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Emotional Support Animals in Texas

Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

Emotional Support Animals, sometimes referred to as ESAs, have special privileges in the State of Texas under federal laws; they are not considered pets.; they are assistance animals for people with mental and emotional health issues

Housing providers have to accommodate owners of emotional support animals free of charge as a necessity for their health condition. And, unlike typical pets, you don’t have to pay any extra deposits or fees for housing. Emotional Support Animals are also exempt from building policies regarding size or breed. 

These rights are given under the Fair Housing Act and guidance from the U.S. Department of Housing and apply to the State of Texas. 

Any domesticated animals can be kept as an ESA in the home, including dogs, cats, birds, rabbits, hamsters, guinea pigs, and yes…even sugar gliders and turtles! 

In this article, we’ll explain

How you can qualify for an emotional support animal in Texas. 

And, if you qualify,

How you can apply to receive a valid ESA Letter from a healthcare professional (*licensed in Texas) that you can use to secure accommodation for your emotional support animal.

Quick Review of Emotional Support Animal Laws in Texas

Assistance animals have rights under various laws, including the Fair Housing Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Both are federal laws that apply to every state in the U.S., including Texas

The ADA governs service animals that have highly specialized training to assist people with both physical or mental disabilities. *Emotional support animals, however, are not the same as psychiatric service dogs. ESAs do not need special training and provide comfort for those experiencing mental or emotional distress just by being present around their owners. 

Emotional support animal owners have rights under the federal Fair Housing Act, which mandates that landlords reasonably accommodate tenants who require an assistance animal. 

Texas Emotional Support Animal Housing Laws Allow ESAs to Live with Their Owners Without Additional Fees.

If you own an emotional support animal, have valid documentation and reside in Texas, you do have certain RIGHTS for housing that protect you from discrimination due to your mental or emotional disability-related need for an assistance animal. 

  1. Housing providers such as landlords, condos, co-ops, and HOAs must reasonably accommodate ESAs, even if the building has an outright ban on pets. 
  2. ESAs are exempt from normal pet policies. That means restrictions on size, weight and breed of pets do not apply to emotional support animals. 
  3. ESA owners also do not have to pay any additional fees (including application fees) or deposits to live with their ESA. 

However, there are LIMITATIONS to these rights

  1. An emotional support animal must be domesticated and well-behaved. This means that you cannot bring a wild or aggressive animal into an apartment, etc. 
  2. Your ESA also can’t pose any health or safety hazard to other residents. 
  3. Some small housing providers are exempt from having to follow ESA rules, such as owner-occupied buildings with no more than four units and single-family houses sold or rented by the owner without the use of an agent. 
  4. In addition, you cannot bring your emotional support animal into your new home unannounced and expect everyone in a no-pet housing complex will comply. You must submit a request for accommodation to your landlord in advance and provide a copy of your ESA letter. 

It’s important to make sure that you have the right documentation for your emotional support animal. Most landlords in Texas are fully aware of what constitutes a valid proof for an emotional support animal.

*Landlords have every right to validate if you have a true emotional support animal by requesting an ESA letter from you

Qualifying for an ESA Letter in Texas

To have a legally recognized emotional support animal in Texas, you will need an ESA letter from a healthcare professional who is licensed in Texas. 

  1. You can request one from your current healthcare professional who is providing services for your mental health. 

OR

  1. You can also reach out to this counselor and apply online for an ESA Letter without having to leave your home.

What Happens Next?

First, the licensed healthcare professional will determine if you have a mental or emotional health disability that substantially limits a major life activity

Qualifying conditions include:

PTSD, anxiety, depression, phobias, autism, and learning disorders. 

Second, the healthcare professional will assess whether an emotional support animal can help alleviate the symptoms of that particular mental or emotional health disability. 

Pretty simple, right? (I told you it wouldn’t be as hard as you might think)

So, How Do I Get Started ?

Just call our number and leave the following. An application packet will be emailed to you and you will not be charged for the service unless you are approved. If approved, an original copy letter will be mailed to your physical residence.

Information we need to get started:

  1. your full legal name, 
  2. city in Texas where you live, 
  3. preferred phone number for contact (in case healthcare provider requires) and 
  4. a personal email where the application documents may be sent. 

(*all info must be that of the owner of the animal/s applied for)

Just Remember

If you’re a Texas resident, your ESA rights require that you have a legitimate ESA letter from a healthcare professional that is licensed in Texas.

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Cancer & Medical Cancer Resilience Life Transitions Pre & Post Surgical Terminal Illness

Chronic Illnesses, Telehealth and the Pandemic

Chronic Illness, Telehealth and the Pandemic

The pandemic has impacted the lives of almost everyone in some way. But healthcare has been incredibly impacted. Specifically, in order to keep people safe from contracting the COVID-19 virus, telehealth has become more prominent than ever. And previously neglected chronic illnesses seemed to catch up with many of us during the pandemic. While it’s not necessarily new, the pandemic boosted the practice of telehealth tremendously across the country. And there are many benefits to it for people who might otherwise have accessibility issues. 

