Emotional Support Animal Evaluations (ESA)

What is it?

An ESA evaluation is a request to be assessed for an emotional support animal due to a disabling mental health condition. Please be aware that having this designation can disqualify you from some types of jobs later in life, such as those requiring security clearances. (This is not a Spencer Psychology designation, but the legal definition).

What types of ESA evaluations can Spencer Psychology do?

Laura Swinford picture
Laura Swinford, LCSW

We only do ESA evaluations for housing. We do not do transportation evaluations (airplanes).

Our ESA evaluator is Laura Swinford, LCSW.

Do you certify the animal?

No. Unfortunetely, this is a common misconception of evaluations.  In order to qualify for an emotional support animal, a provider is evaluating the person’s need, not the animal’s behavior or fitness.

Requirements for ESAs

  • You must have a current or recent therapist.
  • Our evaluator must be able to contact that therapist to discuss your diagnosis.
  • Candidates must have a disabling mental health diagnosis, as determined by a current or recent therapist or other mental health practitioner.
  • If you do not know your diagnosis, please ask your therapist prior to payment or registration with us.

Disqualifying Circumstances

  • An Adjustment Disorder diagnosis is not considered disabling and does not qualify for approval.
  • Other mild diagnoses such as “Z codes” related to temporary phases of life also cannot qualify as disabling.
  • Diagnoses that include animal abuse.
  • If you have not been working with a therapist, we cannot do your ESA evaluation.
Client with ESA friend

What does the evaluation include?

  • Interview
  • Data collection, which also includes talking to your therapist.
  • Filling out any required housing form as well as providing a letter of support for housing if needed.
  • Please note that our ESA evaluation service does not include a full psychological evaluation.


  • We cannot guarantee that the evaluator will find that you are qualified for an animal. Please be sure you do not have any of the disqualifying diagnoses before you begin (see above).
  • We will do an initial consult with your therapist to learn your diagnosis and functioning. After the consult, if your diagnosis does not meet criteria, we will stop the evaluation and refund the remaining portion of your fee (minus the time taken to speak to your therapist)
  • If you discontinue your ESA evaluation prior to your interview, any unused fee will be refunded (minus the portion used to speak to your therapist)


  • Emotional Support Animal Evaluations are not billable to insurance as it does not meet their requirement for “medical necessity”
  • Fees are out of pocket for $375. After receiving your payment, we will contact you to schedule your appointment.
  • Late cancel fee/no show fee is $100 for when:
    • Failing to show for your appointment,
    • Cancelling less than 24 hours prior to your appointment.

Scheduling for your Emotional Support Animal Evaluation

To schedule your ESA evaluation, please email us at admin@spencerpsychology.com.