Phyllis Erdman

CapturePhyllis Erdman, Ph.D. is a Professor in the Counseling Psychology program and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs in the College of Education at Washington State University. 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 chair-elect of the Section on Human-Animal Interaction, Society of Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association. She served as a consultant on a $100,000 NIH grant in 2010-2012 to measure the impact of an equine facilitated program on children’s stress levels and social competence development. She recently completed a study to determine the impact of equine programs on social skill development for children on the autism spectrum and is currently working on a grant funded study to study the impact of interdisciplinary instruction in mindfulness on the clinical communication empathy scores in student health professionals using an equine intervention based on Beverly Kane’s model of Medicine and Horsemanship. She is collaborating with faculty in the College of Veterinary Medicine at WSU to introduce graduate counseling students into veterinary communication skills classes and to build communication skills with counseling and veterinary students. She has also developed a recent webinar entitled “Understanding the Human Animal Bond “and currently serves on the editorial review board for the new peer reviewed on-line publication of the Section on Human-Animal Interaction, Society of Counseling Psychology, American Psychological Association (The Human-Animal Interaction Bulletin). She, along with other WSU colleagues, developed the first human-animal interaction symposium at WSU in October 2013 in memory of Dr. Leo Bustad. Dr. Bustad, who was an outstanding educator, scientist and humanitarian, and is internationally recognized for his pioneering work in the field of human-animal interactions. Among other things he founded the People-PetPartnership, the first university-based community service program on the human-animal bond and was also co-founder and first Chair of the Delta Society (now Pet Partners).