Services and Fees

Boyd Eustace is a licensed clinical professional counselor, and Board Approved Clinical Supervisor, with over 25 years of experience providing psychotherapy, coaching and mentoring, agency consulting, and clinical/general supervision. Boyd provides psychotherapy and coaching services for adults, young adults, and couples in his private practice located in the Mount Vernon area in Baltimore City.

My psychotherapy fees are set affordably so that my services are accessible to as many people as possible. Insurance is not accepted, but, at your discretion, you will provided with a detailed receipt with a diagnosis which can be forwarded to your insurance carrier to be reimbursed for out of network benefits if you are eligible.

My fee for psychotherapy is $90 per 1-hour session. The initial evaluation is typically a 90-minute session at an adjusted rate of $115. We will assess your problems, help you identify self-defeating themes, set short-term goals, and I will introduce you to the REBT/CBT paradigm during the initial session (s). We will then begin working together to reduce your emotional disturbances, as well as modify your patterns of responding to situations, so that you can flourish in life, work, and relationships.

Psychotherapy is an investment that can change your life. It is typically brief, and you should expect to find some level of emotional relief, as well as improvement in your career and relationships, within the first few weeks of treatment.  The initial goals and tasks of therapy usually relate to reducing pain and removing obstacles to successful living and healthy relationships. Then, the goals and tasks often progress to include the domains of personal growth and flourishing. Psychotherapy works best when you complete home assignments and rehearse adaptive ways of thinking and responding to your life circumstances.

Psychotherapy sessions are scheduled on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, but are also flexibly scheduled as your resources permit.

My fee for life coaching services is $250 per month. This fee includes: Two 90-minute sessions per month; Two follow-up emails per week; One 20-minute phone call per week; a daily goal-tracking spreadsheet that can be co-monitored on Google Drive or a shared document site; hand-outs and other resources. I use a Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy life coaching approach, but also bring in other resources and strategies from 30 years of career and relationship training experience.

My fee for clinical supervision is $80 per 1-hour session, but sometimes a sliding scale is provided for graduate students in training based on the student’s resource limitations and professional growth objectives.

I also provide corporate workshops and agency consulting and training.  My fee depends upon the needs and requirements of the agency.

Appointments for psychotherapy and life coaching are available weekday evenings at 5 and 6 pm, Saturdays from 8 am to 5 pm, and Sunday mornings from 9 am to 11 am.

Phone: 443-964-1969.

You may also fill out the contact form below and I will respond to your inquiry within 24 hours.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Ideas for Effective Living by Walter J. Matweychuk, Ph.D.

  1. Emotional Responsibility: People a life give me the opportunity to get upset. I can choose not to disturb myself when they create adversity for me so I can take constructive action. I can choose how I feel when life is rough.
  2. Unconditional Self and Other Acceptance: Humans are born mistake makers. It is best to accept myself and others unconditionally because we are human. Reject and penalize misbehavior, but fully accept the fallible human.
  3. Uncertainty Tolerance: I dislike uncertainty. I can act and live well despite it. Even though I may fail, I can take calculated risks to achieve my goals.
  4. Discomfort Tolerance: Frustration and discomfort are difficult to bear. I can and will tolerate the discomfort required to achieve my important life goals.
  5. Self-Direction: Without approval from others, I can choose to make my own choices in life and be responsible for the outcome of my decisions. I am willing to pay some price for owning myself and my choices.
  6. Vitally Absorbing Interests: I will tend to be healthier and happier if I maintain a vitally absorbing interest and significant human involvement.
  7. Tolerance of Life: Utopias do not exist and it is best to accept the difficulties of life. I will change what can be changed and not upset myself over what cannot be changed. I can have some degree of happiness despite my adversities.
  8. Acceptance: Things do not absolutely have to be as I want them to be. I disturb myself by demanding reality to be as I think it should be instead of accepting it as it is and striving to control and change what is within my domain of influence.

“Seeing” others: Contingency and the Human – Perspectives from Philosophy by Gerald Phillips, Ph.D.

