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  • MA(Hons) Psychology from Edinburgh University

  • Diploma in Systems Analysis and Design from Napier University

  • BTEC in Massage, Reflexology and Stress Management

  • Diploma of higher education in Mental Health Nursing with prize for nursing

  • Preparation for mentorship from University of Manchester

  • Postgraduate certificate in advanced practice intervention for mental health - psychosocial interventions for psychosis

  • Certificate of completion for companion animal interventions in therapeutic practice from SCAS

  • CPD workshop in Nature as Co-therapist from Keele University

  • Certificate in Mindfulness Teaching

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Sharon Hall is passionate about sharing the benefits of the human animal bond. She has had a varied career with a wealth of experience to bring to any training course. With an MA (Hons) in Psychology and Postgraduate Diploma in Systems Analysis & Design, she was uniquely placed to progress her career as a business analyst in a mail order company. But her passion for helping people was always been her motivation her; she trained in reflexology and massage while still working in IT. She found people would seek her counsel as well as booking in for therapy. Taking redundancy as an opportunity to advance her passion, she retrained as a mental health nurse. Experience on the wards as a staff nurse in a forensic setting was followed by four years as a community mental nurse supporting young people and families experiencing first episode of psychosis.

It was during this time that she began to focus on the factors that help people to make good recoveries. Good support networks were important but having a passion; belonging to something meaningful and having something valuable to do were also key. It could be a child, a job, a hobby, a sport or a pet. No one therapy could be the one panacea, but animal assisted therapy could be supportive for animal lovers. Following an eight-day course delivered by Society for Companion Animal Studies (SCAS) she became convinced this was the way she wanted to take her approach mental health nursing; to place the focus on behavioural activities inspired by animals as a support for people in their recovery.  Efforts to persuade the managers that this was an amazing way to support clients feel on deaf ears. Cuts to NHS and changes to working practices concerned her, and she took a side step into research nursing. Working one day a week to develop Noah’s ART, she saw for herself the impact of pet therapy sessions on patients in a psychiatric inpatient setting; she was convinced pet therapy could offer a unique adjunct to traditional therapies. She was not alone; many occupational therapists saw the benefits first hand and bookings began to pour in.

Sadly, a series of traumatic events struck, culminating in the loss of both of Sharon’s parents within a couple of years of each other. Throughout this emotionally challenging time, the animals in Sharon’s life provided much needed joy and motivation. But from such sadness, Sharon made the decision to follow her beliefs and set up Noah’s ART on a full-time basis.

The service worked mainly in care homes and within rehabilitation units within Pennine Care NHS FT. But over the last few years a wide variety of projects have been completed