FAQ - FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS


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QUESTION TOPICS

Credentials (1-3)
About Mark and His Practice (4-13)
Privacy (14-17)
Making Contact ~ First Session (18-22)
The Nature of Therapy (23-32)
Interventions (33-37)
Therapy Logistics (38-44)
Costs (45-51)
Office Information (52-56)
 
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  • CREDENTIALS (1-3)
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  • 1. What does LCSW mean?

LCSW stands for Licensed Clinical Social Worker. It is the final level of Louisiana licensure for social workers and licenses those who hold it to engage in direct practice without supervision.

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  • 2. What do Mark's other credentials mean? Specifically: ACSW, QCSW, MFA, MSW, Diplomate Academy of Cognitive Therapy?


ACSW – Academy of Certified Social Workers, “the most widely recognized and respected social work credential.” It is issued by the
NASW – National Association of Social Workers and these are the requirements.

QCSW – Qualified Clinical Social Worker, “distinguishes expertise and experience” and “announces expertise in clinical social work practice.” It is issued by the
NASW – National Association of Social Workers and these are the requirements.

MFA – Master of Fine Arts, a terminal degree in creative arts. Mark obtained his first Masters degree (MFA, Cinema-TV Production) from the
University of Southern California.

MSW – Master of Social Work, a professional degree. Mark obtained his second Masters degree (MSW) from
Tulane University.

Diplomate,
Academy of Cognitive Therapy – an “exacting certifying credential for cognitive behavioral therapists” who have “demonstrated an advanced level of expertise in cognitive therapy.” Here are the requirements.

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  • 3. What are Mark's academic credentials?


Mark has graduated with Honors from
Brown University, subsequently earned two Masters degrees from University of Southern California and Tulane University, and spent fourteen years as a university professor, including most recently at the Tulane School of Social Work.

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  • ABOUT MARK AND HIS PRACTICE (4-13)
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  • 4. What ages does Mark work with?
Anyone between ages 13 and 113.


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  • 5. What types of problems do Mark’s clients typically have?


While Mark does not view a client as a person with problems, he has successfully helped people who have had issues surrounding depression, anxiety, lack of sobriety, relationships, anger, psychological trauma, difficulties with money, schizophrenia, attention deficits, and learning disabilities.


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  • 6. Does Mark have a general treatment philosophy?


Mark believes psychotherapy is effective when the client is involved in collaboration with the therapist, and so he tries to adapt his style to your needs, values, and interests. It is essential that you are engaged in your treatment, and Mark welcomes you to ask questions and offer feedback as you work together.


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  • 7. What is Mark’s personal background?

Since therapy is about you and not about Mark, this question is best answered on a limited basis.

Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Louisiana (#9291), Diplomate,
Academy of Cognitive Therapy, Masters in Social Work, Tulane University, Masters of Fine Arts, University of Southern California, Bachelor of Arts with Honors, Brown University. Worked and trained at the Department of Veteran's Affairs, Bridge House, DePaul Hospital, Catholic Charities, St. Charles Parish Schools.

Mark spent fourteen years as university professor and eleven years in the entertainment business in California. He has lived in New Orleans since 1997, is married, and has one adult stepson.


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  • 8. What kind of person is Mark?

Mark is a natural teacher. He is calm and cares about your well-being. He wants you to learn and grow. Mark is not afraid to tell the truth, even when it may not be comfortable, but he is sensitive about how much he says. Mark sees others at their highest potential, without judging, and he offers you the chance to see yourself in the same way.

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  • 9. Does Mark have a bias for or against religious or spiritual beliefs?

Mark is open to all religious and spiritual orientations, including “none of the above.” He has observed in his therapy practice, including his work with twelve step programs, that a faith in something greater than oneself is helpful for healing. He has also observed that “psychological flexibility” helpful for healing.

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  • 10. Does Mark have a political prejudice?

Mark is open to all. He believes that to be open-minded leads to be open-hearted.

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  • 11. Does Mark work with transgender, gay, and lesbian clients?

Of course.

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  • 12. Does Mark have a racial bias?

Mark is open to all. Of course, he recognizes that cultural treatment and community environment have a profound effect on each person’s worldview.

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  • 13. Does Mark work with all races, ethnicities, and nationalities?

Of course.

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  • PRIVACY (14-17)
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  • 14. What happens if I run into Mark in public?

To preserve your confidentiality, Mark will not openly acknowledge you in public unless you acknowledge him first. You have no such obligation and are free to greet Mark if you wish.

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  • 15. Will Mark use my name in any way?
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  • 16. What are Mark's therapy boundaries?

Mark maintains confidentiality within legal limits and has no sexual or fiduciary (business) relationships with clients. Mark does not fraternize with clients after establishing a therapeutic relationship. If he runs into a client in the community, he will only acknowledge that person if he is acknowledged first.

