Joshua F. Mark LCSW

My beliefs about therapy guide me in my practice:


Interested in, and influenced by Michael White and David Epston, the originators of Narrative Therapy, (  I have come to recognize that the people I work with, are indeed the  experts of their own lives. I remain committed to all I can do to respect this notion as I work collaboratively, whatever the problem or concern.

Narrative Therapists have a saying, "The problem is the problem, the person is not problem." I’ve found that this non-blaming way of thinking opens up more space to  work collaboratively in dealing with life problems. I owe much to my  teachers and colleagues in the realm of Narrative practices, especially  Jill Freedman and Gene Combs. They are internationally recognized, yet  I’m lucky enough to be in within bike riding distance to their coach-house office in Evanston.   


We are all not all the same!  Cultural, ethnic, racial, social class, gender, sexual preference...and  many other factors, shape the stories of who we are,  what we value,  our privilege, and  what we know to be true. We are certainly not all treated equally, or fairly. These social realties are often left out of most psychotherapy, and what have come to the known "best practices," but these  considerations are a cornerstone to narrative practice.

Another aspect of diversity, that I think is often under appreciated is that our individual brains are unique.  Perhaps there is really no such thing really as "neuro-typical" person.  Since the mid 1990’s I have had the opportunity to expand my work with  clients who learn and process life experience in unique ways, known as  "learning differences." My background in this area, in combination with  Narrative Therapy ways of thinking have yielded many new possibilities  and useful outcomes in my collaborative work. I enjoy my time with these  often remarkable people.

In this 21st century, there continue to  be new discoveries about the brain, the "hardware" of our cognitions and  emotions. Alongside these developments have been the re-emergence of  prescientific ancient wisdoms regarding meditation and awareness. Today  these practices are known as "mindfulness" approaches, and I’m happy to  share and work out the best ways to utilize these ideas with the people I  work with.

"The Diagnosis Disclaimer" - A Diagnosis does not define who you are, have been, or will become”... is  something you’ll see on my monthly statement.  I place  the diagnosis code there to validate insurance reimbursement, but I like  to talk openly with people about what this means to them, and perhaps  how to position themselves in a preferred way in regards to this label.

I learn so much from  my clients. Being a social worker, and now a social work teacher, has  allowed me the opportunity to grow and change over time in ways that few  professions provide. I am deeply honored to do this meaningful work.  Thank-you.