The two essays offered by Boyd on his recent posts raise questions that have important connections to concerns in the philosophy of science as well as aesthetics. The following observations are offered only to outline some ideas put forward by philosophers that support Boyd’s assertions. I am not a therapist. I cannot directly speak to those concerns. But I can offer some insights I have found useful from the work of a couple of contemporary American philosophers, Joseph Margolis and Richard Rorty. Part of the effort here is to briefly explore the phenomenon of contingency. The points that Boyd makes bring contingency into focus in ways that show that many of our efforts to construct more stable theoretical foundations and develop a more “professional” and “clinical” approach to patients (students, colleagues, and practice in general), can be deleterious to the very outcomes we believe we are pursuing.

If there seems to be interest in further discussion, I would be humbled and very happy to share in further interactions. I would also add that none of these ideas will be entirely new to most readers who would be attracted to this blog. I am simply trying to lay out a general perspective which I have found useful in thinking about the ideas Boyd and I have discussed, and that Boyd offers here.

American philosopher Joseph Margolis offers the following distillation of forty years of philosophical thought: He argues that the “structure of reality and the structure of human thought are inextricably symbiotized.” They are not independent entities, standing somehow separate from each other. The final, linking term for Margolis is not perhaps the expected one. Rather than synthesis, Margolis calls the relationship between mind and world symbiotic. The term synthesis is commonly associated by many of us with ideas or concepts, is also a prominent thesis in biology, implying that two different ideas or phenomena are somehow united into one. In most syntheses, both elements (or, each member of the collection of elements involved in the synthesis, should there be more than two) must give up significant aspects of their particularity in order to produce the synthesis—the synthesis is, in some ways, both significantly more and less than the individual entities incorporated into it.

Symbiosis is a term closely associated with nature, with the biological, although like the term synthesis, it has become a term utilized in several fields. There are types of symbiosis in the world (and in our own bodies) that are not only parasitic, but mutually beneficial. In many symbiotic relations, neither side of the relationship sacrifices the essentials of its particularity to take part in the union. Margolis’ use of the metaphor of symbiosis is, therefore, very apt, since it captures this mediation between mind and world in a manner that shows neither side as consistently dominant. There is, in fact, a kind of play between the two.

Margolis continues: “there is no principled means by which to ascertain what it is that mind contributes to what we take to be the world’s structure, or what the ‘brute’ world contributes to our sense of the world.” One could go further than Margolis here, saying that the line between the two, or the relative percentages supplied by either cognition or the world, change; those percentages may be radically different in different circumstances. Richard Rorty’s comments present us with something of the huge question that language opens up when we consider that the vast percentage of our world view is a linguistic construct. Rorty produced what are perhaps the most straightforward, comprehensive, and compact articulations of complexities attendant to the way in which humans use language, relate to each other and the world, and come to grips with their own uncanniness.

According to Rorty, we all fashion over time a personal or “final vocabulary” that we use to describe the world to ourselves and ourselves to the world. This is not necessarily final in the sense of “last,” but rather in the sense of a mature linguistic practice reflecting the accumulated values and insights of an individual living in a particular sociocultural world–subject of course to alteration and revision over time, for no such vocabulary remains stagnant without serious repercussions for the one who practices it. Rorty argues that the final vocabulary of each person is as far as that person can go with language at any point in time. If others cast doubt on the usefulness or value of some aspect of that vocabulary, the person who is using it has no immediate recourse in rebuttal except to remain internal to that vocabulary, using the terms of the vocabulary to justify their ideas and emotional responses, thus producing a circular argument. Going outside of one’s final vocabulary–that is, to just “temporarily” using part of a different vocabulary in response to an inhospitable question–cannot, on its own, serve as a viable solution. To respond in such a manner, one would have to undertake a fundamental restructuring of one’s entire final vocabulary to accommodate inevitable conflicts new material would cause within that person’s final vocabulary. In this negative sense, we see that the final vocabulary embraces an entire world-view–a commitment to a certain world perspective–any change, as we have already noted, will require sensitive and often extensive revisions, and, indeed, concomitant changes in perspective.

