Emotional Support Animal Therapist

In the past few years, emotional support animals have become increasingly popular. For those that are considering adding these support animals to their mental health treatment, there are a few questions to ask. How do I get an emotional support animal? Where can I take my support animal? If these kinds of questions have crossed your mind, then keep reading and see what you need to know about getting an emotional support animal!

How Do I Get One?

The first step in acquiring an emotional support animal is to see a licensed therapist or psychiatrist and get a letter of approval from them. Any therapist or psychiatric professional will do, but there are emotional support animal therapists that specialize in this area, so they are more willing recommend patients for this treatment.

Alternatively, there are some doctors that can provide this letter as well. Certain emotional support animal doctors are qualified to write these letters, as they have done research on the benefits of an emotional support animal.

Regardless of where you get your letter, it should include some key information.

You are currently a patient of the professional
You are under their care for treatment of a mental disorder or disability that can be found in the DSMV IV or v
Your disability/disorder hinders your everyday life in at least one major way
They have prescribed an emotional support animal as part of your mental health treatment

Once the letter has been written, you are cleared to get an emotional support animal and enjoy the benefits that come along with that. But how far do those benefits go, exactly?

Housing

The good news is that the aforementioned letter can allow you to legally have housing in a place that does not allow pets, and still have your emotional support animal without paying any additional pet fees. This also applies to exclusions of size, breed or species that would otherwise disqualify your emotional support animal.

While there are many ways that a letter from your emotional support animal therapist or emotional support animal doctor can help your housing situations, there are some key exceptions to be aware of.

The following places do not have to allow you to stay with your emotional support animal:

Buildings containing 4 or fewer units where your landlord lives in one of the units
Single family housing that was sold without the use of a real estate broker
Hotels and motels, as they are not legally considered a private dwelling
Any sort of private club

Housing is one of the main concerns for people that receive emotional support animals, so it is important to know your rights. There is another concern; can you fly with your emotional support animal, even if the regular rules do not allow it?

Flying

More good news! Your rights to fly with an emotional support animal are completely protected by the law. All that you’ll need to do is have the following information ready:

Explain that your pet is an emotional support animal to any airport staff
Have an emotional support animal patch on your pet or its cage
Have a photo ID card stating that your pet is an emotional support animal
A document stating that your pet is registered as an emotional support animal
The letter from your therapist stating your need for an emotional support animal

Once all of these qualifications are met, you are all set! Oftentimes you will not asked to show all of this information as long as you have one or two pieces, but it is always best to be prepared!

Reasons for Refusal

Emotional support animals come with a lot of benefits for those that need them, so you want to be sure to get one if you’ll need it. While it is uncommon for most people to be denied, there are a few reasons that can contribute to a professional not being willing to recommend an emotional support animal for you.

1. If the professional does not believe that your need is genuine, they may not recommend an emotional support animal. This can be avoided by being as open and honest with your professional as possible about your symptoms and needs.
2. If your disorder does not limit one major part of daily life, a professional may not write you a letter of recommendation.
3. Not all professionals know about emotional support animals. This means you may need to find a new psychiatric professional.

There you have it! Everything that you could need to know about the benefits of an emotional support animal and how to qualify for one. If you feel that this could help your current treatment, speak with your mental health professional!

Animal Therapist