What Is Philosophical Counseling?


Philosophy, philo-sophia, means, “love of wisdom.” Socrates, the father of Western philosophy, claims that he is only wiser than other men because he knows that he knows nothing, whereas others mistakenly believe that they know something. We learn from Socrates’ example that philosophy is the pursuit, not the possession, of wisdom. The value of philosophy comes from asking questions, not pinning down answers. “Who are we?” “What does it mean to be in this world?” “How can we go about it well?”

One of the most treasured and fertile tools of philosophy is dialogue. We ask questions together. We explore the field of possibility opened up by interweaving paths of answers. We let go of judgment and simply allow ourselves to see what is really there. In this expanded space, we find freedom because we have let go of limiting beliefs. We find peace of mind because we have opened up the terrain. And we find rejuvenation because we have connected more vividly with the world around us.

Philosophical counseling uses dialogue to help clients see themselves more clearly. It is especially useful in conjunction with energy healing for those who feel that their dis-ease is wrapped up in important existential questions about the meaning of life and their own purpose. It is also well suited for those who want to explore modalities like energy healing and to develop their own spirituality, but at the same time feel skeptical about such modalities and want their questions to be heard, honored, and engaged.

Although philosophy in the modern sense tends to emphasize concepts, analysis, and symbolic logic, philosophy in the most ancient sense is about how we live our lives. In fact, what distinguished a philosopher in Antiquity was not having students or writing important treatises, but living a life fully engaged in the pursuit of wisdom. It is this sense of living philosophy that connects with spiritual practice, such as energy healing and meditation. This is why we find, for example, that the great leader and Stoic philosopher Marcus Aurelius was known for his meditations, and that the famed mathematician and philosopher Pythagoras was known for healing.