1. The substance of a consultation is being.
2. The method is dialogical.
3. The outcome is meaning.
I consider these the hallmarks of a philosophical consultation.
1. Being is the substance of philosophical practice. By this I refer not only to the subject matter of the conversation (The "what is x?" question), but also to the interaction of counsellor and client. Both are situated together in time and space, related to each other and interact. Ultimately, they will enter a reflection on being, just like philosophers such as Parmenides or Plato in the history of philosophy. I consider the quest for being as the original impute of philosophizing.
2. The approach is dialogical. The philosopher and client interact by questions, interpretations, stories. They act as equals, identify and discuss philosophical content and come to agreement on an outcome in terms of a metaphor suiting the client's situation best.
3. The outcome of a consultation is meaning. Our time frame is driven by a quest for meaning. Life does not evolve along fixed lines anymore. Globalization brings information about many different life-styles and raises evaluative questions. Issues of choice are involved. Ultimately, it brings us to the quest of meaning. I think that a consultation should contribute to this quest. Not by a fixed outcome, as in psychology or religion, but by a temporary point of reference, a metaphor which serves understanding (for a while), suiting the client, and to be questioned again when this span of life is over.