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Shirley Boyle, CCH

4024 Ibis Street, Mission Hills

"Be kind and loving and truthful," Boyle advised callers to her voice mail recently. "Take a little time to slow down and just be." Some of her clients want to stop biting their nails or banish a phobia, which she says usually takes five or six sessions ($80 apiece). Most common are those desperate to lose weight or stop smoking, the easiest problems to fix, she says. Boyle's smoking-cessation program includes three sessions over the course of three or four weeks and costs $275. Right before every California bar exam, she gets a flood of people who are racked by anxiety. In every case she can supplement the sessions with tapes (an additional $10).

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