An “ironist” is someone who, according to Rorty, has an honest and straightforward relationship with her final vocabulary. She believes that no vocabulary (including her own) successfully meets what might be termed the “gold” standard of describing “reality on its own terms.” Nor does she believe that there is a “meta-vocabulary” that stands objectively outside these various personal final vocabularies that we can use to arbitrate which vocabulary is “true.” There exists no “yardstick,” “standard,” or criterion which brings us into the presence of “truth.” The ironist would therefore be genuinely concerned about the limitations of her own vocabulary. The fact that she also has been impressed with others’ final vocabularies serves only to deepen this concern. She knows, due to the circularity and inherent incompleteness of her final vocabulary, that her–or anyone else’s–vocabulary can ever, no matter how meticulously revised and re-envisioned, reconcile these misgivings.

One of the central metaphors that Rorty uses is that of the “strong poet,” a term he borrowed from Harold Bloome. It lies at the core of Rorty’s confidence in an aesthetic vision of the world that can ameliorate and even perhaps transcend the many pitfalls attendant to our attempts to reduce the world (solely) to rational discourse. What Rorty says regarding the strong poet is as follows: “…the conscious need of the strong poet [is] to come to terms with the blind impress which chance has given him, to make a self for himself by re-describing that impress in terms which are, if only marginally, his own.”

I offer these two examples because I have found them very helpful in my own understanding of contingency or chance. Three things have emerged for me as centrally important: 1.) recognizing relativism as a fundamental aspect of life and thought is dangerous and is fraught with difficulties that seem to proliferate explosively, suffocating our will to move on, 2.) moving on is the only game in town, 3.) Rorty (via Harold Bloome) offers us an apt and very useful metaphor to hold on to in that effort: the strong poet. The strong poet is faced with the “blind impress,” of chance–that is, our DNA, our sociocultural situations of origin, and the evolution of those effects over time, etc., things over which we had little or no control during our maturation. Many humans do not step far beyond the constraints of their origins or of their mature “vocabularies” beyond a few (grudging) tweaks. The “strong poet,” as jointly envisioned by Bloome and Rorty, is not bound by these constraints, in fact, the strong poet actively critiques virtually all the vocabularies she comes across during her life–certainly none more thoroughly than her own. But the strong poet is also a creator of new metaphors, of new vocabularies that re-describe the world in terms that provide both new perspectives on the world and, through these new perspectives, insights into how one might navigate the swirling rapids of life. Obviously then, Nietzsche, Beckett, Schoenberg, Rorty, Sophocles, John Cage, Einstein, Martha Nussbaum, Newton, Tom Waits, Adorno, and many others, many of whom are not strictly “poets,” have contributed to this process of a radically transformative rearticulation of the world. I think this model can be utilized by all of us—in our own lives, our own study and writing, our practice and for our students and patients. One does not need to be a Poet, nor does anyone need to even write, as in journaling, or fiction, or op-eds. I read something recently about a person working with a therapist who discovered that the world could be something of interest, something to be thought about, and that those thoughts could be shared with others. It never occurred to me that such a thing could never occur to anyone!

Finally, I would like to re-emphasize that the therapist or teacher is not the strong poet—he/she may be, in fact, far from it. The point is, that both participants in the therapeutic experience should gain by being in pursuit of his/her own emergence as a strong poet. There is an important observation related to this, one which is my own: In the performance world, many actors have noted the sense that, as well as being immersed in the action of the drama, there is a part of them that “hovers” over it, bringing to the situation a critical awareness of the aesthetic effect of the scene and their part in it. For many years, I thought that the “hoverer” was the actor. Now I believe the hoverer must be the character. The exact nature of the relationship between the idea of the strong poet and the hovering character, I’ll leave to your own consideration.

