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 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 2 or 3 sessions. However, many need more sessions, typically at least 10 and sometimes a few dozen sessions over several months. The 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 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 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 very few and particular 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., antidepressants, tranquilizers)? 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 do not have a physician to prescribe these medications, I can help you find one. 

Q:  What will you (Dr. Schwartz) probably recommend regarding evaluating and managing medical symptoms and conditions? 

A:  I usually recommend having a local physician (e.g., Family Physician, Internal Medicine Physician, or medical specialist) to manage your medical symptoms and conditions. You must 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, and pain management) emphasize 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 articles, my patient education documents, and books. This is known as bibliotherapy.

Keeping a log of (writing down) your symptoms, thoughts, moods, behaviors, 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, assertiveness, and other stress management methods). 

Practice with biofeedback devices.

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

A:  I provide some types of psychological testing and assessments. These typically involve measures of symptoms, personality features, attitudes, experiences, past experiences, 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 voicemails. 

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 you 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 common for people to use email to communicate personal and other information, it is essential to remember that non-encrypted internet-based email is not secure and not 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 ranges 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 you request, there is a fee of $200 to $1000.

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 some 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, I might be able to see you for a limited number of sessions for less than my usual fees. 

Q:  Do you take credit cards? 

A:  Yes. You can use your credit card, debit card, or HSA card on my PayPal account on this website. 

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