SELF – What Do Emotional Support Animals Do, Exactly?

Emotional support animals can make getting through life a bit more pleasant, and even possible for many struggling with chronic illness. Especially when it comes to mental health, emotional support animals can offer companionship, comfort, and purpose that can be a powerful distraction when anxiety and depression strike. For people who struggle with anxiety, and a fear of flying, emotional support animals can significantly help the travel experience.

I was asked by SELF to weigh in on the issue of emotional support animals, and I was very pleased to help out. To read the full article, click HERE.

But emotional support animals are also a “touchy issue” and there are some psychologists that urge other psychologists not to recommend them for patients because it’s often exploited, licensed clinical psychologist Alicia H. Clark, Psy.D., tells SELF. While people can and do abuse the system simply to bring their pets with them to places they normally would not be allowed, Bekoff says that behavior is “egregious” given that so many people actually benefit from having an emotional support animal.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD