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What Is Philosophical Counseling?

Please watch my brief video explanation here.

Philosophical Counselors are professional, certified philosophers who apply their professional philosophical skills, methods, principles, insights, and other tools to help individuals or groups sort out, better understand, and resolve any number of personal, moral, social, relationship, professional, or behavioral issues, much in the way that psychotherapists and other mental health professionals, counselors, and life coaches do, except our methods focus more directly on clients' understanding, reasons, beliefs, values, goals, expectations, choices, actions, habits, and the relationships between these.  


Each of us has a philosophy of life, but few have a conscious philosophy. If our beliefs, values, and goals are not consciously formulated, our choices, efforts, and actions are likely to be scattered, at odds with themselves, or self-defeating. Philosophical Counselors' primary intentions are to help their clients uncover their own inner philosopher, in order to help them to formulate their own philosophies of life for themselves. Philosophical Counseling is designed to empower individuals to take charge of their own lives, and thus it is typically short-term. If we develop a conscious philosophy and a working philosophical toolkit, we will be able to function more whole-heartedly, knowing how to respond wisely to adversity, challenges, and opportunities. That is the goal of Philosophical Counseling: empowering everyday people through practical philosophy.


Philosophical counselors work with clients 1-on-1 or in groups, on a variety of philosophical topics, such as,

  • Conflicts, torn decisions, interpersonal struggles

  • Religious issues: doubt, loss of faith, conflicting beliefs and values, etc.

  • Formulating a philosophy of life, ethical code, set of values, and/or life plan

  • Spiritual issues: alternative forms of spirituality, spiritual paths, spiritual confusion

  • Taking control of one’s life, one’s behavior, one’s relationships, one’s time

  • Search for meaning, purpose, direction, understanding

  • At a crossroads, uncertainty about the next step, finding one’s way

  • Existential confusion, suffering, the struggle to digest existence

  • Mind-altering substances: psychedelics, intoxicants, sobriety

  • Changing behavioral patterns

  • Emotional reactivity: understanding and dealing with anger, shame, fear, etc.

  • Aging, loss of abilities, illness, hospice, death of loved ones

  • Major life-change stress: change of job, end of marriage/relationship, relocation

  • Stress reduction, wellness strategies, meditation practices, yoga, etc.

  • Creating meaningful rituals

  • Self-inquiry, self-examination, self-development, self-control, self-empowerment

  • Any issue of philosophical interest to you

  • Any philosophical text, theory, view, or argument you’d like to co-explore

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