Episode 163 ENCORE The Best Of HCP | Managing The Stigma Of Holistic Counseling: Interview With Janis Cohen

Jan 10, 2024

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Have you ever worried that you will be judged by others because you use holistic strategies in therapy? Do you feel like you are in the “holistic closet” due to people’s misperceptions about holistic modalities? Can you stand in confidence in your work?

MEET Janis Cohen

Janis R. Cohen, LCSW, is internationally known as The Intuitive Therapist. She has worked with children, adults, couples, and families for almost three decades. Janis combines her extensive clinical expertise with psychic and intuitive gifts of clairvoyance, empathy, and mediumship. She uses this unique skill set to get to the root of a challenge with razor-sharp accuracy and to offer specific and effective strategies to resolve her client’s problems. 

In addition, Janis offers Intuitive Therapeutic Psychic Readings to people who want clarity and direction for their most pressing issues around money, love, relationships, and health as well as connecting them with loved ones who have crossed over. 

Janis has authored articles in PINK Magazine, Associated Press, and has published her own columns in local newspapers such as The Jewish Times, Aquarius Magazine, and Conscious Living Magazine. Her podcast, The Intuitive Therapist, merges therapy with intuition, spirituality, and metaphysics.

Find out more at Janis Cohen and connect with Janis on  Instagram


  • Stand in your confidence
  • Stepping into your gifts
  • Find your holistic community

Stand In Your Confidence

I work with clients all the time who I help [to] stand in their confidence … if you are able to help people with the gifts and skill sets that you have, shout that from the rooftops, and you know what? The right people are going to come to you and support you, and the right people are going to come to be your clients. You’re going to find your groove. (Janis R. Cohen)

You need to stand in your confidence in what it is that you do. Do not be apologetic or uncertain.

Most people have interests in the work that you openly enjoy doing, so appreciate your skills and abilities and put them to good use.

It may not be an easy journey in the beginning because this work is not for everybody, but if it is for you, then have passion for the work that you do and commit to expanding your skills and expertise.

Stepping Into Your Gifts

One of the first things to do, if you are feeling nervous about your work, is to address the fear that you feel may arise if you do fully step into your gifts. What is scary about explaining your work to people?

To me, getting comfortable with your gifts is [about] understanding the fact that it is who you are, and you have every right to not want to … publicize it, however, you are sacrificing who you are. You are risking not being able to influence and model for other people standing in your truth. (Janis R. Cohen)

Judgment is a big piece that people fear, but counter that by asking what if it helps people? What if you can teach people in your life the things that you know and do well? They can become some of your best supporters.

Finding Your Holistic Community

Surround yourself with people who support and inspire you.

Talk to other people and build those connections that support because [it helps to know] other people who … experience this, who also promote themselves and have a business with whatever their holistic strategies are. (Chris McDonald)

Seek out colleagues, mentors, and advisors who either are in your current position or have been there who can help support you.

Join various groups and meet-ups, search for knowledge and you will find those who have similar interests and stories to yours.

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The Art of Breath: How to Integrate Breathwork Techniques for Effective Therapy Sessions with Chris McDonald, LCMHCS

Resources Mentioned And Useful Links:

Find out more at Janis Cohen and connect with Janis on  Instagram


Chris McDonald: Hey there, it's Chris McDonald. This is the third in my Encore series of the Best of the Holistic Counseling podcast. I'm taking a break right now, so I wanted to focus on my self care, but still offer you some valuable content that you might've missed. So today's episode was an interview I had with Janice Cohen, and she touches on a topic that impacts so many of us in the holistic counseling field, And that is how to manage the stigma of holistic counseling.

Many therapists, counselors are fearful of coming out of the holistic closet and worry about judgment from others in the field. She dives into the importance of standing in your confidence, stepping into your gifts. and building your holistic community. So grab your crystals, a blanket, and get cozy for an episode you don't want to miss.

This is Holistic Counseling, the podcast for mental health therapists who want to deepen their knowledge of holistic modalities and build their practice with confidence. I'm your host, Chris McDonald, Licensed Therapist. I am so glad you're here for the journey.

Have you ever worried about being judged by others because you use holistic strategies in your therapy? If you Are you afraid others won't take you seriously as a professional, or maybe you've already had some negative experience with judgment from others, as well as criticism based on information out there.

