First, some definitions:   An Emotional Support animal is a type of assistance animal that alleviates a symptom or effect of a disability.  An Emotional Support Animal is more than a pet, and is generally not restricted by species.

After participating in a full Psychological Evaluation with me, I might write you an ESA letter, as part of my detailed treatment recommendations for you.  This letter should be honored by landlords who otherwise have a “no pet” policy; in other words, having an ESA letter means that your animal may live with you to help provide you with emotional support. Please note that participating in a psychological evaluation with me does not guarantee you an ESA letter, even if that is your hope.  This is because I can only legally, and ethically, provide such a letter if the evaluation results support this recommendation.

The ESA letters I write are for housing only.  While, in general, ESA letters might also allow you to travel with your animal, this is only true if you have ensured that your animal is well-behaved, in good health, and up to date with vaccinations.  Traveling with an ESA requires additional documentation that I typically will not complete (see American Airlines for an example), may only apply to dogs or cats, and requires that you are currently participating in ongoing mental health services.  The guidelines differ for each airline, and there may be additional requirements for longer flights.  Therefore, I cannot guarantee that my letters will afford you the ability to take your animal with you on a flight.

An Emotional Support Animal is NOT a service animal.  This means that my evaluations do not evaluate your animal, and my letters do not comment on how well trained your animal is.  My letter will not help you if you want to take your animal into public spaces; and, again, the primary purpose of my ESA letters are for housing only(Service animals, on the other hand, go through a specific training process and are allowed to accompany their person into public establishments.)

There are a lot of websites that charge a lot of money for ESA letters, and some of these are scams.  It is best to see a professional Licensed Clinical Psychologist like Dr. Emily, who will meet with you face-to-face, do a thorough assessment, and, when appropriate, provide you with a valid letter.  In addition, my evaluations provide you with many helpful recommendations and resources, and the report you receive is far more comprehensive and useful than what an online service will provide.  Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns about ESA letters.

Now, for the fun part.  I absolutely love animals, as you might have noticed if you checked out our Animal Therapy Corner.

We give a lot to our animals, and we do so unconditionally.  However, there is something truly beautiful about how they so often give back to us in remarkable ways.  Enjoy some of these amazing examples:

Science Shows Cats Reduce Heart Attack Risk

What is a psychological evaluation?

  • A psychological evaluation is the collection and integration of information on an individual’s functioning, to inform treatment planning. It includes evidence-based assessment measures (interviews, questionnaires, and tests) that are carefully chosen to answer your specific questions and concerns.  It is a therapeutic intervention in that it provides in-depth data that helps you and your treatment team, because you deserve the most efficient, effective, and compassionate care.
  • During a psychological evaluation, you will meet with Dr. Emily Crawford-Thompson, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist, to discuss areas of your life that are puzzling or troubling to you.
  • Dr. Emily will ask you questions about you and your concerns and ask you to complete tasks and questionnaires designed to help you, and help your treatment providers provide you with the best care.
  • A psychological evaluation allows for more accurate diagnosis and treatment, which saves on overall costs for mental health services.