Helping therapists and counselors be ethical advocates for clients and their pets

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Founded in 2019

Sarah has been providing live courses on ESA letter writing since 2019 in Ohio. She started Pawsitive Therapist in 2021 and 2024 marks the first year the Basics of ESA Letter Writing course has been offered online. The course has expanded beyond Ohio to incorporate various state laws, news, and changes from around the Nation.

Our Goal

To provide clinicians with best practices, latest legal impacts, and ethical considerations, in writing ESA letters.

Meet Sarah

Former Animal Trainer Turned Clinician

Former animal trainer turned therapist, Sarah Newcomer MS IMFT, dedicated the first two decades of her career to working with marine mammals and zoo animals.

The dog, dolphin, and kangaroo in her logo represent the diverse species she has worked with, serving as a reminder of those who helped her reach her current path.

Sarah's career spans both coasts. In California, she interned with the US Navy Marine Mammal Program and S.L.E.W.T.H.S/Animal Training & Research International Center, studying under the renowned Dr. Jenifer Zeligs. On the Florida shoreline, she interned at the Miami Seaquarium. She also served as a full-time zookeeper in Wichita, KS, where she trained a kangaroo to paint, and as an Educator at Brookfield Zoo in Chicago. Additionally, she interned at the Milwaukee County Zoo.

Throughout these experiences, she gained expertise in positive reinforcement, animal care, and the profound impact of the human-animal bond.

Sarah’s personal experience with her Emotional Support Animal, Smiles the pitbull, further deepened her understanding of the positive impact pets have on mental health. This relationship highlighted the importance of viewing animals as teammates with their own needs, motivations, and emotions.

In 2013, Sarah transitioned from animal training to pursue a graduate degree in Marriage and Family Therapy at Friend's University in Wichita, KS. She now leverages her unique background and systems theory approach to train therapists on ethically incorporating client and pet needs into therapy. Sarah emphasizes the vital role pets play as living, breathing partners in supporting clients' mental health.

In 2020 Sarah co-authored the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker, and Marriage and Family Therapist Board winter newsletter article on Emotional Support Animals.

Check out the course

Basics in Emotional Support Animal Letter Writing helps you stay ethical in your practice when writing ESA letters
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