If you feel you are in the holistic closet because of the stigma of holistic counseling and therapy, this episode is for you. I'm happy to bring back a former guest, Janice R. Cohen, who helped us discover how we all could be an intuitive therapist on one of my bonus episodes. Janice is going to discuss today.

Causes for the stigma on holistic counseling, her personal journey through it, and how you can take steps today to overcome that fear of judgment and be more authentic in your counseling practice. In 2016, Janice published her first book called The Intuitive Therapist. Janice also has a podcast called The Intuitive Therapist Podcast, which she merges intuition, spirituality, metaphysics, and therapeutic wisdom to teach listeners how they can master their emotional, psychological, spiritual.

And financial destiny to ultimately achieve courage, confidence and certainty in all aspects of their lives. Welcome back to the podcast. Janice glad to be back. Yay, can you can you tell my listeners more about yourself and your work?

Janis Cohen: Yeah, I, uh, I've been a therapist for about 30 years and about 13 years ago.

Um, the trajectory of my practice completely shifted. It kind of blew itself out of the water. I had been a traditional therapist for much of my career, 17, 18 years of it. And then, uh, it felt like overnight, um, my intuition skyrocketed. My psychic gifts opened up, um, and my gifts of clairvoyance. Uh, clear seeing, clear sentience, clear feeling, clear cognizance, clear knowing, um, I was psychic and I could see things other people, uh, couldn't necessarily see images, words, people, places, uh, clients, challenges with laser accuracy, the blocks, uh, and the solutions.

Um, and also, uh, my gifts as a medium. So that changed the trajectory of how I work with my clients. And, uh, I was able to rebrand myself as the intuitive therapist, not just a therapist. Um,

Chris McDonald: and we talk about the Claire's and how you can discover that in the bonus episode. If you haven't listened to that, I highly recommend going back and listening to that as well as more about how to be an intuitive therapist, which is I think so awesome.

And it really upgrades your whole counseling sessions with clients. Just so cool. Yeah, we're not going to go into that today. So we already there. Right. So we're going to move on to today's topic, which is the stigma around holistic counseling, holistic strategies and therapy. And I asked Janice to come on because I know you.

Are one that has gone through this and you had to hope you did a whole rebranding and understand what this is like. So what do you think are the reasons for stigma around holistic strategies?

Janis Cohen: Well, I think people don't know where to put them. They're not there. It's almost like they're not trustworthy.

It's true. Yeah, people. Yeah. People assume that there's There's no scientific basis for any kind of intervention. Uh, there are interventions, holistic interventions that for a lot of people feel like, um, they just doubt too much. You know, if it's not a theory that's already been proven, if it doesn't have scientific data to back it up, if there's not been a book written about it, if they if they come from whoever whoever it is, comes from a very, uh, kind of old school, uh, concrete based way of thinking about what intervention looks like than anything beyond the norm is going to be really hard to accept.

And I have to tell a story about this. I remember years ago when I attended a, a, a conference for my state licensure, I was in a breakout session. And we're going around the room. There are probably about 40 people in the room before the speaker spoke. And she asked everybody to give their name and what they did for a living and everybody did traditional stuff.

They were caseworkers or therapists or counselors or or caregivers or whatever it was. And then it got to me and I was in the back of the room just happened to be and I said, yep, I've been a therapist and I'm a clairvoyant empath in medium. And when I tell you literally, I felt the energy change in the room.

It went dead silent. I bet. And it felt like the energy was, the air was sucked out of the room. Nobody said a word. They just looked. And then I just smiled because I was so proud. Like it was not my first encounter. I encounter this a lot. Uh, and I actually enjoy sharing with people what I do to just see how uncomfortable they get.

Because it's, it's,

Chris McDonald: it's great. Yeah.

Janis Cohen: It's fun for me to help people, uh, hear something new, learn something new, but also so encounter somebody who is so solid in it, you know, so solid in who I am. And so. It's it was it was very, very funny. And then the person next to me just she just started to explain what she did.

Um, and then you could feel the energy kind of get back to what was, I guess, normalcy. Um, the beautiful thing is that I had, uh, at the break, I had probably about 5 or 10 people come up to me and say, hey, you know. Kind of like they whispered, like, yeah, I, I kind of dabble into the holistic stuff too. But I'm too scared to tell anybody.