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  • 17. What are the legal limits of confidentiality?


Unless you provide a written release, Mark will keep everything you say confidential unless: you state intention to harm yourself, someone else, that you have hurt a minor, an elder, or someone who is disabled, or he is compelled to testify in court.

More specific detail about limits to confidentiality will be discussed at the first session and may be viewed with the other office policies may be
found here.

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  • MAKING CONTACT ~ FIRST SESSION (18-22)
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  • 18. What happens when I first call Mark?

If you leave a message, Mark will personally call you back within one working day. Together you can decide whether the next step is an appointment, a referral, or “none of the above.”

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  • 19. How do I prepare for my first session?

You will be asked to complete some paperwork in advance, which will make more time in the first session to focus on your needs. There is no requirement to prepare.

You may want to consider a way to describe what brought you in for therapy and what types of goals you have. Don't worry if that is hard to do on your own. That is why Mark is there to help.


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  • 20. What do I wear? Are there any conduct guidelines? May I smoke?

Most clients wear comfortable clothes appropriate to a professional setting. In the office policies are some general personal conduct guidelines: "Please show respect for fellow clients by maintaining propriety and good taste in conduct, hygiene, and appearance. Please refrain from smoking inside or in front of the office.

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  • 21. What happens during the first session?

In the intake-assessment sessions, you will spend time with Mark to see if you can develop a rapport. After reviewing your new client paperwork, Mark will discuss your responses to the self-assessment questions (called a “diagnostic interview”) to learn about your needs and background. Perhaps you will have a chance to identify some therapeutic goals.

These are not therapy sessions. Those start after Mark has completed a treatment plan based on your goals.


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  • 22. What is a treatment plan?

A treatment plan is a structure that addresses your complaints. It includes a problem description, interventions that may be used, and desired outcomes / goals. A treatment plan may be revised as you reach your goals or shift your needs. Mark will write the treatment plan and goals with your input.

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  • THE NATURE OF THERAPY (23-32)
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  • 23. What will therapy be like with Mark?
Therapy is a purpose-driven series of conversations, which help you explore what you may do to change yourself to improve your life. Therapy is different for each person.

Some of the common qualities include identifying how you are feeling, seeing, doing, mastering new coping skills, discovering ways to free yourself from your own thinking traps, learning to overcome obstacles, applying what you are learning in therapy to your life, exploring your own gifts as a person, taking responsibility, and accepting yourself as a human being.


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  • 24. Will I lie on a couch?
Mark does not use a couch. His office is very comfortable. Here is a picture of the inside of Mark’s Maple Street office.


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  • 25. Will I have to talk the entire session while Mark sits there and listens to me?
Not at all. Therapy with Mark is not like it is in the movies. Therapy is interactive, changing, and conversational, just like any dynamic relationship. Mark will make every effort to help you feel safe and comfortable.


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  • 26. Will Mark offer passive support, or will he offer direction?
While Mark is supportive of your needs and seeks to understand your personal experiences at depth, he uses a structured, directive approach because it leads to more rapid change, helps you through therapy more quickly, and gives you access to deeper healing. This means Mark will offer you tools and information that will help you grow and achieve your goals.


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  • 27. Will Mark give me advice?
Almost never. He will sometimes suggest behaviors that are rooted in evidence-based information. Therapy is for you to discover who you are, what your values are, and for you to make your own choices with this knowledge. Sometimes Mark will give what sounds like advice, but it is a reflection of what you were saying would be good for you.


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  • 28. Is therapy painful?
Sometimes emotions will come up that are uncomfortable. Usually when this happens clients report that they feel huge relief afterwards. Sadness, anger, and anxiety are appropriate emotions for humans to experience, and depriving yourself of them means you are cutting yourself off from an important part of life. Emotions serve as fuel for change, and they provide a road map of what is important to master.


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  • 29. Will I have to talk about my past?
After the intake where background is obtained, a therapeutic modality will be agreed on. Some require very little exposure to the past, some encourage it. CBT, for example, can be learned using current situations. However, resisting talking about the past may indicate there may be therapeutic value in addressing it in the future. Usually after a short time, clients become comfortable talking about any aspects of their lives that will help them heal.


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  • 30. Is this like buying a friend?
Every relationship you have is like having a friend. The therapeutic relationship is a practice relationship that is intended to help you develop healthy and meaningful relationships. However, the professional relationship is not a friendship.

Each session has a set purpose and is always about YOU. Additionally, Mark is prevented from having a balanced friendship with any of his clients as a result of professional boundaries, legal oversight, best practices, and confidentiality limits.


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  • 31. Can I become dependent on therapy?
“Dependence” often has complex and different meanings for each of us. For some, self-reliance is an important goal of therapy. For others, being willing to receive help is a goal. Similar to a physician setting a broken bone or continuing on to physical therapy, support is an essential component of healing.

