder and Stephanie LaFarge, Ph.D., Senior Director of Counseling Services, ASPCA  

Anyone in a role of helping and supporting others--humans and or  animals--who want to better understand and help with trauamtic loss or other trauma, understand post-traumatic stress, its symptoms and a detailed review of treatment modalities. The class is particularly helpful for grief support practitioners, animal communicators and caregivers, healing arts practitioners, or counselors and therapists who may want to increase their understanding in this area.

TESTIMONIALS (click to view)


Participants who complete this class acquire a solid, psychological understanding of trauma, traumatic bereavement, post-traumatic stress, complex post-traumatic stress and the reactions and symptoms involved. They will also gain a greater understanding of how their own trauma experiences impact their effectiveness in helping others and learn effective psychological and energetic tools to support others who have been traumatized.

The class process includes presentations, dozens of handouts of information and exercises, discussion, and reading material and private exercises to complete between class sessions.

Trauma can make us feel like we have lost our footing and our place in the world. A life that once felt safe, normal or rewarding may now seem fragile or like a lifeless vacuum. Nothing may seem the same. Life as it was may be gone. Our sense of security may have disappeared. It can make us feel afraid and even terrorized. A cherished, fundamental source of love may have been stripped away. Traumatic loss can make us feel unhinged, ungrounded, paralyzed, unsure, unsafe, vulnerable, alone, and wondering why the rest of the world goes on while we question whether we can. Some forms of trauma, such as abuse, can create deep-seated, unconscious beliefs that we are unlovable, unworthy and that life may always be in some ways unsafe.

Helping people and animals with trauma requires a special sensitivity to their unique needs, an understanding of trauma, as well as an ability to remain not merely loving and compassionate, but calm, highly empathic and fully present no matter how intense the clients’ pain, no matter how frenzied or off center their energies may be or how disturbing their stories may be to your heart.

Effectively supporting people and animals who are in trauma requires knowing when to help them stabilize and cope and when to guide them to go more deeply to heal. It means always knowing that no matter what healing tools we have in our repertoire of expertise, our ability to gauge what the client needs at any moment must precede offering tools, and that building and maintaining trust is foremost. While this is true in all helping relationships, it is crucial with those in trauma.

The work of internationally recognized trauma specialists Judith Herman, M.D., Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph.D., Babette Rothschild, M.S.W., Edward K. Rynearson, M.D. and John Wilson, Ph.D. have been incorporated into the content of the class. A detailed list of further reading and resources list is provided for future reference and learning.

Trauma quote

Session One:

Understanding Trauma Conceptually

  • Definitions: Trauma, Traumatic Bereavement, Post-Traumatic Stress,
Complex Post-Traumatic Stress, and Secondary Traumatic Stress/Compassion Fatigue

  • Symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress and Factors Impacting Severity
  • Types of Traumatic Death and Responses to Traumatic Death

  • Risk Factors for Traumatic Bereavement
  • Factors Influencing the Grief Experience and Possible Complicated or Traumatic Bereavement
  • Understanding the Trauma of Special Circumstances of Loss and Unique Needs of Grievers
  Sudden, unexpected or violent deaths
 Multiple losses

 Missing Animals

 Moral dilemmas
  • An Energetic Chakra View of the Impact of Trauma

  • A View of Trauma from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs
  • Trauma With a Net? Trauma Without a Net?
  • Potential Positive Effects of Exposure to Trauma

  • Differences Between Coping and Healing

HelperWholeness Quote

Session Two:

Understanding Trauma Personally

  • Examining our Personal Trauma Histories

      Exercise: My Personal Trauma Profile
      Building acute awareness of these experiences, how we responded, how our lives were
        impacted, what beliefs we created from the experiences, what has been
        actively addressed
 in healing and what may still need healing attention
  • Understanding and Recognizing How Our Own Trauma Experiences Impact Our
      Effectiveness in supporting others--both positively and potentially negatively
  • Generalizing: The Harmful Use of Self-Awareness of One’s Healing Experiences
      Assuming what worked for us will work for others and imposing that as “help”
  • The Double Duty Role of Helpers:
      Being fully present and empathic with clients

