If you’re a doctor, therapist, nurse, or social worker, your client or patient may have asked you for an ESA letter at some point. 

An ESA letter is a signed document attesting to your belief that your client or patient needs an emotional support animal for their mental health disability. An ESA letter gives a legal right to the owner to live in no-pets buildings with their animals. 

Knowing that your client is struggling with their mental health, it can be hard to say no. However, many doctors and therapists are hesitant to write ESA letters for the following reasons:

  • Lack of understanding of ESA rules.
  • Unfamiliarity with the client’s mental health issues. 
  • Fear of liability. 
  • Lack of knowledge about how to write an ESA letter. 
  • Unwillingness to deal with landlord verifications regarding the letter. 
  • The practice is forbidden by the clinic or hospital they work for. 
  • Uncertainty about the client’s eligibility for an emotional support animal. 

If you’re stuck in this situation, the best option is often to refer your client to a trustworthy ESA service like ESA Doctors. ESA Doctors only works with licensed professionals who are capable of writing legitimate ESA letters. 

1. Start with positive affirmation

Asking for an ESA letter can be tough, and the letdown of finding out that you can’t provide one can be even tougher. If a client or patient is asking for an ESA letter, they are likely in a period of stress, depression, or anxiety, so it’s crucial to be mindful of their feelings. 

When you begin the conversation, let the patient know you appreciate their trust in you. This helps them understand that their well-being is your priority.

I truly appreciate your trust in me, and I want to thank you for opening up about your needs and feelings. It’s very important to feel comfortable discussing these matters, and your courage doesn’t go unnoticed.

2. Acknowledge and validate their needs

Address their request directly, validating their feelings and the reason behind their ask for an emotional support animal. 

I understand that you’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, and you believe that having an emotional support animal could be a helpful solution for you.

3. Explain your position clearly and gently

It’s now time to explain your discomfort with the request. Remember, honesty is key, but so is empathy. Make sure they know that your decision isn’t a reflection of their needs or a dismissal of their feelings but rather a limitation on your end.

As a doctor/therapist, my expertise is primarily on human health, and while I am well versed in many therapeutic techniques, emotional support animals are a unique type of therapy that I’m less familiar with. Therefore, I might not be the best professional to offer a recommendation for an ESA.

An emotional support animal might be a great idea for you, but I just don’t have the experience or knowledge to help you. I think you would be better served to find a specialist for an ESA letter, but I’m still here to help you with everything else you’re going through.

4. Offer alternatives and solutions

Don’t leave the conversation hanging after explaining your position. Provide your patient with other possibilities that could be beneficial for their situation, keeping the focus on their well-being and recovery.

However, there are other ways we can address your needs. For example, we could consider other therapeutic options that I can help you with, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness techniques, or medication, if necessary. Additionally, if you’re still interested in exploring the possibility of an emotional support animal, I can refer you to a mental health professional who specializes in this area.

5. Give them space to respond

After sharing your thoughts, give them the chance to voice their feelings, questions, or concerns. This helps to maintain an open dialogue and reinforces that you are there to support them.

I realize that this might not have been the response you were hoping for, and I’m here to listen to any thoughts or concerns you may have. We can work together to find the best solution for you.

Remember, showing kindness and understanding will go a long way in making your patient feel heard and supported, even when you’re unable to fulfill their specific request. The goal is to provide help and support in ways that align with your expertise and comfort level.

6. Refer them to a reliable ESA specialist

If you’re not sure where to send your client or patient for help with an ESA letter, trust ESA Doctors. They work with qualified independent licensed professionals across the country and have been successfully helping people for over 10 years. 

These professionals are ESA specialists who handle the evaluation, ESA letter, and any landlord interactions needed to approve the animal. Your client or patient will be in capable hands. 

ESA Doctors is fully accredited by the BBB with an A+ rating and stellar reviews. You can rest easy knowing your client will get exactly the help they need at a reasonable cost.