LPCC’s and Registered Associates all over California are often asked to provide letters for Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) and the CALPCC Ethics Committee has received several inquiries about the role of clinicians in this process. We affirm that ESAs can provide therapeutic comfort for those with mental health disorders. Although we note that many professional clinical counselors are well trained in providing assessment, treatment, and intervention, many graduate programs and postgraduate training do not provide experiences in mental health evaluation report writing, and in this case, assessment and documentation of the need for an emotional support animal accommodation. While a letter documenting the need for an ESA is not as comprehensive as a comprehensive mental health evaluation report, it does require an appropriate level of competence, understanding both the legal aspects related to prescribing an animal to assist in ameliorating mental health symptoms and also, the ethical obligations that must be considered when doing so.
Daniel Stewart Ph.D., LPCC Committee Chair CALPCC Ethics Committee
Chanel Muñoz Pre-License Graduate Student California State University, San Bernardino