Why therapists shouldn’t approve their own patients’ emotional support animals

FROM: Thomson Reuters Posted: Jun 05, 2017 2:06 PM ET Last Updated: Jun 05, 2017 2:06 PM ET

NOTE: Currently emotional support animals do not have training requirements under U.S. law

“A growing number of therapists are certifying their patients’ pets as emotional support animals, allowing people to take their cats, pigs and birds on planes and into rental homes even though it may not be medically necessary, a recent study suggests.

Researchers asked 87 mental health professionals to review current laws and policies for determining when animals may qualify as emotional support animals in the U.S., including federal transportation requirements for air travel. Then, researchers questioned these professionals about how support animals should be certified.

Overall, about 31 per cent of the survey participants said they had previously recommended emotional support animals for people. However, 36 per cent of them said they didn’t feel qualified to make these recommendations, including two practitioners who had done so in the past.

Study co-author Jeffrey Younggren of the University of Missouri explained … ”

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