Emotional Support Animal Certification

When dealing with the stress of human life becomes difficult, sometimes there’s nothing better than to spend time with a beloved animal. Many animals provide emotional comfort, whether that’s through their companionship, the soothing nature of petting or holding them, or the nurturing nature of the relationship. However, Emotional Support Animals are more than just pets – they’re legally recognized as being integral to your mental health and wellbeing.

What is Emotional Support Animal Certification therapy?

Emotional Support Animal Certification therapy describes the therapeutic relationship developed between a client and therapist, where the therapist certifies the client’s need for the emotional support of an animal. Therapists who provide Emotional Support Animal Certification work with clients to develop a clear picture of the client’s mental health. When appropriate and after a complete assessment, therapists provide a certificate that recognizes the needs of their client to have their animal companion with them in typically animal-free environments.

Emotional Support Animal Certification regulations are different in each state. It’s important to know your state’s policies around Emotional Support Animals. Some settings also have unique rules about animals, even those that are Emotional Support Animals. This includes restaurants, airports and flights, or rental properties.

What happens in an Emotional Support Animal Certification session?

In Emotional Support Animal Certification, the therapist will complete a comprehensive assessment of the client. This includes asking questions about mental health, physical health, social relationships, work or school stress, and more. The therapist will ask specifically about the client’s presenting issue such as depression, anxiety, or compulsive behaviors. The therapist will also ask questions about the client’s relationship with their animal companion, including how the animal helps with the client’s mental health symptoms.

Some states require that the client establish a long-term relationship with a therapist before they’re eligible for an Emotional Support Animal certificate. This could look like seeing the therapist for a specific number of sessions or seeing the therapist for a set length of time.

For many, therapy that involves an Emotional Support Animal Certificate is not solely for the purpose of receiving the certification. Clients work with their therapists to develop greater coping skills, explore their symptoms, process through difficult situations or memories, grow their healthy communication skills, and more. Therapists who specialize in Emotional Support Animal Certification will utilize other therapy modalities to support their clients’ mental health journeys.

What can Emotional Support Animal Certification help with?

Emotional Support Animal Certification therapy may result in receiving an official status for your animal, allowing you to find comfort in otherwise stressful or overwhelming situations. This is particularly useful for individuals who suffer from anxiety and depression, including those who experience panic attacks or become distressed in social settings. However, Emotional Support Animals are also helpful for clients who suffer from chronic pain, substance abuse, PTSD, OCD, or those going through major life transitions.