      Being fully present and empathic with our own issues and alert to which may be triggers
  • Preventing and Dealing with Personal Triggers and Countertransference

      Becoming alert to our very real and natural reactions to client personalities, information and stories
  • Planning For and Committing to Ongoing Self-Awareness and Self-Care


Trauma class quote - Version 2

Session Three:
Helping Others with Trauma

Who We Are and What We Bring to the Client and the Helping Relationship

  • Understanding the Intersection of Who We Are with Who the Client is and Their Trauma--
      Sensitivity to differences and creating common groud to communicate
  • The Four Elements of Effective Facilitation of Helping:
  Offering Love and Compassion, Energetic Boundaries & Ethics, Empathic Inquiry
  & Response, before Offering Specific Strategies and Tools
  • Willingness and Ability To Be Present With Intense Emotional Pain and Stories of
      Others without Recoiling, Denying or Diminishing Their Pain,
      and/or Feeling Compelled to Swiftly Fix or Stop Their Pain
  • Being Absolutely Scrupulous About Not Judging What May Be Traumatic for Others,
  or Reframing Their Pain or Situation From Our Perspective or
      Value System and Imposing Our Personal Views
 onto Them
  • Being Calm in the Face of Another’s Emotional Frenzy, Meltdown or Shutdown


Offering Specific Tools and Resources

  • Critical Incident Debriefing
  • Differences Between Coping and Healing & The Importance of Trust and Stability FIRST
      Tending to stability and trust--both in the relationship and for the client
  Symptom management for needed temporary relief and functioning
      Addressing root causes for long term healing
  • Encouraging the Telling and Re-Telling of the Trauma
      Holding the space for the traumatized person or animal to express all that may need to be expressed

      Remembering that logic can be irrelevant in the height of trauma or post-trauma stress and to not force logical perspectives onto clients
  • Listening, Listening, Listening with Skill and Purpose
      Empathic inquiry to learn their story, their feelings and thoughts

      More empathic inquiry to gently ask for clarity when needed
      Empathic response to let them know you’ve been listening and attempting to understand
  • Specific Tools to Offer or Refer When Relevant and When Client is Interested
      EMDR, EFT, Flower essences, Journaling, Art Therapy, Books; Classes, Therapists
  and Healing Practitioners
  • Knowing When and How to Refer to a Therapist
  • Handling Comments About Suicide
  • Case Scenarios: How Would You Respond to this Person or Animal in Trauma?
  • Summary of Do’s and Don’ts To Provide Safe and Effective Trauma Support
  • Further Resources



 The class was very thorough and thoughtfully put together. Teresa has a unique gift for teaching others how to help those suffering from life traumas. This is not easy work, as there are so many delicate layers involved, but Teresa breaks it down in a way that is easy to digest and put into practice.
~ Lorraine K,  Fallston, MD

So much rich information.  I learned many new things. I do believe this class has both deepened and created shifts in awareness. I feel that I learned some really helpful ways to work with clients in trauma. Especially in languaging. For me, it helped me have ways to stay neutral, present and open. And how to gracefully work with "curve balls"--situations that start out as one thing and shift into something else during the session. This was a fantastic class! I will definitely use the materials again and again. I would recommend this course to others. As always, Teresa is a wonderful instructor/guide/facilitator, Dr. Stephanie LaFarge was probably the other highlight for me. I enjoyed the program, and wish it was longer :).
~ Julie L, Madison, WI

I learned that the situations I thought of as "just life" were actual traumas deserving of healing, not just coping. Loved the exercises and referrals. Opened me up to understanding how we can be traumatized and all of the various methods of healing. I am in awe of Teresa’s knowledge of both clinical and healing arts worlds and I have never met a more empathetic, loving person...and adore her love of animals!