But, if you’re dealing with a chronic illness, telehealth and other changes made in the healthcare industry might not be in your best interest. 

So, how has the pandemic changed treatment for those who are suffering from chronic illnesses? 

Chronic Illness; from Frustration to Telehealth

Whether you’ve been able to hop on to a telehealth session with your doctor or not, the pandemic has caused a lot of frustration in getting deserved treatment. 

First, if you have been able to meet with your doctor(s) in person, you’ve probably experienced extended wait times. Many clinics and practices are short-staffed. Others are trying to space patients out, so time spent in different waiting areas is longer. 

When you have a chronic illness, long wait times can be difficult. You might be in pain or discomfort, and sitting there longer than usual will not help. Extended waits between visits have also become prominent, which can be difficult if you need help and relief immediately. 

At the start of COVID, hospitals were forced to put more resources into treating critical patients with the virus. As a result, patients with chronic illnesses or other cases were seen less frequently. Those depending on consistent treatment suffered, as a result. 

Telehealth and Managing Your Chronic Illness

Because the treatment changes brought on by COVID may not be going back to “normal” just yet, learning how to manage your illness at home is crucial. Obviously, that’s another huge change that can cause additional stress and confusion during times of need. 

For some people, home management techniques simply don’t work. Or, they might for a while, but eventually, medical treatment is necessary. Patients having to wait significantly longer between visits can find themselves on a decline very quickly. 

No matter what symptoms you’re having, one thing you can do to help manage them is to have an open dialogue with your doctor. One benefit of telehealth is that it often makes healthcare providers more accessible. Consistent communication is important. If you explain what you’re dealing with, your provider may be able to call in a new prescription or recommend something else. 

Taking Care of Yourself

The lack of treatment options and availability throughout COVID is, again, extremely frustrating. If you’ve found yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for your doctor to see you (yet again), you’ve probably felt completely overwhelmed. 

One of the best things you can do is to take care of yourself and manage your stress. Don’t let yourself get too frustrated by these treatment changes. Instead, find ways to relax and de-stress every day. Doing so can help to lower your blood pressure and may have a pain-reducing effect on your body. 

Hopefully, now that there is a light at the end of the tunnel with the pandemic, normalcy will return to the healthcare industry. In some cases, however, pandemic practices might be here to stay. You may have to get used to longer wait times between visits, distancing, and the expanded and increasing promotion of telehealth. 

Make sure you’re communicating your issues and concerns with your doctor, no matter what the rest of the pandemic may bring. Doing so may give you peace of mind, and hopefully, some measure of relief. 

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Life Transitions

Life Transitions

Going through life transitions with a professional therapist

Are you currently going through a tough time? Or, do you feel OK, but suspect talking with a therapist could be exactly what’s needed to generate positive momentum toward attaining your dreams? Well, that why we are here.

Let’s face it, Change is a regular part of our daily life whether it is moving to new city, caregiver stress, single parenting, adult returning to school, or a new co-worker joining the company, a family member getting married, or a new activity we incorporate into our life. There are times however, where change is the result of a major life transition and our ability to adapt to the new environment is beyond our skill level. Life transitions can make us question our life purpose, identities, life goals and direction and together we can explore these thoughts and feelings and begin to make sense out of what may seem a confusing time.

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Often when faced with a change we look for ways to incorporate this into the life we are leading. In the case of a major life transition, Values-Based counseling helps us to determine how the life we are leading will adapt to this core shift. This can cause questions for people as to who they are and how they identify themselves. In the situation of children moving out of the family home, although you will always remain a parent, your immediate circle of influence has shifted. Making sure there are nutritious meals that your children are home safe each night, and being there on a daily basis to encourage them has shifted. You may now be faced with a lot of idle time to fill, and the voids that are left may leave you feeling helpless, or unproductive. Your counselor is here to help identify these issues and the other adjustment issues as you move forward through the many life transitions that help to create the person we are today.

Counseling offers individuals or families a process to work through what this life change means
We understand how challenging life and relationships can be. We have accumulated, and grown from both clinical training and personal life experiences. These lessons contribute to our understanding and empathy, and we are passionate about helping others. We understand if you’re reluctant to try counseling or to take the first step and contact someone about help but going to counseling is an acknowledgment that you want things to change. You want your life to be better! It’s a sign of strength that you are considering counseling, and we encourage you to take that next step. Research suggests the biggest predictor of positive client outcomes is the relationship between the client and the counselor – so make sure you find the right professional for you.

Call Now (346)-493-6181

Ben Carrettin is a Nationally Board Certified Counselor (NCC), Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor (LCDC). He is the owner of Practice Improvement Resources, LLC; a private business which offers an array of specialized counseling, evidenced-based clinical consultation, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and targeted ESI-based services to individuals and businesses.