Seeing Clients with New Eyes: Part 2

Michael Mahoney expressed very eloquently some pitfalls of seeing clients through categorically constructed eyes. He wrote: “Psychology and psychotherapy have become heavily categorical. The profession seems to both breathe and breed classification. Classification is a useful tool, of course. It helps us to organize and communicate our experience. But tools can become tyrants. Abraham Maslow called it the law of the hammer: we start to pound everything. When we fall into the habit of experiencing and describing our clients as their diagnosis, we have lost control of a very powerful tool. More important, we have lost a precious sense of our clients’ uniqueness as flesh-and-blood, trial-and-error persons”.

Person-centered therapy involves seeing our clients without regard to pretext or pretense. We often fall short in our attempts to help clients address their “errors” because we do not see them genuinely or fully as they experience and respond to their trials (“flesh-and-blood”). As Dr. Mahoney described in the passage above, we can lose a real “sense of our clients uniqueness”. We are asked by the Person-Centered model to recognize our own biases – prognostic categories, labels, jargon, theories, systems and frames of reference – as well as identities and labels that we hang on our clients to explain and represent them to ourselves and our colleagues; to render them visible so that we can figure out how to treat them. We could be tempted to rely on our clinical armamentarium, as opposed to helping clients find (construct) and apply their own unique ways of coping and adapting. If clients adopt aspects of an identity that we ascribe to them, it may become the blind leading the blind.

Cultivating a person-centered way of seeing our clients presents us with a conundrum: on the one hand, we want to see them as real and separate from our own biases; but, on the other hand, we feel a tug to hold on to our expertise and the prestige of our role as healers and wise counselors. Being a therapist, supervisor, teacher, or doctor is integral to our sense of identity and ego. We risk seeing ourselves (and being seen by our clients) with more skepticism, more honestly, and as human and fallible. James Baldwin wrote that “the world tends to trap and immobilize you in the role you play; and it is not easy – in fact, it is always extremely hard – to maintain a kind of watchful, mocking distance between oneself as one appears to be and oneself as one actually is”. The Person-Centered optic lessens the safe distance from which therapist and client are accustomed to seeing and knowing each other; closing the gap between who we really are and who we appear to be.  This can also cause us to cast a critical eye on ourselves and our profession.  As Mr. Baldwin noted, this is always extremely hard to do.

As we construct our new eyes, we often display Socratic Ignorance (a term adopted by Albert Ellis) in plain view of our clients. Like Socrates, we become wiser when we understand that we don’t know things, but rely on an inquisitive mind. We relinquish an absolutistic stance and acknowledge that we don’t now what is best for our clients; or, furthermore, which of their experiences are more, or less, relevant. We can no longer collude with clients to be their “healer”, their “rescuer”, their “miracle worker”, the “one who knows” (Yalom). This can be discomfiting. In a sense, we become a beginner all over again (and again, and again); requiring us to sit and learn (grow) alongside the very people who traveled at some expense to see us. They sign in with the receptionist, verify their insurance or pay their bill, wait their turn for us get them, and then are seen by us. They undertake this pilgrimage to be seen by us so that they can be healed, or at the very least, receive sage advice. But we are far more likely to see lasting change and relieve suffering for our clients when we see them through person-centered eyes – those new eyes constructed to construe them as “flesh-and-blood”; to see their individual trials-and-errors, flaws and shortcomings, and their unique capacities and repertoire of responses to the complex world that they live in.

After all, it is the client who must face their own world and live out the consequences of the decisions made in our offices. We go home at the end of the day, drive past other people’s neighborhoods and homes to our own homes (often safer ones), to live our own lives and consequences. Hopefully, because of our day at the office, we can then go back to our friends and family with reconstructed eyes to approach our life with the unbiased openness and  curiosity of a beginner.

Seeing Clients with New Eyes: Part 1

This blog is a 3-part reflection about how we see (or fail to see) our clients while acting as their therapists. How we see our clients is central to our understanding of them and how our relationship grows and develops. The Person-Centered model implies a genuine and collaborative relationship between client and therapist. It asks us to view clients undefined by our well-earned expertise. This involves intentionally setting aside – or at least recognizing and reckoning with – our professional loyalties and schooled way of seeing them.