The secret society,

Chris McDonald: right?

Janis Cohen: Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I said, please. Yeah. So it was wonderful. That's a great example. Yeah, it was great to kind of pave the way for some people to come up and, and chat and kind of come out. I think that

Chris McDonald: shows your level of confidence now that how you've grown and because I don't think a lot of people are at that level that a lot of listeners are because I know a lot of the people I have on this podcast that talk about holistic strategies.

There's a hesitancy even before we begin recording, like, is

Janis Cohen: this okay, right?

Chris McDonald: Am I going to be like, what are people going to say? What's going to happen when this goes out? And then when, you know, when the link gets sent, they're like, maybe, I don't know, should we. Actually

Janis Cohen: do this. You know what? And I really when I laugh, I laugh.

I'm not mocking people. Exactly. I work with clients all the time who have to help, uh, help them stand in their confidence. Yeah. You know, because the way I see it, it's like, if you're able to help people with the gifts and skill sets that you have shop that from the rooftops. And you know what? You're the right people are going to come to you and support you.

The right people are going to come to be, uh, your clients. Um, you're going to, you're going to find your groove and you're going to find your, uh, your group. Uh, so I help clients, uh, a lot, um, people who are, who are their own entrepreneurs, you know, their own business owners really deeply grounded. And the confidence of showing up in the truth of who they are.

Chris McDonald: And that's not always an easy journey in the beginning. I think not to minimize that for anyone, it's really difficult, you know, coming out with this podcast as well has been challenging, um, cause I'm not gonna lie, it's not for everybody. Not everybody is meant to do holistic counseling or to learn energy healing, and that's okay.

Everybody's got their own walk, but you know, I was, I was messaging Janice about an instance where there was judgment about my podcast in the local therapist community. And, um, she was just like to be expected and as good, you're letting people think, I think you said letting people think, getting people to think about this and explore other ways of doing counseling.

Yeah. Which is a totally different reframe. For me, I'm panicked. I'm like, Oh my God, what's

Janis Cohen: happening? Right. You know, I, I, I have several people who are referred to me from traditional psychotherapists. Um, and they, they hadn't even bothered to look up my information. They just got my number. Got my name and called.

And so I always ask, um, you know, have you heard of me? Do you know what I do? And so I explained to them what I do and, and they're always like, that is really, that is really cool. How does that work? So the beauty of it is that I enjoy explaining how it works to people. It is so fun for me because it's so much a part of my lifestyle, not just my work, but who I am.

And. What I have found with, uh, just clients that I work with who are just for their own sake, developing their gifts, uh, and even entrepreneurs who are looking to, to, uh, expand and develop their gifts to accentuate, uh, their, their practice. I find the hesitancy is based in the fear of what people will think it is that there's judgment there that, oh, my gosh, if, if, if I say that I'm, uh, I'm in acupuncture crystals or, or psychic stuff or read cards, people are going to reject me.

People are going to think that I'm a wacko, a weirdo, too much woo woo, or that I'm not credible. That piece to me is what I feel like is the crux of what I help, help my clients with is, is really aligning with the credibility that exists simply because they have the skill set. And a lot of people don't get that.

You know, that's true. So many people are give to everybody's intuitive. Like I said, especially in the first podcast that we recorded to get everybody is, and in my opinion, everybody's psychic to a lot of people will deny that. Um, but just as when people learn something new, they question their credibility, they question their ability, they question whether or not they're good enough.

So it's the same thing when it comes to really owning, stepping into the ownership of your gifts. How do you do that? Step into it. Yeah, that I love that question. It's a great question. I feel like one of the most important things to address first is what the fear is if you did ask clients a lot. You know what?

What's so scary about letting people know that, um, I have this one client. Actually, I'll give you a story. I love stories. She's a hairdresser in Georgia, 7 Georgia. Yeah. And, uh, it's very, the area that she lives in is very religious and they don't, I guess they don't have people like her around where she is a, she turns out to be a medical intuitive.

She came to me originally. And I'm going to get to how you, how you step into that certainty. She came to me originally knowing that she had some gifts. She didn't kind of know what they were, um, but she knew she wanted to develop them. And that's where most of my clients start. They come to me like, I think I have these gifts.

