Research & Practice
American Psychological Association
The Section on Animal-Human Interaction: Research & Practice, of Division 17 on Counseling Psychology of the American Psychological Association, is dedicated to professional and scholarly activities that advance the understanding of animal-human interactions as they relate to counseling psychology. AHI addresses:
- 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
- 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.
Arizona State University is one of a handful of universities throughout the country with courses specifically pertaining to animal abuse. Animals are an integral part of the lives of many of the clients that human service professionals serve. This may be in the form of violence to other animals as well as other family members, or as companions and/or therapeutic supports.
This program focuses on the current significance for understanding human-other animal relationships in four areas: 1) other animals as family, 2) other animal abuse, 3) the link between non-human animal abuse and other forms of violence such as domestic violence, child and elder abuse, and 4) other animals across the human life span including the powerful potential that positive connections with other animals have for healing and promoting resiliency in human beings while at the same time benefitting the non-human animals (i.e., companion animals and other animal-assisted interventions).