Mark will help you decide how long to remain in therapy. Mark will not indulge you if you are not working to get better. Mark will not kick you to the curb if you are in need.


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  • 32. Can I get better without therapy?
Possibly, but probably not as quickly or effectively. You can pick up a copy of Living Yes and test that idea yourself.


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  • INTERVENTIONS (33-37)
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  • 33. What types of therapeutic interventions does Mark use?
Therapy relies on the relationship between client and therapist, and Mark puts that alliance above therapeutic modalities. Mark predominantly practices CBT. He is a certified Diplomate in the Academy of Cognitive Therapy. For more information on CBT, EMDR, and Living Yes, please review the following three questions.

When CBT is difficult to tolerate and there is much trauma, he relies on EMDR. Mark also relies on common sense and the client’s spirituality and human strength.

In addition to CBT and EMDR, Mark has studied and been trained in other interventions. While these areas that inform his thinking, they are usually secondary in his treatment approach. Mark is trained in AIT (for trauma), ACT (an integrated cognitive system), Art Therapy (discovering creative potential), Behaviorism (taking actions to help outcomes), Exposure (to tolerate past memories), Mindfulness (being present and practicing meditation), Object Relations (effects of early childhood), Psychodynamics (influences of the unconscious mind), and the Twelve Steps (a spiritual practice for addiction recovery).

Mark has developed Living Yes, which distills ideas from CBT, Mindfulness, and other business and psychological concepts into an essential practice that is simple, but challenging. Mark plans to make Living Yes available to the general public in the future. You may read more about Living Yes at
www.LivingYes.org.


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  • 34. What is CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy)?
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is an evidence-based practice developed by Aaron T. Beck, MD in the 1960s and is the most researched, comprehensive, widely accepted, effective, evidence-based, non-medical intervention for treating anxiety, depression and many other conditions.

“Cognitive therapy is one of the few forms of psychotherapy that has been scientifically tested and found to be effective in over three hundred clinical trials for many different disorders. In contrast to other forms of psychotherapy, cognitive therapy is usually more focused on the present, more time-limited, and more problem-solving oriented. Indeed, much of what the patient does is solve current problems. In addition, patients learn specific skills that they can use for the rest of their lives. These skills involve identifying distorted thinking, modifying beliefs, relating to others in different ways, and changing behaviors.” Judith Beck, Ph.D. http://www.academyofct.org/faq/

“Cognitive” means thinking; “Behavior” means doing; and “Therapy” means healing. Cognitive therapy relies on the idea that because thoughts generate your feelings, you can train yourself to manage your thinking in a way which will help you reduce the discomfort of painful emotions.

The behavioral therapy component of CBT relies on taking positive actions to also improve thinking and encouraging further positive actions. Continued work with CBT reveals destructive lies you have come to believe about yourself.

Using your own values, you can train yourself to reverse these lies and not succumb to your own dysfunctional thinking and behaviors.
Read more about CBT.


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  • 35. What is EMDR Therapy?
Psychologist Francine Shapiro discovered EMDR Therapy in 1987. EMDR stands for "eye movement desensitization reprocessing."

EMDR is a therapy that relieves small and large traumas by using the healthy parts of the brain to integrate with memory networks that have become stuck. EMDR is a complete therapy that makes use of a memory activating technique called alternating bilateral stimulation (BLS). EMDR relies much less on talking description than traditional therapies such as CBT.

Read a paper Mark wrote about EMDR.


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  • 36. What is Living Yes?
Living Yes, a Handbook for Being Human is Mark's book which was publiished in 2015. You may learn more and buy the book at at www.LivingYes.org or purchase the book directly on Amazon. Living Yes is a comprehensive approach to life that takes Cognitive Behavioral Therapy to a higher level. It is a simple but challenging practice.

There is abundant information about Living Yes, including
the Living Yes principles and how to join the mailing list, at www.LivingYes.org


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  • 37. Do I have to be in therapy in order to study Living Yes with Mark?
Not at all. If you would like to learn more about Mark's book and seminars please visit: www.LivingYes.org.


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  • THERAPY LOGISTICS (38-44)
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  • 38. How long does a session last?
A session is typically 50-55 minutes. The first sessions (intake-assessment-goals) sometimes take a few minutes longer.


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  • 39. How often will I come to therapy?
Typically, clients are seen weekly, occasionally more often. Fewer visits is not optimal but can work sufficiently after a foundation of learning is established from weekly meetings.


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  • 40. How many sessions will I need?
That is up to you with Mark offering suggestions.

CBT typically takes 16 sessions to master, and if you are fully engaged in the process, you will notice some improvement in 6-8 weeks. Many clients remain in CBT beyond the point of mastery and make profound changes in their core issues.

