Archive for the ‘Philosophical Counseling’ Category
Patrick Williams in summer 2007 Vol 5 Number 2 of CHOICE magazine discusses the importance of exploring a client’s life purpose. Jung was the first psychologist to note that most humans begin to search for spiritual meaning after age 40 and “they heed the callings for some shift in discovering and then living their life purpose.”
The key for the coach and client, then, is to explore life purpose to get more clarity about his unique calling for his life, then make decisions and choices which are aligned and fit that new understanding about his life.This approach is often called ontological coaching.
Philosopher Lou Marinoff (ex-Montrealer) has written the book experts refer to as the “bible” of the philosophical counseling movement.
“If you’re facing a dilemna–whether it’s handling a relationship, living ethically, dealing with a career change, or finding meaning in life–the world’s most important thinkers from centuries past will help guide you toward a solution compatible with your individual beliefs…Platon, not Prozac! makes philosophy accessible and shows you how to use it to solve your everyday problems.”
The book is organized by common problems (seeking a relationship, maintaining a relationship, ending a relaitionship, family life and strife, when work you are tired of your job, midlife crisis, finding meaning and purpose, etcetera.). Marinoff offers advice and a prescription for self-healing therapy.
Marinoff’s goal is to prove that philosophy doesn’t have to be abstract, intimidating, boring or incomprehensible. He wants to popularize philosophy and to expose its usefulness in everyday life. “Philosophy examines the questions we all ask: What is the good life? What is good? What is life about? Why am I here? Why should I do the right thing? What is the right thing?
Marinoff makes a great case for his cause. It is true that philosophy has been around for thousands of years of thinking and he wants to draw on this. History’s wisest minds have weighed in on these subjects and have left insights and guidelines for people to use. Unfortunately, philosophy has been forever identified with the ivory towers of academia, universities and religious institutions. Marinoff points out that the important thing is that philosophy is also personal–we are our own philosophers. We can learn to think effectively for ourselves.
Marinoff is himself a practioner who offers client counseling, group facilitation and organizational counseling. His goal, then, is to take philosophy out of purely theoretical or hypothetical contexts and apply it to everyday personal, social, and professional problems.
Philosophical counseling is a relatively new but rapidly growing field of philosophy. The movement originated in Europe in the 1980’s, beginning with Gerd Achenbach in Germany. Philosophy and practical aren’t readily synonymous! But Marinoff points out that Socrates spent his days debating major issues in the marketplace. Lao Tzu recorded his advice on how to follow the path to success, as ideas to be used. “Philosophy was originally a way of life, not an academic discipline. A subject to be applied, not studied.” No more esoteric consignment to the ivory tower. If Marinoff has his way, philosophical wisdom will become a practical science in the future.
Plato Not Prozac!, Lou Marinoff, PhD , Harper Perrenial, 1999, ISBN 0-06-019328-X