What is an Emotional Support Animal (ESA)?
An ESA is a well trained dog or other common domestic animal that provides therapeutic benefits to its owner through companionship and affection. This animal acts as a significant support for their owner whose illness limits them in their level of functioning in one or more major area of their life.
Emotional Support Animals differ from registered service animals because they only require the same amount of training as a well trained pet whereas service animals are required to go through extensive training and are allowed everywhere. An Emotional Support Animal has to be well behaved and not a danger or nuisance to other people or animals.
What conditions can qualify?
Emotional support animals have been proven to be extremely effective at helping to relieve symptoms from a number of disabilities. This includes:
- Depression and other mood disorders
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
- Panic Disorders
- Social phobias
How to I receive an ESA prescription?
As an LCSW, Kim is able to evaluate you for an Emotional Support Animal prescription. She will conduct a face to face (in person or via video) assessment to evaluate if you qualify for an ESA. The assessment is to evaluate if you meet the criteria for a Diagnostic & Statistical Manual 5th edition (DSM-5) psychological diagnosis. Based on the results of this assessment, if you qualify, Kim will provide you with a written ESA prescription.
Please note: Emotional Support Animals can help mitigate symptoms and increase functioning, however, ongoing counseling is an integral component of continuing your healing when dealing with any mental health issue.