~ Henriette A, Palm Desert, CA

The class gave me insight into myself and knowledge of other ways to help myself and others.
I now have more resources for myself and for further healing so am more effective in helping others.
~ Linda K, Willits, CA

The exercises that focussed on our own trauma were extremely helpful. They not only helped me to recognize the degree of trauma I've experienced in my life (both minor and major), but also enabled me to view the trauma from the place of a compassionate witness rather than becoming entrenched in the past experiences or memories. This created an overall feeling of space and compassion for myself and all I have been through, rather than judgment. The class also helped me recognize how my personal traumas could impact my work with my clients, both in a positive way (from a place of compassion because I, too, have experienced trauma) and in an unhelpful way (if my own traumas have not been resolved).

It helped me get even clearer about the importance of language, tone, what is said, and how it's said when helping clients with trauma. Being aware of the the importance of softness of voice; using language and questions that empower rather than lead/direct the client; helping the client to feel safe and supported; and being aware of the importance of being fully present for the client were all helpful reminders.

My most significant learning from this class was the importance of ensuring that the client feels empowered, heard, supported and safe.
 The handouts were superb! I appreciate all of the time and energy that were put into preparing such detailed, well-researched and professional handouts. I loved the quotations that were included. The handouts contained a wealth of helpful information and will be an excellent resource for me to refer back to. I found these very helpful, especially the examples of what might be said to a client. it was really helpful to see the different types of possible responses and to look more closely at why some were more appropriate than others.

Teresa is a superb teacher and communicator. She compassionately holds the space for class participants and has a beautiful way of expressing her thoughts. She is non-judgmental which makes participants feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts, feelings and opinions.
~ Dixie G,  North Vancouver BC  Canada

This class was amazing, very powerful. I learned so much about trauma, grief and the ways to address this in helping others.  The quality, scope and depth of this class was far beyond what I had expected (and I had high expectations!) They were a wealth of knowledge that I could not have found anywhere else. The quality, depth and breadth of the material was Ph.D level...and I was so happy to have it.  Handouts were invaluable.

I learned that trauma and post trauma stress has many layers and components. and how trauma's effects can create a sense of disempowerment and disconnectedness for the person.

It was very helpful to understand that working thru my own issues is very important. You can be accidentally triggered by things you might hear....and how to stay present with the client and then deal, later, with your own reactions to this, with a friend or mentor.

This class was a wonderful, multi-faceted learning experience for I want more ! And it was, by the way, so wonderful to be around very evolved people who love and respect animals...the energy was very healing for me, just being around that. I think that this class opened a whole new world of things for me to learn. It not only taught me many new ways to look at trauma and loss, but also I learned the critical factors needed to have a successful client/helper interaction around this subject.

Teresa, is a treasure...her energy and beautiful spirit is on a level I seldom get to experience. The way she set up this class, and taught it, was comprehensive, on a very high level, very clear and was not just a 'class' but also a very powerful experience for me. It simply would not have been the same without her. She is a rare breed of highly developed intellect and a truly evolved soul that I was honored to spend time with.   Bless you for all you do for the animals Teresa. You are truly one in a million and we are all very lucky to be able to share in your wisdom and insight on animals and on ourselves. I also got so much out of the insights and comments of the other people who were on the line. And although we only got to scratch the surface with Stephanie LaFarge, she was a wonderful addition to the course as well.
Stephanie was excellent. She showed us a glimpse of the terrible and wonderful world of helping animals and responders.  It’s not often that we get the opportunity to spend time with someone of her experience and caliber in the animal advocacy field.

I could go on and on...I learned so much about trauma and about myself and the individual animal beings we share our lives with.  Five stars!....definitely I would recommend this to anyone I know in this field.
~ Faye T, Miami, FL





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