EMDR requires a few weeks to get started and then it depends on how quickly you complete each "target" memory, and how many "target" memories you wish to clear.

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  • 41. Does Mark have a cancellation policy or any other office policies?
Once you are undergoing therapy with Mark, if you miss a session without giving thirty-six hours notice, you will be charged. More specific detail about this and other office policies may be found here.


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  • 42. Does Mark prescribe medications? What does Mark think of psych medications?
Mark does not prescribe medications.

The choice to take psych medications is yours and not Mark's. He has seen them work effectively and he has seen people get better without taking any of them. If you are interested in psych medications, Mark is happy to work with you, your primary care doctor, your psychiatrist or medical psychologist to support your decision. if you would like to learn more about psych medications, Mark will be happy to refer you to any of these professionals.


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  • 43. Will Mark release diagnostic information about me?
Mark will only release a diagnosis when required. Mark will use the minimum diagnosis possible if he needs to make a confidential report to an insurance company or a court. If you have a previous mental health diagnosis, please tell Mark. Reusing previous diagnoses tends to create less impact on your medical record.


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  • 44. What does Mark think about diagnoses?
While Mark is trained in mental health diagnoses, he believes these classifications categorize and stigmatize us in an unnecessary way. People are people and there is not healthy group versus unhealthy, only folks who have opportunities to learn to be their fully human selves.


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  • COSTS (45-51)
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  • 45. How much does an individual therapy session cost?
If you pay by cash or check at the time of service, each of the first two "intake" sessions costs $150, and each ongoing "therapy" session costs $120. For couples add $30 per session. (For more about couples counseling, please see question 46.)

If you pay by credit card at the time of service, the first two sessions each cost $155, and ongoing sessions cost $125.

Mark is not accepting new insurance clients.

There may be charges for extended telephone calls, reports, letters, court appearances, consultations on behalf of clients to physicians, agencies, employers, or insurance companies. You will also be charged for missed sessions without thirty-six hours notice of cancellation. More specific detail about office policies may be
found here.

Multi-session discounts are also available. More specific detail about costs and other office policies may be
found here.


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  • 46. Do you do couples sessions?
Couples sessions are only done using CBT. Rather than becoming a "referee," Mark dually trains couples in CBT skills. (It's like a small CBT group.) Often an individual member of a couple decides to continue in individual therapy with Mark. If so, the other member of the couple is referred to another skilled therapist.

Couples rates are $30 higher than individual sessions: $180. for each of the first two sessions and $150 for each session after that. The $5 swipe fee for a credit card is still in effect.


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  • 47. Will Mark take my health insurance?
Mark is not accepting new insurance clients. If you have insurance (with the exception of BCBS PPO), you may also be covered in full or in part with out-of-network coverage.

Mark can give you an invoice (called a “superbill”) that will enable to you apply directly to your insurance company. Please let Mark know in advance if you would like an invoice, a superbill, or a receipt.

Sorry, Mark cannot give a superbill for Blue Cross PPO at this time.

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  • 48. Will insurance reimburse me if I file an out-of-network claim?
Ask your insurer these five questions about your coverage:

  • What mental health benefits do I have?
  • How high is my deductible, and how much of it have I met?
  • How many mental health sessions per calendar year does my plan cover?
  • What is the coverage amount per therapy session for an out-of-network provider?
  • Do I need my primary care doctor to prescribe therapy in order to be covered?


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  • 49. Does Mark accept Employee Assistance Program (EAP) benefits?
Mark is no longer accepting EAP clients.


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  • 50. When do I pay?
At the end or beginning of each session.


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  • 51. What types of payments does Mark accept?
Cash (exact amount or create a credit), check made out to “Mark Morris, LCSW,” or you may pay with a credit card (at the $5 higher rate). Mark's payment policies may be found here.


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  • OFFICE INFORMATION (52-56)
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  • 52. Where is Mark's office located?
Mark's office is located at 7815 Maple Street between Burdette and Fern, two blocks from the St Charles Ave streetcar. This is near the river bend, on the downtown (Tulane) side of Carrollton Avenue.

The office is eight and a half blocks from Tulane University. It is easy to reach from Jefferson Parish, twelve blocks from the end of River Road.

Here are a
map and directions and a picture of the inside of Mark’s office.


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  • 53. How difficult is parking on Maple St?
While it can get congested during peak hours, no restrictions on Maple St and two hour parking on side streets means you can usually find a spot within one block of the office.


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  • 54. Is the office handicap accessible?
The Maple Street office is not handicap accessible. There are five small and wide outside steps to enter the first floor suite.


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  • 55. When is the office open?
Currently appointments are made during the day and early evening on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Mark does not see clients on Fridays.


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  • 56. I'd like to see Mark, but circumstances prevent it. Would Mark be willing to help me find another therapist?
Absolutely. Please call for a referral.


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Thank you for reading about Mark.