And they don't even think about building a business because they already have their careers or they're married and they don't have to work or, you know, whatever. They've got other things going on. But as it turns out, the stronger she got in, in really learning how to connect with her gifts, had to build that intuitive, psychic, holistic currency within herself.

In other words, she proved to herself that these skills and gifts were valid simply by honoring them. And following through with them. Um, and so over time, she, she became more confident and then it turns out that as she meditated, as she grounded, as she, uh, took other courses to, uh, expand her gifts, she ended up connecting with a guide, G U I D E, uh, who actually has been her, her force of, of working with her to help, help people medically intuitively.

Uh, and so it, it really developed in such a beautiful, uh, evolution for her. Um, so to me, getting comfortable with your gifts is really understanding the fact that it is who you are and you have every right to not want to shout that from the rooftops, to not want to publicize it. However, You are sacrificing who you are.

You are risking not being able to, uh, influence and model for other people standing in your truth. And so judgment without a doubt is a huge piece that I think people fear. What if somebody thinks I'm weird? What if they don't like what I do? What if I lose my business because of it? And so I love to counter that.

I love to be devil's advocate. And I love to ask, well, what if you don't? What if, what if the people in your life, you're able to teach them what you do, educate them enough about what you do, that they become your most avid supporters? What if the people who walk away needed to walk away and that made room for people who were really on your team?

What if people didn't judge you? What if, if you were standing in your truth, you allowed people to really look at how they were living their lives. See, those are the kinds of questions that I ask, because great reframes, right? So, because we, we have these beliefs that we think are real. It's all projection and it's all because we aren't comfortable with who we are.

And if you think back on your life, you know, different aspects of your life that you look back, Chris, like 10 years ago. Um, would you ever thought that you were, would be sitting where you are right now? Absolutely not. No. If somebody said to you, Hey, yeah, you'll be a podcaster and talking about all of this stuff, and you, you

Chris McDonald: would've said, yeah, no, and a yoga teacher.

I know that was never on, on my goal list, right? So

Janis Cohen: look at your life now. Look at what you have exactly achieved. simply because you kind of really, you didn't consider anything else. You didn't consider the opposite, the negative. I always like to reframe and I feel like that it's so important to help people anchor into giving themselves permission to, um,

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They're not meant for your podcast. They're not your people.

Janis Cohen: That's okay. And on mine, it's so funny because I look at mine. I think I have a few, uh, less than desirable ratings and one negative review and I'm like, well, cool. You know, because I, I, I know my style is very, very straightforward, but I do with love.

I do with compassion, but I, over the years, I mean, I've been doing this for almost 30 years. I, I don't mince words and I believe in that. And there are a lot of people who aren't ready to hear the truth. And when you're not ready to hear the truth, um, then you poo poo it, or you criticize it, or you judge it because you're not ready.

And I always say to, to my clients, you know what? Enjoy the fact that other people have a problem with what you do, because all you have to do is just have compassion with the fact that they Aren't on the path that you are. And that's really okay. Everybody's on a different path at a different time. And it may be that 5 years later, 10 years later, 6 months later, they may encounter somebody who is holistic, who changes their lives.

And then they'll look back and they'll go, wow. I can't, you know, back in the day, I, I didn't believe so and so that, that, uh, what she had to offer, uh, would work or, or made sense. So, you never know. And I always say, I always keep saying, I always say, because I do, uh, have compassion for people who don't get it

Chris McDonald: yet.

That's true. Yes. I like how you said that. Because they may in the future, you don't know what's going to

Janis Cohen: happen. Right. You never know.

Chris McDonald: And I wonder, too, thinking about standing in your truth and building that foundation of confidence, if some of that can come from the effectiveness of what you're doing and getting that

Janis Cohen: message out there.

Sure, sure, sure. Without a doubt. I think when I talk about, um, uh, intuitive currency, personal currency, what I'm really talking about is how you value yourself. Um, that is the most important thing is how you value yourself. Do you yourself believe in your gifts? Do you yourself believe in your capabilities?

