The University Counseling Service (UCS) is The University of Iowa’s primary mental health service provider for university students. The UCS supports the Division of Student Life mission for student success by providing support and mental health services to the University of Iowa campus community.

The scope of UCS service entails three primary areas: Clinical and Case Management Services, Outreach Services, and Training and Supervision.

In addition to what is covered in the Scope of Services document, we acknowledge that that we are frequently asked to provide support and documentation for students who are wanting to get an Emotional Support Animal (ESA).  While agreeing that many people enjoy and take comfort in a relationship with an animal, it is UCS policy that a formal disability assessment is required to authorize an animal as an ESA.  Disability assessments are not within the scope of practice for the UCS.  Potential ethical and legal implications are noted.  This position is consistent with the recommendations outline by Younggren (2016) in “Examining Emotional Support Animals and Role Conflicts in Professional Psychology.”  (

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