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The Power of Pets

Greetings everyone. Let me introduce you to my two adopted stray cats named Ghost and Gingy. Both were street-roaming kittens, but they are now living in a loving home. They provide me and my family with a lot of comfort, security and love.

Public concern for mental health issues might be increasing due to the imposed confinement as a result of the current Coronavirus pandemic. The state of being stressed and anxious is common. It can be marked by “feeling constantly under strain, loss of sleep over worry, and feeling unhappy and/or depressed” (Heck et al., 2014). Elevated and persistent stress contributes to these feelings as though we don’t have the resources to cope (Robotham & Julian, 2006).

Since I am a pet owner, I have had first-hand experience of the immediate joys that animals bring into one’s life. Sometimes we are not even aware of the physical and mental benefits that these furry companions give us. Pets have evolved to become attuned to the behaviour and emotions of humans. For example, my cat is attuned to my tone of voice, body language, sleeping patterns and gestures. Funnily enough, Ghost acts as my alarm clock, as he wakes me up in the morning to go to work. Pets can reduce stress, anxiety and depression, ease loneliness and even encourage playfulness, creativity and exercise. In addition, pets add real joy and unconditional love to our lives (Wood, Ohlsen, Thompson, Hulin & Knowles, 2018).

Most pet owners are vocal about the great joys that come with welcoming companion animals into their lives. However, many of us still remain unaware of the physical and mental health benefits that go hand-in-hand with the pleasure of snuggling up with a furry friend.

Social isolation has thrown us into a scenario where we now miss human touch. However, pets can help us satisfy this basic human need. Stroking, hugging or otherwise touching a loving animal can rapidly calm and soothe us during episodes of stress and anxiety. The companionship of a pet not only can ease loneliness but for example, many dog breeds are a great stimulus for healthy exercise, which can substantially boost our mood and ease depression.

An animal’s companionship can offer comfort in one’s own home, as well as build self-confidence for people anxious about going out into the world. This is because pets live in the moment and don’t worry about what is going to happen next.

I would like to emphasise that we can learn an important lesson from our little, unassuming friends. That is, don’t kill yourself with worry, as long as you take all the necessary precautions to safeguard yourself and your family.


  1. Heck E, Jaworska N, DeSomma E, et al. (2014). A survey of mental health services at post-secondary institutions in Alberta. Can J Psychiatr, 59, 250.
  2. Robotham D, Julian C. (2006). Stress and the higher education student: A critical review of the literature. J Further High Educ, 30, 107–17.
  3. Wood, E , Ohlsen, S , Thompson, J, Hulin, J & Knowles, L. (2018). The feasibility of brief dog-assisted therapy on university students stress levels: the PAwS study. J Ment Health, 2018; 27(3): 263–268.
Maria Mifsud

About Maria Mifsud

Maria graduated with a Bachelor of Psychology (Hons) in 2008, then went on to read for a Masters in Probation Services at the University of Malta. After years of being part of the Government workforce, she realised that to better understand her clients and be more equipped, she had to further her studies by enrolling in a Masters in Systemic and Family Psychotherapy with IFT-Malta. Some years later, she continued to pursue her studies in Clinical Supervision with IFT-Malta. Maria is also a qualified Victim Offender Mediator.

TherapyPacks Terms and Conditions

1. TherapyPacks come in bundles of 5 or 10 sessions. Prices of bundles:

  • 5 sessions – €270 – must be utilised within 3 months from date of purchase
  • 10 sessions – €520 – must be utilised within 6 months from date of purchase

2. Bundles are not transferable. This means they cannot be used by, or gifted to, anyone else but the person whose name is listed as the TherapyPacks bundle holder.

3. Bundles which are purchased for Couples Therapy and Family Therapy can only be used by members of the couple or family with one therapist. If members of a couple or family decide to take up individual therapy with another therapist, the bundle will only apply to sessions with the therapist originally referred and cannot be also used for the individual sessions with another therapist. Exceptions will be made if the original therapist is unable to see the client or family and the couple or family are referred to another therapist. After referral, the same conditions will apply.

4. Bundles are valid for a limited time period, as listed above. This means that the bundles will expire once the respective time period has elapsed. Any sessions not utilised within this period will be lost. This means that a refund will not be given for unused sessions. Start date commences on date of purchase of bundles.

5. Bundles are only valid for full price sessions (charged at €60) and not for sessions with trainee psychotherapists, reports or assessments.

6. Full payment needs to be made on purchase, via bank transfer, cash or credit card.

7. Management reserves the right to terminate or suspend the use of the bundles. Reasons for such are at the discretion of the clinic.

8. Refunds or extensions of time period within which bundles may be used is at the discretion of management and will only be granted in exceptional circumstances.

9. Management reserves the right to modify or replace the terms and conditions. In such circumstances, clients will be given adequate notice and time to adhere to such.

10. The clinic’s cancellation policy is applicable also to bundles. Late cancellations or no shows will result in the forfeit of a session within the bundle allocation.

11. Responsibility for ensuring timely use of session bundles remains that of the TherapyPacks bundle holder or, in the case of a minor, their carer/legal guardian.