Who Can Write an ESA Letter?
3 min read
There is a lot of confusion around this topic. It comes from two different sources. One is, that American mental health credentials and licensing are somewhat complicated. There are LPC, LCCP, LMHP, LMHC, LCMHC, LCSW, LMFT and probably some more. And not all of them can issue an ESA letter. But the confusion doesn't end there. Another source of it comes from the fact that licenses do not always carry over the state border. Let's try to clarify it once and for all!
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Medical doctors (MD) can write an ESA letter. Psychiatrists, more specifically. However, there is nothing that would bar a general physician from doing so, they just don't do it too often. Private practitioners generally work in their own state under its license (SML), but they often have additional licenses to service people from neighboring states. There is an interesting medical license abbreviated IMLC. It’s getting traction now with over 24 states already recognizing it and more are on their way to do so. Here is the map of IMLC-recognized states. If you happen to live in one of those, then an IMLC doctor can prescribe you an emotional support animal. It’s important to note that a personal assistant of a doctor can write medical documentation on the behalf of IMLC doctor. So, if your ESA letter was written by a doctor’s PA, there is no need to worry, it’s legitimate.
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Licensed mental health counselors. These are your psychotherapists. The name of the license that covers them differs from state to state. It’s usually either a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor (LPCC or LCPC) or Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC). However, there are some obscure names for, basically, the same license: like Licensed Professional Counselor of Mental Health (LPCMH) in Delaware. Any which way it is here is a full list of recognized counseling boards and their contacts. If you have any doubts about the validity of the credentials of your counselor, feel free to contact an appropriate board and check with them.
Licensed psychologists. Yet another subtype of mental health professional. Their credentials should include certification from an official board in your state. You can find the contact through your state government or on the web. Here is a list of boards and their contacts. Most of them also have a lookup available so you can check credentials online.
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Rehabilitation counselors (CRC). These are specialized mental health professionals who specialize in helping patients with disabilities. CRC license is recognized by more than 15 states and the others may consider it on a case-by-case basis. Here is a list of these states.
Licensed Clinical Social Workers (LCSW). These are the mental health professionals who are also trained to deal with other issues that accompany mental conditions as well as the illness itself. Issues like social adaptation family relations, substance addiction and many more. Just as licensed psychologists LCSW’s are getting licensed by the state board.
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Universities and colleges. The requirements are somewhat different if you plan to have an ESA in a college. Technically speaking, college dorms are not subject to the FHAct (the piece of legislation that provides a right to an ESA in housing, among other things). But most colleges and universities do allow ESAs. Though, you would have to go through student resources and students with disabilities resources on the campus. Your ESA letter may be recognized or you may be asked to go through the college psychologist or counselor. It all depends on the school in question so consult with them first.
We hope that this article helped to clarify how to choose a professional with proper credentials. And as to finding one, we suggest you use our service as we curate our roster and offer services in every state. We aspire to make the process of acquiring an ESA letter as simple and bereft of confusion as possible. We also offer a 100% money-back guarantee.