011: How To Handle Difficult Emotions In The Veterinary World w/Erin Allen


Veterinary medicine is no doubt one of the most emotionally taxing professions out there and the need for support within the community and for our patients & clients is massive. Erin Allen spends every day in the thick of it, whether it is advocating for patients or debriefing the staff, she is always there to be of service to anyone who needs help in navigating the emotions and stresses of this field.

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Show Notes: 

Erin Allen is a clinical counselor at the Argus Institute at Colorado State University where her days are spent supporting clients, clinicians, nursing staff, and students while still maintaining her own wellbeing. She spoke about the importance of self care and work/life balance, how to keep compassion fatigue at bay, and how to identify those emotional triggers that can sometimes stop you in your tracks.

We also get very honest and real with the high suicide rate that plagues our industry, what to look for in terms of red flags in colleagues and friends, how to open up the conversation when you feel someone may be suicidal, and how to handle a situation where you may be the person someone comes to when they need to discuss those feelings. These situations are not easy but it is extremely important that they are discussed openly and with frankness.

What do you do for self-care? How are you managing your work/life balance? Leave us a comment below!

In this episode:

  • What scenarios are typical to a clinical counselor in a veterinary hospital or clinic?
  • Tips on dealing with the many emotions we encounter on a day to day basis in both ourselves and others
  • How to keep compassion fatigue at bay
  • How to identify emotional triggers and deal with them in a healthy manner
  • Why debriefing is so imperative to the overall mental health and wellbeing of a hospital or clinic
  • How to identify red flags of someone who may be suicidal and how to broach the subject


“I need to be in a people focused role in my life and so for me my heart was kind of drawn to the other side of the table so the human/animal bond, the people who brought their animals in and what they were going through. Little did I know that was what I was going to do.” (7:33)

“We don’t often get that much time with clients prior to perhaps that decision but we are involved as a source of support when people or families are making those decisions and just helping them navigate that experience. It’s an honor for me and it’s hard to watch somebody go through such an emotional experience but to be able to help them through that and have them, hopefully, at the end of it, not have any regrets.” (16:59)

“You get tight with your clients and when you suffer a lot of losses, it takes a toll because you’re not trained how to separate, how to pull yourself back and be able to say, ‘okay I am going to focus on them and then I’ll focus on me’, and have that balance. (53:27)


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Argus Institute

Argus Institute Pet Memorial

Argus Institute Path of Honor

Not One More Vet: Support For Veterinary Professionals

Suicide Hotlines - 1-800-Suicide (1-800-784-2433) National, 1-800-273-Talk (1-800-273-8255) National, 970-221-2114 8-5pm &  970-221-5551 after hours and weekends in Fort Collins


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John Arnold