I first became aware of Ralph Ellison, and his book “Invisible Man”, by reading a chapter in Robert Coles’ book “Handing One Another Along”. Dr. Coles pointed out that Ralph Ellison’s novel provided a nuanced explication of the human struggle to see others, often fail to see them, and ultimately come to know and regard them. I read the book and was deeply moved by it. In the novel, the protagonist lamented that he could only be viewed by others as: “themselves, or figments of their imagination – indeed, everything and anything except me”. In doing so, they rendered him invisible. This invisible, nameless protagonist  attributed his invisibility to “ a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come into contact. A matter of the construction of their inner eyes, with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality”. He further claimed that for every invisible person there must also be a blind person. As therapists, have we also become blind (blinded) to our clients by our training, personal experiences, and the conveniences and limits of our theories and systems?

Let’s take a closer look at the peculiar disposition of our clinical and professional “inner-eyes”, and how they might be constructed. George Kelly (1955), in his seminal book “The Psychology of Personal Constructs”, theorized that we see others and the world through transparent patterns or templates that we create and “attempt to fit over the realities of the world”. He called these patterns personal constructs. These are mental representations that we construct to interpret (construe) events and place them in some kind of order in our world. We experience the world through the lens of our personal constructs. Personal constructs are contextual and bipolar: we construe what something is by contrasting it with what we believe that it is not. For example, “hardworking” can only be interpreted by differentiating it from our personal understanding of “lazy”.

Personal constructs are more than just words, but also involve feelings and implicit or procedural memories of prior experiences.  We develop hypotheses, make predictions, and start looking for certain outcomes that assimilate with our personal constructs. Our thoughts, attitudes and behaviors are channeled through our individual hierarchies of personal constructs. We essentially sift our experiences through these transparent grids until specific patterns for evaluating and interpreting events emerge and become rote.

Our personal constructs let us make inferences (often faulty ones) and predictions about others without too much effort. We rapidly, and often too assuredly, explain others to ourselves; render them visible in ways that conform to our constructs. At the same time, our personal constructs help us dispense with notions of them that do not fit within the boundaries of our values, disciplines, language games, systems and philosophical leanings.

Ironically, the way that we construe others ultimately says much more about us (personally, and as a profession) than it does our clients.

Ralph Ellison made a strong case in his book for the idea that society has a lot to do with how a person sees others; that we at least partially share constructs with our culture and social groups. Applying Personal Construct theory to Mr. Ellison’s supposition about race and blindness, it can be theorized that the base of a white individual’s personal construct hierarchy, handed down to her and reinforced by societal norms, is the distinction that: to be black is really to be both similar in almost every way to every other black person and, at the same time, not at all the same as a white person. From this base construct (“black” versus “not-white”) hierarchies of increasingly more complex and individualized personal constructs are built, which are influenced by societal and economic incentives. The prejudice and discrimination within these hierarchies are contributed to by a common syllogistic fallacy that rests on this false assumption:  people from my own group are diverse and people from other groups are very similar in many ways(stereotypes). The same risk also exists for therapists; that our personal constructs are shared and typified by professional norms,  training, rehearsal with like-minded people, and economic incentives.

Psychiatry and psychology are replete with typologies and classifications. They are in many ways drilled into us. Categories, with their sophisticated names and implications, are taught at the fundamental level to therapists. We become convinced that we can understand things once we have a name for them. These become so intertwined with the entirety of our systems of personal constructs that they implicitly, and then, explicitly bias the way that we see and construe our clients. Our personal constructs are reified through clinical experience as we search for similarities and differences in our clients: who they are like and who they are not like. We start to increasingly see “kinds of clients” and continuously sort and re-sort them.  Therapists, often unwittingly,  begin typifying (discriminating against) their clients, and then it becomes increasingly easy to see them as: “ourselves, or figments of our imaginations – indeed, anything and everything except them”. Then, we become blind to our clients.