Emotional Support Animals

We get questions about emotional support animals all the time. We love animals (and people). We believe pets can provide excellent support, comfort, and companionship for those of us facing depression, anxiety, other mental health concerns, distress, trauma, disability, newly divorced/separated, or major life adjustments. In a perfect world, we want every human to have an emotional support animal. There are too many animals waiting to be loved and not enough homes.

We are honored to write letters on our clients’ behalf to obtain and keep an emotional support animal (ESA), and at the same time, it doesn’t sit well with us doling out letters without assessing/treating the people who are facing mental health concerns, distress, trauma, disability, or life adjustments. 

Emotional support animals are great, but they are only a part of our overall well-being. Our guideline is to assess and treat the clients for a minimum of 3 50-minutes therapy sessions within a 12-month period prior to issuing an Emotional Support Animal letter.

Who qualifies for an emotional support animal?

To qualify for emotional support animals, you must have verifiable psychological disabilities that substantially interfere with major life activities, such as but not limited to anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, or panic attacks. These symptoms and conditions must be diagnosable under the ICD-10 classification system.

Does insurance cover it?

Your benefits may reimburse the therapy session fees. In order to be reimbursed by your insurance, you symptoms and conditions must be diagnosable under the ICD-10 classification system. Please check with your insurance benefits.

How much is the letter?

The letter processing is free of charge up to three letters as a complimentary service to your therapy sessions. There is a $10 fee for each additional ESA letters should you need more than three. The ESA letter is issued after the third therapy session.

Can I have one letter for all situations?

No. There are laws and regulations regarding this matter. Only one letter can cover a specific situation such as housing or travel. One letter for each situation.

How will you send the ESA letters?

Each letter will be addressed to a single recipient and we will mail the letter(s) directly to each individual recipient.

I live outside of California. Can I get such a letter from the Women’s Therapy Institute?

No. There are laws and regulations regarding this matter. If you live outside of California, please consult with a licensed mental health professional in your state.

How long will it take to send out the letter?

We will draft, finalize, and send with 3-5 business days.

Do emotional support animals need specialized training?

An emotional support animal differs from a service animal. Service animals are trained to perform specific tasks such as helping a blind person walk, while emotional support animals do not require specialized training.

What type of animals can be emotionally support animals?

An Emotional Support Animal can be any animal, with no limitation to type, breed, size or age, and no training requirement. This animal can be acquired by any traditional means including shelters, rescues, and breeders.

Do I only need 3 therapy sessions?

No, let’s be honest, 3 sessions is too soon to complete a mental health treatment.  It is a good beginning for assessment, goal setting, and some coping strategy.

What do I need to do after obtaining the ESA letter?

You are physically, financially, emotionally responsible for your animal. Your pet loves you, unconditionally,  and we hope you would care for them just as much. We hope you would take care of your pet for the duration of your pet’s life.

If you are seeking a letter for an emotional support animal (and support for yourself), please contact us. We care about you, and we want to provide you the best therapeutic support for your well-being.

Call the Women’s Therapy Institute at (650) 272 – 0388 or

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