Because if you don't, how are you going to possibly expect that other people will? It's impossible. Yeah. That's where you got to start is, do I believe if, if I went to, uh, to get trained as, as you have as a yoga expert. teaching expert. Um, it's something I believe in. I invested a lot of time, a lot of weekends, daily

Chris McDonald: practice, right?

A lot of classes,

Janis Cohen: a lot of teaching, a lot of, you know, uh, giving free classes and, and, uh, passing the test studying. Uh, that was for, that wasn't just for, uh, you know, hoots and hollers. It meant something to you. And if you have gifts that you can offer, Uh, no question. You gotta value them first before anybody else is going to value what you've got.


Chris McDonald: like some reflection maybe would be a good start for people to journal. I always go to journaling. Yeah. For those kind of things to take that time to really ask, answer those questions. Do I believe in my gifts and in myself and what I'm doing? That would be a good prompt.

Janis Cohen: No question. No question.

I love journaling. Uh, I write all the time, uh, whenever I feel Like I have a block or I'm stuck, I just either I'll write in a journal, literally write in a journal that I have or get on the computer and I'll just start typing and I'll open myself up to receive guidance and I literally will be typing, typing a conversation between me and my guides and it really, really clears the way.

No question. I think so many people get stuck in their heads. Maybe you can get that go for Charles. Uh, it really opens the doorway to, to receive. Yeah.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, and I think getting more connections with other people in the holistic community can make a big difference to as you talk about this topic and, you know, understand how other people have found their way that might be able to give you some inspiration to find your own way as

Janis Cohen: well.

No question. And a lot of people I think will just say, well, I just kind of kept doing it. I liked it. It was interesting. So I just kept doing it. And then eventually people, people heard, you know, and you'll hear that, which is great.

Chris McDonald: Yeah. Cause I had a client that wanted to start a psychic business and she was really had a lot of those fears, like really deep embedded.

And this was somebody from the South, also a Southern that was not accepting nobody in her family. Um, had any. Of these gifts or understood any holistic strategies, but you know what she did gradually, she started to come out just, I hate to say come out of the closet, come out of the whole spiritual closet.

Yeah. Yeah. So she started to come out just with some friends a little bit at a time. And, and you know what? Was interesting is she didn't get criticism or judgment or, you know, Bible versus she got acceptance and then she came out to some cousins that she was really scared of. So that was some of our goals and counseling was to, you know, bring this out more.

And the more she did it, they were like, can we have a reading?

Janis Cohen: Yes. Right. Right. I remember in my own family, um, you know, my, my, I, I'm, I'm one of four kids and a baby of four and my immediate older sister, she's gifted. Uh, she hears things, um, and my, and her wife is very, very gifted too. Uh, but it took me about three

Chris McDonald: years to really

Janis Cohen: get my family to offer me credibility.

Like, They believed it because I would tell story after story after story of readings about sessions about past life regressions and what came up. And eventually they're like, ah, ah, what transformation amazing. And of course now they see what I've, what I've done with my business. Um, so it was pretty legit at this point.

Um, but I, I, I came from the position of had a desire to share. I didn't have a desire to convince. Uh, to

Chris McDonald: share

Janis Cohen: not convinced, right? There's a difference between trying to push who you are onto somebody versus sharing who you are and if they if they can appreciate it. Great. If they can't no problem. You have just waited them out.

So be it. But

Chris McDonald: I think too, like my family, I'm the, sometimes I feel like the black sheep, you know, cause I'm not only want to sit into yoga so much and meditation and breath work, all that. So I think that's probably how a lot of listeners might feel too. Like nobody in my family does this. I have nobody to talk to.

So I think again, going back to that holistic community to talk to other people too, and build those connections and that support. Cause I think you do need support with. Other people going who also I'm going to say going through it, but experience this. Yes. To an extent that also promote themselves and have a business with, you know, whatever their holistic strategies are.

Janis Cohen: No question. And I think seeking mentors is great. Uh, when I first started out. Uh, really getting to know my gifts. I joined meetup groups for psychic development, tarot card reading, um, channeling, you know, whatever it was, whatever I could read tons of books, like I devoured, uh, learning and, and so there's always a forum to lean into.

There's always a class to to take. There's always somebody on the Internet somewhere. This is true. We could just call and ask a few questions. Um, or YouTube videos like now all you got to do is hop on the computer and you, you have the world at your fingertips. And so there's so many people who, who are, who are for lack of a better term veteran in this field of spirituality and holistic work who, who share their story.

