What is your professional background?
I am currently a Licensed Marital and Family Therapist who works with adolescents in an inpatient residential mental health hospital. Those kids are currently working on dealing with anger and depression issues. I have also worked with couples and individuals in need of therapy in outpatient, office-based therapy.
What do you enjoy about your job?
I enjoy the variety each day and love to get to know others better. I enjoy being able to see them grow and recognize their own accomplishments, empowering them to continue their growth on their own.
Emotional Support Animals letters have been a wonderful addition to my practice as it gives me the opportunity to speak with others about how their pets are able to help with stressors in their lives.
What are the steps to get an ESA Evaluation?
When looking at the steps for and Emotional Support Animal (ESA Evaluation), the individual would need to go online to ESAregistration.org and place an order for what they feel best describes covers their needs. They will fill out pre-screening information online as well. Once they book online, an ESA evaluator will contact them at the time they have requested and will talk them through up to a 20 minute phone call to determine if that person meets criteria for an ESA.
What can a person expect during an ESA Evaluation?
During the phone call with the mental health professional, the client can expect to review some of their pre-screening information over the phone as well as answer self-report questionnaires about generalized anxiety and depression symptoms. The evaluator will be able to tell you by the end of the phone conversation if you meet criteria.
It is important for the client to have those 20 minutes set aside so they can concentrate on their responses. It is also important for the client to recognize that we may be asking some sensitive information, and that they may not want to be in a public area while answering those questions. The client may qualify for the ESA letter should they present with significant symptoms of anxiety or depression that is limiting to one or more daily life activity.
It would be beneficial for the clients to understand not all people may qualify as it is based on self-reported symptoms. I encourage clients to know this prior to the assessment, as it is not automatic that one should qualify simply because they have an assessment completed.
What type of ESA letters are offered on the site?
For the letters themselves, should the client wish to have a Travel and Housing Letter combined, and they find they qualify for the letter, the mental health professional will send a single letter with both described in the one letter. Although the criteria and assessments are the same for either letter, some may find they only need one rather than both. They can purchase the letter which they find they are needing the most. The Housing letter never expires and does not need to be renewed. For those who request and qualify for the Travel letter, they would need to renew annually, and the dates of that letter are good from one year to the day of the phone assessment.
How is the ESA Letter delivered to the client?
Upon completion of the phone assessment, the mental health professional will email the letter in pdf format within 24 hours to the email address the client provided on their pre-screening information. This letter may be printed out and used immediately. Should the client not qualify, the mental health professional will send a follow-up email with information on how to contact a local mental health therapist. Some people requesting Travel Letters also find later that they need an additional letter filled out, by the mental health professional, from the airline. This does not apply to everyone and we encourage the client to check with the individual airlines of their choosing to see if they need this "Reasonable Accommodation Form" from the airline. If this is necessary, the client may contact ESA to pay for processing the form. Again, not every airline requires this, so check before you fly.