Seminars and Workshops

Vanessa is an experienced educator who provides informative, tailored, and inspiring seminars and workshops on a variety of topics to the animal industry. Topics include resilience, wellbeing, compassion fatigue, burnout, secondary traumatic stress, vicarious trauma, mindfulness, pet loss, animal bereavement, and stress management. As an active member of the scientific community, the information contained in these educational offerings is evidence-based and designed to be engaging.



Vanessa is available for consulting to the animal industry in the areas of wellbeing and mental health. Vanessa will work with you to create evidence-based, tailored best practice strategies to support animal care professionals with the aim of increasing job satisfaction, performance, staff retention, and wellbeing.



Vanessa is a Masters qualified and experienced counsellor and psychotherapist who works with animal care professionals and pet owners. She is a clinical registrant with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA). She brings with her an understanding of the human-animal bond and uses a variety of modalities in her work with clients. She is collaborative in her approach and will take into account your personal circumstances to tailor an approach that suits you best.


Background: Work and Education

Dr Vanessa Rohlf has a PhD with a specialisation in psychology (human-animal interactions) and a Masters degree in Counselling and Psychotherapy. She has blended her knowledge of human psychology and human-animal interactions in a number of previous roles over the last 20 years. These include veterinary nursing, psychology lecturer at Monash University, and animal welfare researcher at the Animal Welfare Science Centre, University of Melbourne. She is a certified compassion fatigue therapist and educator and has additional training and qualifications in EMDR, trauma-informed care, mindfulness, animal bereavement, and suicide prevention. Vanessa is a member of the American Psychological Association, a clinical registrant with the Psychotherapy and Counselling Federation of Australia (PACFA), and a research fellow in the School of Psychology & Public Health at La Trobe University. She also regularly presents her work in peer-reviewed journal articles, as well as international and national conferences.

Vanessa works with a range of animal care industries including animal shelters, veterinary clinics, zoos, and research facilities. She also regularly provides individual counselling and support to pet owners and professional animal caregivers from a range of industries.

Contact Vanessa for consultation


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“We had the pleasure of Vanessa attending our organisation to deliver her talk on Compassion Fatigue to our animal handling/nursing staff. It was like a light went on. The staff were so happy to hear someone talk openly and honestly about the things they have been feeling and ways to cope. Vanessa herself was lovely, very approachable and took the time to talk to the staff individually if they wanted to. She has also stayed in touch and has offered further help if required. I have no hesitation in recommending Vanessa to attend your organisation as it was a highly worthwhile and valuable session.”

HR rep, Animal Welfare Organisation

“I recently attended the Compassion Fatigue seminar, presented by Dr Vanessa Rohlf. Dr Vanessa Rohlf is a brilliant presenter and a highly qualified educator, researcher and specialist in psychology of human-animal interactions.

I believe after attending this informative and extremely well presented and organised seminar Compassion Fatigue can affect anyone working and volunteering within animal organisations. I highly recommend this seminar to volunteers and the staff of animal shelters and other facilities that work with animals and also to management of all animal organisations so they can be better informed how best to assist their staff and volunteers. Attending this seminar has made me personally aware of Compassion Fatigue and also to recognise the symptoms in others and to make me more caring and supportive for my fellow animal carers, Thank you so much Vanessa.”

Wendy-Jane Sheppard, Lilydale, Victoria

Vanessa has had the pleasure of working with the following organisations and groups