Elly Pirocacos

Elly Pirocacos

I am a professor of philosophy presently on leave from the American College of Greece and Visiting Professor at the Graduate School of Education, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, at McGill University. My research is focused on working out the inter-subjectivity of dialogical engagement to address fundamental epistemological issues with regards to counseling and teaching methods. I have a practice in philosophical counseling in Montreal, Canada and am secretary to CSPP (the Canadian Society for Philosophical Practice).

Clients invariably seek out philosophical counseling to address or resolve a problem that seems to arise from a sense of inner tension with their existing life situation. In other words, clients or counselees come not because they have been diagnosed with a panic disorder, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) or because they have been perceived to be in unhealthy relationships, are under-achievers and the like. Rather, it is their subjective experience of themselves living such life-circumstances that impresses upon them the awareness that they are not living as they should or as they would like.

My last reflection made a promise to return to the issue of suitable clientele or candidacy. The question was placed in the context of goals specific to philosophical counseling. Specifically, I had argued that "if philosophical counseling nurtures self-reflective understanding, then the aim of philosophical counseling must be an introspective exercise that aims to gauge, enhance and augment one's understanding, a process integral to one's interpretative framework orienting one in the world."

I suppose that the usual way of responding to this quandary is to talk about what is NOT philosophical, or more precisely what is not philosophical about psychology and the like.

So what is this rational self-reflective understanding that philosophical counseling nurtures? An answer, indeed the question itself, imposes a certain presumption about the goals of philosophical counseling, which also seems prescriptively biased as far the eligibility of the counselee is concerned.

Philosophical practice is neither diagnostic nor prognostic. Unlike counselors of the psychological variety, we, as philosophers are firmly affixed to the transformative impact of our art.

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