Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment

Last week, while driving in Ketchum, Idaho, I was pulled over for speeding (driving 36 mph in a 25-mph zone.) The traffic stop proceeded along expected lines: the police car switched on its flashing red and blue lights as it sidled up behind me, I pulled over to the side of the road, the policemanContinue reading “Getting Pulled Over; A Teachable Moment”

The Seize The Moment Podcast On Philosophy And Anxiety

Last week (or so), I appeared on the Seize the Moment video podcast, thanks to an invitation from Leon Garber (a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Psychotherapist, specializing in existential psychotherapy, who manages a blog exploring death, self-esteem, love, freedom, life-meaning, and mental health/mental illness) and Alen Ulman (who manages Ego Ends Now, a growingContinue reading “The Seize The Moment Podcast On Philosophy And Anxiety”

The Grasshopper And The Ant Podcast On Philosophical Counseling And Anxiety

I’ve recently had the pleasure of recording an audio podcast with the folks over at the Grasshopper and the Ant on the topic of philosophical counseling and anxiety. Many thanks to Pawan Bharadwaj for having me on and for giving me the opportunity to describe philosophical counseling, its relationship to philosophical reflection, to alternative therapeuticContinue reading “The Grasshopper And The Ant Podcast On Philosophical Counseling And Anxiety”

Philosophical Counseling And Hellmuth Kaiser On Successful Therapy

In Existential Psychotherapy (Basic Books, New York, 1980), Irvin Yalom writes: The therapist healed, [Hellmuth] Kaiser believed, simply by being with the patient. Successful therapy requires “that the patient spends sufficient time with a person of certain personality characteristics.” What personality characteristics? Kaiser cited four: (1) an interest in people; (2) theoretical views on psychotherapyContinue reading “Philosophical Counseling And Hellmuth Kaiser On Successful Therapy”

Nietzsche On The Relief Of Mortality

In The Dawn of Day: Thoughts on The Prejudices of Morality, Nietzsche writes: With regard to knowledge the most useful accomplishment is perhaps: that the belief in the immortality of the soul has been abandoned. Now humanity is allowed to wait; now it no longer needs to rush headlong into things and choke down half-examinedContinue reading “Nietzsche On The Relief Of Mortality”

Philosophical Counseling And ‘Mental Illness’

Are philosophical counselors counselors qualified to ‘treat’ the ‘mentally ill’? The short answer to that is ‘no’ (associated with the query, ‘depends on what you mean by mental illness’.) A slightly more considered answer, which I attempt to provide here, makes note of the particular competences and constraints of the philosophical counselor. First, a noteContinue reading “Philosophical Counseling And ‘Mental Illness’”

Anxiety, Uncertainty, And Death

Kierkegaard offers us a brief, pithy, definition of anxiety:  What is anxiety? It is the next day. This pair of sentences is truly remarkable in capturing a central dimension of anxiety: it is our reaction to the ineluctable uncertainty present in our lives. As human beings, with our lack of divine omniscience, we do notContinue reading “Anxiety, Uncertainty, And Death”

What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part IV: Aristotle on Effective And Practical Knowledge

In their Introduction to ‘Philosophy as Therapeia’ (Royal Institute of Philosophy Supplement #66) Jonardon Ganeri and Clare Carlisle write: For Aristotle, technical knowledge deals with the correct means of achieving a given objective, and practical knowledge is knowledge of ends as such. A technical approach to life will view an existence led without pain andContinue reading “What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part IV: Aristotle on Effective And Practical Knowledge”

What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part III – ‘Dolls That Remove Worries’

In Anxiety: A Very Short Introduction (Oxford University Press, 2012, Daniel Freeman and Jason Freeman write: Parents in Guatemala employ an unusual technique for helping children to overcome their worries. They give the child a small bag containing six tiny dolls fashioned from cloth and wood. Each night, the child tells one of the dollsContinue reading “What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part III – ‘Dolls That Remove Worries’”

What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part Two: The Counselor’s Work

In the first post of this series, I attempted to provide a brief introduction to ‘philosophical counseling,’ and closed on a promissory note to provide a description of the task of the philosophical counselor. Here it is. The philosophical counselor’s job is to be a guide and a partner, helping the counseled explore the issuesContinue reading “What Is Philosophical Counseling? Part Two: The Counselor’s Work”