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sounds to me like you have a vacuum leak. When you lose vacuum the brake booster doesn't operate right. You need to go too a different mechanic. Could be the idle selonoid staying open or even a bad brake booster or vacuum hose came off.
Does it start better after sitting overnight? Is it missing at all? Check engine light? Hard starting could be fuel pump, also lack of power could be lack of fuel. If it starts better after sitting overnight, could be block catalytic converter. That would also explain lack of power. If you have to hold gas pedal half way down trying to get speed would explain why it is not going into overdrive. Hope this gives you some direction.
If it seems to run well otherwise, you might have a partially obstructed catalytic convertor. Usually if this is the problem, the engine will also bog down even if you try to rev it up when it is in neutral.
1st check your breather pipe on the fuel tank as it could be blocked and not breathing air into tank
This will happen after filling up with fuel and untill you haved used about 1to 2 gallons.
Other wise check fuel pump for either slight air leak or filter blockage...
The computer will not allow the car to full rev in park to protect the engine. Likewise there is a rev limiter when in drive which will shut down injectors at high engine speeds usually around 5000 RPM or so.