Archive for the ‘Emotional Support Animal’ Category

An ESA letter can be written by a licensed healthcare professional who understands your mental health needs. This is required by federal housing guidelines and state laws, which state that an ESA letter is not valid unless it comes from the right kind of provider. 

An ESA letter allows you to live with your pet in a place where pets are usually not allowed. It’s important to get the letter from the right source so you can be confident that your pet has a home. In this article, we’ll tell you who can write an ESA letter and who cannot. 

Professionals Who Can Write ESA Letters Social Workers Therapists (psychologists, psychiatrists, counselors) Primary Care Physicians Nurse Practitioners Social Workers

Social workers are professionals who help people deal with various life problems, including mental health issues. Licensed clinical social workers (LCSWs) can write ESA letters. They are trained to understand mental health conditions and can determine if an ESA will benefit you. 

Social workers are a popular source for ESA letters, especially for vulnerable members of the population. 


Most people get an ESA letter from a therapist, who can write ESA letters. Therapists, like psychologists, psychiatrists, and counselors, are mental health professionals who diagnose and treat mental health disorders. 

Therapists have a deep understanding of mental health and can provide a thorough evaluation to determine if an ESA is right for you. If you are seeing a therapist for therapy, they can provide the necessary documentation for an ESA.

Primary Care Physicians

Primary care physicians can write ESA letters. PCPs often know their patients well and can understand their mental health needs. If you have a good relationship with your primary care physician, they can evaluate your situation and provide an ESA letter if they believe it will help your mental health.

Keep in mind, however, that most ESA letters are not from PCPs. They more often come from therapists and professionals who are more focused on a person’s mental and emotional well-being, like licensed therapists and social workers. 

Nurse Practitioners

Nurse practitioners (NPs) can write ESA letters. NPs are advanced practice nurses who can provide many of the same services as doctors. NPs are trained to assess and treat various health conditions, including mental health issues. 

If your NP is familiar with your mental health needs, they can provide you with an ESA letter. However, not all nurses are trained to recommend an emotional support animal for their patients. 

Professionals Who Don’t Write ESA Letters

Not all healthcare providers can write ESA letters. Here are some who cannot:

Chiropractors: Chiropractors focus on physical issues, like back pain, and are generally not trained in mental health. They cannot write ESA letters. Physical Therapists: Like chiropractors, physical therapists deal with physical rehabilitation and do not have the training to assess mental health for ESA letters. Dentists: Dentists specialize in oral health and are not involved in mental health care. They might technically be qualified to write ESA letters, but they will usually not do so since it is outside their field of expertise.  Nutritionists: Nutritionists specialize in diet and nutrition and do not have the training or licensing to address mental health conditions. They cannot provide ESA letters.

No matter who you get your ESA letter from, it’s important to ensure the person writing your ESA letter is qualified and understands your mental health needs. If you’re seeing a new provider, you can ask beforehand whether they are capable of writing ESA letters. You can also get an ESA letter online remotely through a telehealth consultation. 

Get Your ESA Letter

Social workers are qualified to write an emotional support animal (ESA) letter. Here are the reasons why.

The Legal Reason Social Workers Can Write ESA Letters

Under HUD’s guidelines for emotional support animals, you must get an ESA letter from a licensed healthcare professional. The term “licensed healthcare professional” encompasses a wide variety of mental health professionals. For example, doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, and nurses can write ESA letters. 

As licensed professionals that assist in client mental health, social workers can write ESA letters. HUD has even specifically named social workers as being allowed to write ESA letters in previous guidance

Some states also have their own rules that allow social workers to write ESA letters. For example, under Illinois law, an ESA letter can come from “a mental health service provider” or “a non-medical service agency or reliable third party who is in a position to know about the individual’s disability.” 

Social Workers and Mental Health 

Social workers are highly trained professionals who aim to improve the well-being of individuals, families, and communities. After earning a Master of Social Work (MSW) degree, they must complete supervised work experience and pass a national test to obtain licensure. 

In the mental health field, social workers assess and treat individuals with emotional and mental disorders. They provide counseling, therapy, and support, develop treatment plans, and connect clients with resources and services. Their goal is to improve their client’s quality of life and mental health.

This role puts them in a great position to gauge a person’s mental health and recommend an emotional support animal when necessary. 

What to do if Your Social Worker Can’t Write an ESA Letter

If your social worker can’t write an ESA letter, don’t worry, there are many alternatives. Some social workers won’t write ESA letters because they are not familiar with the process or are untrained in assessing the client’s need for one. 

There are plenty of healthcare professionals who specialize in ESA letters. If you’re looking for someone to write you an ESA letter, don’t be afraid to ask in advance whether they have expertise in that area. In the long run, it can be helpful to work with a professional with ESA experience and attuned to ESA owners’ needs. 

Your family doctor, also called a primary care physician (PCP), can write a letter recommending an emotional support animal. We’ll explain what legally gives them that ability and explore what better options might be available for you. 

Why are Physicians Able to Write an ESA Letter?

To turn your pet into an emotional support animal, federal law requires a recommendation letter (known as an ESA letter) from a healthcare professional who is licensed to practice in your state. 

Eligible providers include doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and counselors. An actively licensed primary care physician can certainly write an ESA letter. 

PCPs are healthcare professionals who serve as the first point of contact for patients seeking medical attention. Although they play an important role in managing overall health, they may not be the best option for an ESA letter which requires a mental health evaluation. 

Why Some Physicians Can’t Write ESA Letters

Even though primary care physicians can write ESA letters, some might hesitate. Their reluctance could stem from unfamiliarity with ESAs, uncertainty about the process of writing the letter, or workplace policies that limit their ability to do so. 

In addition, although PCPs are responsible for your general health, they may not be familiar enough with your mental health to feel comfortable writing an ESA letter. That’s why many people find it easier to find a mental health professional specializing in ESA recommendations. 

How to Get an ESA Letter if Your PCP Says No

If your PCP says no to your ESA letter request, don’t stress. It doesn’t mean you don’t deserve an emotional support animal. Physicians often can’t write ESA letters for all the reasons we talked about. 

Finding a provider who recognizes how an emotional support animal can improve your well-being is crucial. If your PCP can’t write an ESA letter, try asking for a referral. Click here if you need an easy online option.