Applied Clinical/Private Practice

Treatment Questions

Q:  What will my first appointment consist of?

A:  Your first session will be a consultation usually for 90 to 120 minutes. It will include your reasons for this appointment, gathering standard information, often brief screening psychological measures, answers to your questions, discussion of options, some recommendations, and a plan. 

Q:  How long are subsequent sessions?

A:  Most therapy sessions are about 60 to 90 minutes. Longer sessions usually are due to special circumstances and are available if needed. 

Q:  How often are sessions?

A:  Sessions are usually once or twice a week. Depending on your needs and circumstances, sessions could be less or more often. 

Q:  How long will I need to be in therapy?

A:  The number of sessions varies. You might benefit from a single session or from 2 or 3 sessions. However, many people need and attend more sessions, typically at least 6 to 10 and sometimes a few dozen sessions over several months. Length of therapy depends on the complexity of the issues, your life situation, and your compliance with recommendations and “homework.” You will usually have an estimate of the number of sessions for you to consider in the first or second session. This can change depending on your progress and whether your situation changes. Therapy will focus on your needs and mutually agreed upon goals.

Q:  Is what I share with you, my therapist, confidential?

A:  Your confidentiality is protected by federal and state laws and by the rules and ethical standards and rules of the psychology profession. All information concerning patients is held confidential and is released only through procedures consistent with the law and professional ethics. There are a very few and very specific exceptions. These are very rare in my practice. They are discussed in documents provided to you in printed form and/or available in other parts of this website. 

Q:  How will I know if I'm getting better?

A:  Identifying and discussing goals that you want to reach during therapy will occur in the first and/or second sessions and in subsequent sessions. Periodic assessment of progress toward goals, and possible revision of goals may occur periodically when indicated. 

Q:  What if I want an evaluation for psychotropic medications (e.g. antidepressant, tranquilizer)? What if I am already taking prescribed psychotropic medications?

A:  As a licensed psychologist, I cannot prescribe or manage your medications. One or more of your physicians, such as a Psychiatrist, Family Physician, or General Internist, can help you evaluate your need for medications, changes in doses, changing medications, or combining medications. I am supportive of various approaches including: 

Using psychotropic medications in combination with psychotherapy 

Deferring psychotropic medications until you/we see your progress with psychotherapy, or 

Trying psychotropic medications first and deferring psychotherapy 

If you currently do not have a physician to prescribe these medications, then I can help you find one. 

Q:  What will you (Dr. Schwartz) probably recommend regarding evaluation and management of medical symptoms and conditions? 

A:  You also need to have a local physician (e.g. Family Physician, Internal Medicine Physician, or medical specialist) to manage your medical symptoms and conditions. You need to establish and/or maintain such care for medical symptoms and conditions. I can help you find one if needed. 

Q:  I heard that some components of your approach (such as cognitive-behavioral, relaxation therapies, time-management, pain management) emphasizes homework. Please describe these types of homework?

A:  Therapy is a process that typically involves and requires “homework” assignments between office sessions. This can involve one or more of the following: 

Reading also known as bibliotherapy 

Keeping a log of (writing down) your symptoms, thoughts, moods, behaviors, symptoms, and/or the ways you interact with other people and situations 

Making lists, goal setting, and priorities

Putting into practice what is discussed in office sessions (such as various relaxation procedures, time use management methods, other stress management methods) 

Practice with biofeedback devices 

Q:  Do you, Dr. Schwartz, do Psychological Testing and Assessments?

A:  I do provide some types of psychological testing and assessments if and when indicated. These typically involve measures of symptoms, personality features, and diagnoses. I also provide vocational interest measures. I have done all of these throughout my career. I no longer provide Neuropsychological Assessments or Academic Assessments. If these are indicated or requested, I will discuss options including referrals to other professionals. 

Q:  Who answers phone calls and email messages?

A:  I respond to all phone calls and emails, and typically do so within 24 hours. Please speak clearly when leaving voice mails. 

Q:  What websites can help me better understand more about the therapies provided?

A:  Consider the following websites:

Check the LINKS tab on this website for other website links. 

Check the Patient Education tab on this website for documents prepared for this website. 

Q:  When you are away from Jacksonville, or when I am away for a few to several weeks, and I want or need psychotherapy, are you available by telephone?

A:  Yes. A limited number of telephone-based sessions can be provided if requested and needed. Some insurance companies will pay for such sessions. Contact your insurance company to check on your specific policy. 

Q:  Can we use email to exchange information, questions and answers?

A:  Limit your content to my gmail domain to non confidential information. For anything confidential, use my encrypted email to .  Although it is very common for people to use email to communicate personal and other information, it is important to remember that non-encrypted internet-based email is not secure and confidential. Nevertheless, there are times when using email and text messages might be most practical for you such as confirming or changing appointments. However, avoid very personal and confidential information within emails and text messages. 

Questions About Fees and Payment

Check the fees section for details.

Q:  What are your fees?

A:  The fee for the initial intake evaluation ranges from $400 to $800 depending on complexity and duration. The fee for 1-2 hour therapy sessions range from $180 to $360. The fee for Psychological Testing varies from $200 to $800. 

Q:  Do you charge for letters?

A:  There is no charge for routine professional letters such as those to other professionals and to insurance companies. For special letters that you request there is a fee of $200. to $800.

Q:  Do you charge for missed sessions for which there is insufficient advance notice? 

A:  Probably. Advance notice by phone or email of at least 24 hours is needed to cancel or change appointments. A “late cancellation” fee of $50 to $100 is standard. Insurance does not pay for this thus you are responsible for this fee. 

Q:  Do you take health care insurance?

A:  Dr. Mark S. Schwartz is credentialed as an in-network provider with Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

With other insurance companies Dr. Schwartz is an out-of-network provider. Contact your insurance company and inquire about your mental health "out-of-network benefits". Many policies reimburse a part of the fees depending on the plan and deductible. You will need to pay Dr. Schwartz the full fee.

Q:  Do you have a sliding scale? 

A:  Under some circumstances, such as financial hardship, this office might be able to see you for a limited number sessions for less than normal fees. 

Q:  Do you take credit cards? 

A:  Yes. I use PayPal. 

If you have additional questions or would like to discuss any of the above Questions or Answers in greater detail, then please contact me. 

These fee options are for your convenience if you are unable to send a check or pay with cash. Not all fees are currently listed. Please contact me with any questions.