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At some point, you as a professional may be asked about writing a letter for a client to attain a psychiatric or emotional support dog. You may be asked by a service dog or emotional support dog provider if your client can manage a dog. This workshop will: Provide information about what is a service dog? What is a psychiatric service dog? What is an emotional support dog? It is important to know these distinctions, because the type of animal being requested will inform how you approach letter writing.

Attendees will learn how, when, and why such letters are written as well as how assessments should be completed so that your advocacy is both effective for your client and protective of you the therapist.



Cost: $45 – Want to attend this course and any future event or course from our CE library for FREE and unlimited for the cost of $34.99/month for 12 months??!! Check out our Everything Plan here.



9:00am – 9:15am – Introduction

9:15am – 9:30am – Service Dog Background

9:30am – 10:00am – Difference between service dogs, therapy dogs and emotional support animals

10:00am – 10:30am – BREAK

10:30-10:45am – Letter request from client or guardian

10:45am – 11:00am – Assessment & Interacting with Service Dogs / ESAs



This training will provide participants clinical knowledge and tools to:

a). State the difference between a service dog (or psychiatric service dog) and an emotional support dog.

b). Learn and practice at least two important strategies to both provide advocacy and protect your professional license when writing letters for service and support animals.


Target Audience:

The target audience for this event includes psychologists, social workers, counselors, MFT’s, and other clinical mental health professionals.


Instructional Level: Intermediate

Instructor(s): Jessie L. Rayl, Ed.D., LPC

Material Author(s): Jessie L. Rayl, Ed.D., LPC

Dr. Rayl attended the West Virginia School for the Blind throughout her childhood schooling. After graduation, Dr. Rayl went first to Allegany Community College where she majored in Secretarial Science and worked in that field for several years. Later, Dr. Rayl attended Fairmont State University and earned a Bachelors Degree in Community Psychology with a minor in Social Work. After completing that degree, Dr. Rayl worked as an advocate for people with developmental disabilities with a state organization that provides advocacy and legal assistance for several years. Dr. Rayl then went on to earn her Masters degree in Community Counseling from West Virginia University. During that time and for the next 10 years, Dr. Rayl worked at EastRidge Health Systems as triage case manager, crisis counselor, and then as a licensed professional counselor. From 2003 to 2018, Dr. Rayl owned a private practice with various contracts including EAPs, Division of Corrections, Day Report and general mental health and substance abuse counseling. It was during that time, she earned her Educational Doctorate from Argosy University. In addition, Dr. Rayl attained Certification as a Comprehensive Mental Health Forensics Examiner, and diplomates in Trauma, and Substance Abuse and Co-Occurring Conditions. At present, Dr. Rayl is the Center Mental Health Consultant at Job Corps in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia where she has contracted for the past approximate eight years. Dr. Rayl is totally blind and partially deaf, and has been since early childhood. Nevertheless, her parents encouraged total independence, completion of education and strong work ethics. In 1983, Dr. Rayl attained her first guide dog and has had 5 successor guides since that time. She, then, trained two dogs as working hearing alert dogs. She continues to work with one guide dog from Pilot Dogs, Inc., and her self-trained hearing alert dog. Dr. Rayl has had vast personal, education, and interpersonal experience with people with all disabilities, and various service dogs.

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