Can philosophy help ordinary people confront their personal or interpersonal problems of living? Can it help a couple whose marriage is on the rocks, or someone going through a midlife crisis, or someone depressed over the death of a significant other, or who suffers from anxiety about making a life change? These and many other behavioral and emotional problems are ordinarily referred to psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, or other mental health specialists. Less mainstream is the possibility of consulting a philosophical counselor or practitioner. Yet, there is presently a steadily increasing, world-wide movement among individuals with postgraduate credentials in philosophy to harness their philosophical training and skills in helping others to address their life problems.
But is this channeling of philosophy outside the classroom into the arena of life a good idea? Are philosophers, as such, competent to handle all or any of the myriad emotional and behavioral problems that arise in the context of life; or should these matters best be left to those trained in psychological counseling or psychotherapy?
Through a diverse and contrasting set of readings authored by prominent philosophers, philosophical counselors, and psychologists, this volume carefully explores the nature of philosophical counseling or practice and its relationship to psychological counseling and psychotherapy. Digging deeply into this relational question, this volume aims to spark more rational reflection, and greater sensitivity and openness to the potential contributions of philosophical practice. It is, accordingly, intended for students, teachers, scholars, and practitioners of philosophy, counseling, or psychotherapy; as well as those interested in knowing more about philosophical counseling or practice.
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Elliot D. Cohen, PhD (Brown University), is Executive Director and a founder of the National Philosophical Counseling Association, and President of the Institute of Critical Thinking: National Center for Logic-Based Therapy. Author or editor of more than 20 books and numerous professional articles, he is also Editor-in-Chief and founder of the International Journal of Applied Philosophy.Samuel Zinaich, Jr, PhD (Bowling Green State University), is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Purdue University Calumet. Currently he is the Associate Director of the National Philosophical Counseling Association, Co-Editor of the International Journal of Philosophical Practice, and Fellow at the Institute of Critical Thinking.