23 May 2015

2. What philosophical practice and counseling are not

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How often are you asked to explain what philosophical practice is? Generally, just after I've introduced myself, people wonder what the practical usage of philosophy might be. Besides, I am asked whether philosophical counseling resembles psychology, life-coaching or any other therapy.

There are many methodological ways to answer these questions. As a philosopher, you would prefer to use the basic tools of logic by offering a definition, an explanation and an argument. Categorization is another method that is used in many works and books written about philosophical counseling and practice. This method entails the recognition and the understanding of the essential characters of philosophical counseling and the differentiation of them from other areas. In addition, dialectic – examining the opposing ideas, is a very useful way to answer these questions. In the history of thoughts, many influential philosophers, such as Socrates, Kant and Hegel, used this method for intellectual investigations and discussions.

In this Reflection, I will use the dialectic approach to answer the inquiry on philosophical practice. That is to say that by articulating what philosophical counseling is not, I will infer what it is.

• It is not a study on the ideas of philosophers, on arguments about various ideas and on arguments about arguments about various ideas.
◆ Rather, it is a critical contemplation about one's own ideas, one's reasoning process and the influences of these elements on one's life.

• It is not a problem-oriented approach which requires to explore one's background and childhood, which lasts for years, even for a lifetime.
◆ Rather, it is a solution-oriented approach where the practical resolutions are derived in short time, through a challenging and stimulating dialogue.

• It is not a life coaching that focuses on personal achievements, goals and motivations.
◆ Rather, it focuses on the awareness of personal attitudes, judgements and mental processing in everyday life.

• It is not any kind of therapy, psychology or psychotherapy where the aim is healing the unhealthy client.
◆ Rather, it directs individuals to explore their mental functioning, which inevitably transforms their life attitudes and conditions.

• It is not a diagnostic labeling according to particular standards for mental health.
◆ Rather, it goes beyond external and rigid judgements, where the person makes his own reflection, analysis and identification of himself.


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Riella Morhayim

I am Riella Morhayim. I received my BA in Philosophy from Bogazici University in Turkey, MA in Organizational Psychology from Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya in Israel, and another MA in Philosophy from Tel Aviv University in Israel.

Since 2008, I am highly interested in Philosophical Counseling and Philosophical Practice, in hich I have improved my knowledge by online, onsite, educational, practical courses and seminars. In the meantime, I participated in conferences in Turkey, Holland, Greece, France and Israel about the philosophical practices. So far, I contributed to the book Women in Philosophical Counseling: The Anima of Thought in Action, and published a few articles in philosophy journals (in Turkey).

In addition, I offer philosophical practices, philosophical counseling and courses on different meditation techniques under the name of “Unlocking Practices.” As a philosophical practitioner, I work with individuals, groups and organizations in English, Turkish and Hebrew. Recently, I have been working with the English-speaker Immigrant Associations and the Organization for Turkish Immigrants in Israel. I also offer online philosophical practices to Turkish speaking clients for the Australian Consulting Philosopher Association.