Bregman Medical Group | Services

Emotional Support Animal Letter

What is an Emotional Support Animal Letter?

There is no doubt that pet animals help provide joy and comfort to humans. In fact, research shows that our interactions with our animal friends help increase the level of the hormone oxytocin in our bodies, allowing us to feel less stressed and more relaxed. In the mental health community, people struggling with certain mental health conditions get relief and support from their own emotional support animal provided through a proper and valid ESA letter.  

Therapist for Emotional Support Animal Letter Near Me

There are licensed therapists or mental health professionals who prescribe an emotional support animal letter if, after thorough evaluation and diagnosis, they see that their clients will gain significant relief from their condition’s symptoms (such as certain types of phobia or social anxiety). However, it is important to note that there have been controversies in the past for people exploiting the process of getting an ESA letter even if they don’t necessarily need one. That is why it is important to search for a legitimate therapist for emotional support animal letter. One can say that the regulations for providing ESA letters may still be improved and therapists are ought to be careful in prescribing them.

It is also important to note that ESAs are not needed most of the time. For the majority, therapy with a mental health professional already provides all that they need to help cope with their mental or emotional condition.

What is Emotional Health?

Our emotional health involves how we manage our feelings and emotions. Emotional health is part of our overall health - our thoughts affect our emotions and our emotions affect our behavior. Research also shows a link between people’s emotional and physical health. Emotionally healthy people are able to manage their thoughts and emotions well even when they are faced with everyday stressors and challenges. The ability to control our emotions helps us not to feel overwhelmed easily so that we can work productively and live in harmony with others. This does not mean that we feel happy and relaxed all the time, but having good emotional health means that we can keep our stress levels in check and remain resilient when we are faced with problems. Being emotionally aware can also help us realize when we need professional help.

Stress is not necessarily a bad thing, and when you feel emotionally distressed, it doesn’t mean that you are bad at managing your emotions. There are healthy ways that you can practice so as not to be overwhelmed by your emotions, or if you feel like you need therapy, a good therapy and treatment plan will help you develop the coping skills you need to get back on track.

Therapy for Emotional Health

Bregman Medical Group is staffed with licensed psychiatrists and mental health professionals who provide therapy for your emotional and mental health concerns. If you think you or someone you know need therapy, reaching out to a psychiatrist will be the first step towards your emotional healing.

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Emotional Pet Support: What is it?

As its name suggests, emotional pet support is an animal (usually dogs) that provides emotional support to a person who has been diagnosed with certain mental health conditions. Having emotional pet support can be very helpful in alleviating symptoms of specific phobias, such as for people diagnosed with agoraphobia. ESAs can also help alleviate symptoms of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorder, or other stress-induced conditions.

Unlike for service animals, there is no such thing as an emotional support animal registration database. If you think you need an emotional support animal, you will just need to speak with your licensed psychiatrist and request an ESA letter. Your licensed psychiatrist or doctor should be able to properly evaluate if an emotional support animal is helpful to your certain condition. An Emotional Support Animal will not need an official certificate to register - the only legal requirement is the ESA registration letter.

Emotional Support Animals vs. Service Animals

Emotional support animals are different from service animals. The key difference lies in their training - ESAs are pets who mainly provide emotional support to their owners and do not undergo any form of training to do so; while service animals are animals that work and perform specific services for the benefit of a person with a disability. The Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) defines service animals as dogs that are trained to perform tasks for a person’s specific disability. ESAs clearly do not fall under this definition.

Service dogs can help by guiding blind people as they navigate on their own or providing signals when there are sounds to people with hearing disabilities. There are also psychiatric service dogs that undergo extensive training to work with people who have some form of disability due to their mental illness. For example, these trained dogs can detect the beginning of a psychiatric episode and help ease the effect, they help remind their owners to take their medication, or provide pressure on a person suffering from a panic attack. Psychiatric service dogs can also help people who have autism by warning them of overstimulation or signaling any cues. The ADA recognizes psychiatric service dogs who are trained to help their owners with their mental illness.

Another difference is that service dogs are given more accommodations compared to emotional support dogs. Generally, service dogs can be present to accompany their owners in any public area while ESAs aren’t allowed to do so.

Emotional Support Dogs vs. Therapy Dogs

Therapy dogs are different from both emotional support animals and service animals. While therapy dogs also provide comfort and affection, they are different from ESAs because they are volunteers in a clinical setting. While ESAs help their specific owners, therapy dogs visit hospitals, mental health clinics, schools, and nursing homes to provide comfort to multiple people. They volunteer together with their human partners who are also usually their owners. Since therapy dogs meet a lot of new people every time, they are trained to be friendly with strangers and to remain calm and comfortable in new environments.

Similar to emotional support dogs, therapy dogs are not considered service animals by the ADA.

Emotional Support Animals vs. Working Dogs

ESAs are also different from working dogs. As you know, working dogs are trained for a practical purpose and perform specific tasks to assist their human companions who don’t necessarily have a disability. A popular working dog is the border collie who is great at herding cattle, bloodhounds who are used in search and rescue activities, and canines who help work for the military and police. In addition, scientists have also researched the help of dogs’ exceptional sense of smell to detect cancer and allergies.

