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. Counselees looking for concrete solutions to their problems and/or decision-making are ill-suited to this cumbersome activity, as would individuals lacking mental sensibilities and certain dispositional traits of character including discipline, thoughtfulness and patience. Leaving this latter issue for next week, the practice of engaging counselees here involves cognition of how existing thought processes evolve not as disengaged, but as subjective, that is, intra-personal dialogue taken up a visceral understanding of one’s own experience, a kind of self-understanding.
5. The self-understanding that is nurtured by philosophyWritten by Elly Pirocacos
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.
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).