What is Philosophical Counseling

Philosophical counseling, at it’s core, is a talking therapy during which a client looks for philosophical understanding of their life, social problems, or even mental problems. It is medication free, and does not attempt to diagnose a pathological problem exposed by some predetermined theoretical model of the mind. In essence, philosophical counselling approaches a client’s problems through a discursive examination and analysis of their consciously held beliefs.

Philosophical counseling can be done on it’s own or in conjunction with other forms of talking therapies such a psychotherapy as the aims of each are quite different it not necessarily in conflict.

  • A philosophical practitioner helps clients to clarify, articulate, explore and comprehend philosophical aspects of their belief systems or world views....Clients may consult philosophical practitioners for help in exploring philosophical problems related to such matters as mid-life crises, career changes, stress, emotions, assertiveness, physical illness, death and dying, aging, meaning of life, and morality.–NPCA Standards of Practice

Activities common to philosophical practice include:

  • The examination of clients’ arguments and justifications
  • The clarification, analysis, and definition of important terms and concepts
  • The exposure and examination of underlying assumptions and logical implications
  • The exposure of conflicts and inconsistencies
  • The exploration of traditional philosophical theories and their significance for client issues
  • All other related activities that have historically been identified as philosophical

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Example Counseling Session

This is an example of a philosophical counselling session. It should give you a sense of what goes through the head of the counselor when they sit and listen to a client. Also, you will be able to see what the patient is saying and how the counselor then formulates a strategy in addressing the root of the problem.

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