Emotional Support Animal Rights

While emotional support animals are not considered service animals and therefore are not granted the same federal rights of service animals to access facilities, ESAs are still given certain accommodations. For example, in accordance with the Fair Housing Act, ESA owners are exempted from paying “pet fees” or pet restrictions in housing where animals are not allowed. ESAs are also covered under workplace and education laws which means they can join their owners in their place of employment or school such as in non-pet-friendly college dorms or houses.

Requesting a Psychiatrist for Emotional Support Animal Letter

The responsibility of providing documentation that would allow individuals to have an emotional support animal live with them is not taken lightly. The psychiatrist should carefully determine if living with an emotional support animal might provide the client with some relief from the disability based on the accompanying symptoms of their emotional or psychiatric disability. In addition, the psychiatrist should evaluate if the client has the ability and desire to properly care for the animal or whether the client’s impairment is severe enough that an animal would be neglected or harmed.

6 Ways to improve emotional health

Aside from ESAs, here are six great strategies that we can use to help improve our emotional health:

  1. Adopt a positive outlook - when we adopt a positive outlook by focusing on our blessings and the things that we are grateful for, we feel better about ourselves and our lives. Let us also remember not to be too hard on ourselves when we face setbacks. Instead of fixating on our mistakes, we must forgive ourselves and learn how to improve moving forward. After all, no one is perfect and you deserve credit for the good things that you have done.

  2. Manage your stress - we encounter many stressful situations and some of them we cannot control, but we can practice ways to minimize our stress. For example, we can get regular exercise and eat a well-balanced diet to feel physically energized. We can practice relaxation techniques such as deep-breathing exercises, or we can set a to-do list when we know that we have a busy day ahead of us to help keep things organized. Doing little things like these that are within our control helps us cope with our stress better.

  3. Get enough sleep - aside from regular exercise and a healthy diet, getting enough sleep will make us feel well-rested and prepared to face the activities of the day. Sleeping well has plenty of benefits to our overall well-being so investing in a good bed and making your bedroom conducive to sleeping will create wonders for your emotional health.

  4. Strengthen your relationships - humans are social beings, so keeping healthy and strong relationships with your family, your friends, and social groups can help you cope with stress. Having good social support can also help us get through difficult times easier when we know that someone truly cares for us.

  5. Practice mindfulness - sometimes we are overwhelmed because we live life on “autopilot” without really thinking about how we are. When we practice mindfulness, we direct our focus to the present moment only. Taking deep breaths or going for a walk outside are good practices to help us be more mindful of ourselves and our surroundings.

  6. Coping with loss - coping with loss is one of the most difficult things to do. The grieving process takes time and even if it’s hard, don’t be afraid to ask for support or to share your grief with your family and close friends. If you need additional support, there are grief support groups that you may join, or you can talk to a therapist to help you cope with loss.



Do I qualify for emotional support animals?

Not all qualify for an emotional support animal. One must be diagnosed with an emotional or mental disability that makes it difficult for them to function well. Your mental or emotional disorder must be assessed and diagnosed by a licensed mental health provider. In addition, not all patients benefit from emotional support animals, and the psychiatrist should be able to check if the client can take care of themselves enough to take care of their emotional support dog as well.

Why do I need a doctor or therapist to prescribe an emotional support animal letter?

Having an ESA letter from a licensed mental health professional is proof that your emotional support animal is legit. A random website claiming to offer an ESA letter cannot make this happen. You would need to go to a state-licensed therapist to get the document. Additionally, a client-provider relationship should also be established.

How do I get an ESA letter?

Beware of ESA letter online scams as there are many fraudulent websites claiming to provide ESA letters that are not backed by licensed practitioners. Make sure to get the legitimate ESA letter online by only requesting it from your trusted therapist or licensed psychiatrist who has already performed a proper evaluation of your condition. It is important to follow a strict evaluation process and for the psychiatrist to contact the patient several times to get more information if getting an ESA would truly be needed by the patient. A standardized evaluation can also often determine if an animal possesses the appropriate stamina and temperament to serve as an emotional support pet.

Emotional support dogs can play a big role in the recovery and management of people with mental health disorders. So, when people misrepresent a pet as an ESA just to obtain special rights, they are undermining other individuals who genuinely need proper emotional assistance from their pets.

Is having an emotional support dog effective?

Emotional support dogs have quickly become important parts of the mental and emotional health system, as they provide valuable comfort and relief from the symptoms of certain emotional disabilities. There is research that shows our interaction with our pets increase the levels of the hormone oxytocin in our system which can inhibit the production of stress hormones.

ESA Letter in Coral Gables, FL

If you think you need therapy for your emotional health, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. Our licensed mental health professionals can provide a personalized treatment plan to help you on your way to recovery.

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By BregmanMD | February 07, 2022 | Mental Health

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