The Section on Human Animal Interaction: Research & Practice, of Division 17 (Society of Counseling Psychology) of the American Psychological Association is dedicated to professional and scholarly activities that advance the understanding of human-animal interactions as they relate to psychology.

As part of Society of Counseling Psychology's (and Counseling Psychology) long-standing commitment to inclusion and social justice, we are continually examining our policies, structures, procedures, and practices to ensure that they align with our values and commitments. More specifically, this commitment remains focused on dismantling anti-Black racism and disrupting how whiteness and white supremacy show up in our division in ways that are known and unknown. This commitment is steeped in the belief that anti-Black racism is endemic to this country, psychology, and the field of counseling psychology and that it is our responsibility to combat the individual actions and structures that perpetuate anti-Black racism, as well as other types of racism, marginalization, and harms that are done to those who are underserved, under-resourced, and rendered invisible.

The American Psychological Association’s Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) Section (Division 17, Section 13) is committed to celebrating the rich diversity of people, animals, and our shared relationships. We strive to provide our membership with accessible, culturally relevant resources and opportunities to contribute. Please let us know where any gaps may exist; we value your perspective and acknowledge that we have much to learn in engaging and elevating the many voices of the HAI fields.


what we address

We address the role of the human-animal bond in empathy development, the ability to form and express attachments, reaction to grief and loss, the challenges of aging, and other developmental passages throughout the lifespan.
We also address the ways in which human interaction with animals promotes health, the role of animal-assisted therapies in prevention and intervention programs in a variety of settings, Violence prevention as it relates to the link between animal abuse and family, juvenile, and community violence, Training programs on topics such as pet grief counseling, assessment and treatment of animal abuse, as well as counseling programs to address the needs of veterinary students, animal shelter volunteers, and animal rescue workers.


Check out our K9 Turbo Training with Katelin

K9 Turbo Training with Katelin

Fear Free webinars

Check out our new Fear Free webinars – presented by Mikkel Becker Fear Free Cooperative Care with Mikkel

2023 AAI Webinar Series

Join us for our monthly AAI webinar – the 1st Thursday of each month at 12 PT/1 MT/2 CT/3 ET Check out the year’s topics HERE


Exciting Upcoming Events

Date Event
Thu, Dec 7, 2023 MST

1:00 PM

Animal Assisted Interventions Webinar Series

Thu, Dec 14, 2023 MST

9:00 AM

In on the Joke: Do Dogs Laugh?

Thu, Dec 14, 2023 MST

3:00 PM

Animal Behavior and Creativity

past webinars

Banks’ research pursuits have included animal-assisted intervention and parental stress factors for psychiatric-hospitalized youth with autism, policy gaps and how they effect sibling caregivers in the United States, and best practices in multidisciplinary work for dually diagnosed youth with autism.

Colleen is a Professor & Centennial Enhancement Chair in One Health and Wellness at the University of Saskatchewan. She has two registered therapy dogs and is training a third who, alongside community and academic partners, are involved in various projects with Colleen and her team. 

Dr. Erdman has conducted research in parent/child relationships and human-animal interaction (HAI), specifically looking at the effectiveness of equine facilitated activities.  She is past chair of the Section on Human-Animal Interaction, Society of Counseling Psychology, & American Psychological Association. 

Joan  initiated the Cincinnati Zoo & Botanical Garden’s ground-breaking Human-Animal Intervention Program by providing Human -Animal Intervention for Incarcerated Teens, At-Risk Pre-Schoolers, and Middle School students with Autism.

Shelly is the author of the chapter, “Understanding Cross-Species Parenting: A Case for Pets as Children” in the book Clinician’s guide to treating companion animal issues: Addressing human-animal interaction.

Clive D. L. Wynne, PhD is a Professor in the Department of Psychology and Director of the Canine Science Collaboratory. Arizona State University. He is also the author of the Dog is Love: Why and How your Dog Loves You.