Because when you first start out, you are not confident. You're scared. And especially if you're somebody who grew up, uh, seeing, um, spirits or feeling things or having prophetic dreams, prophetic thoughts and, and bad things would happen. Or you, you shared, uh, when you were a little boy or girl and you shared.

Uh, that you had seen somebody or knew this and your parent or grandparent or somebody said, don't ever talk about that again. You got a lot to overcome. Yeah. Uh, there's a lot of, of courage and strength that you've got to build within you to, to move beyond experiencing that again. Cause you will.

Chris McDonald: Yes, and I think you're right.

Maybe there is some prior stories of being shut down by family or friends. And

Janis Cohen: yeah, I hear it all the time. Yeah. And that that those experiences when you're 345, they're scary. You don't understand them because they just exist. And the younger that we are, the closer to God, right? So the more innocent our soul is.

So we, we, we can access our gifts much more easily. We don't even need to actually access and they just they're there. Um, but if you shut down, if somebody shuts you down. Um. It can be an experience to open up again because of the shame or guilt

Chris McDonald: or yes, which might lead you to getting your own personal psychotherapy and get it.

And of course, sometimes we need coaches too. I think coaches can be another way to help you through. Maybe you do need someone who is like Janice who understands holistic things and yeah. And you help a lot of therapists, right? Yes, yes, yes. And

Janis Cohen: I. I work, yeah, with therapists, coaches and counselors and actually had, uh, somebody, uh, this morning call me today.

She, um, she's a leadership coach. She already has a business, like, but she, she practices mindfulness, uh, as well and teaches that and, but she has gifts and she wants to know how to step into the confidence of, of embracing that and melding the two together. And so, um, Very common that I hear about, uh, uh, entrepreneurs in that kind of we'll call it a predicament.

Chris McDonald: Yeah, that sounds like it very common. So knowing that this is a common thread to that, you're not alone in feeling that initially to, there's no judgment for that.

Janis Cohen: I celebrate differences. I think that's 1 of the joys about life and getting older is that you realize that being different, yeah. That is so fantastic.

It really is. It's because you get to, you get to pave your own way. There's nobody else like you.

Chris McDonald: Exactly. So Janice, is there anything else you wanted to share today about this topic?

Janis Cohen: I just want people to, uh, whoever's worried about Uh, leaning into their, their, uh, gifts, developing them. Uh, if they feel like they're alone, I just want to assure you and Chris is assuring you, you're not, um.

Build that currency within you practice every day, get testimonials, work with other people, seek, uh, counsel and, uh, connect with other people that are, that are part of your tribe. And I promise you that will help give you, uh, the, the, the confidence to start. building your brand. Um, and also always, Hey, if there's a question and you need some help, I'm here.

Chris is here. And, uh, absolutely. We would both be happy to have a conversation with you to see to see where you're stuck and how we could possibly help.

Chris McDonald: Excellent. Well, what's the best way for listeners to find you and learn more about you?

Janis Cohen: You can, uh, find me at Janice R. Cohen dot com. That's J. A. N. I. S.

R. C. O. H. E. N. dot com. Um, I have my podcast on iTunes, hot bean stitcher, Spotify, Google and it's called the intuitive therapist podcast and my book is also called the intuitive therapist and it's on Amazon and Barnes and

Chris McDonald: Noble. And it's one of the best books I've read about intuition. I will rave again about your book.

Janis Cohen: Thank you. I'm so glad you read it. I love it. I so, so appreciate

Chris McDonald: it. And thanks again for coming on for this important topic, Janice. I really appreciate

Janis Cohen: you. I appreciate you. Happy to be here, my friend.

Chris McDonald: And thank you to my listeners for tuning in to today's episode. Please help the podcast keep growing by rating and reviewing the show so we can keep giving you these amazing guests and episodes.

And once again, this is Chris McDonald sending each one of you much light and love till next time. Take care. Thanks for listening. The information in this podcast is for general educational purposes only. And it is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher or the guests are giving legal financial counseling or any advice.

If you need a professional, please find the right one for you. The holistic counseling podcast is proudly part of the site craft network.

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