Philosophy is the 'Therapy of life'
- Epicurus, Usener 1887, frag. 221
In India, mental health adversities are rising at an alarming rate. This challenging fact calls into question the efficacy of prevailing modalities of Counseling. The pandemic has shifted the gravity of abstract concerns to more concrete problems: it is now essential to rethink our lives through a different spectrum. Thus, it is imperative to introduce an alternative process that works at the root of currently pressing issues, where any form of doubts, confusion, and thoughts can be communicated and discussed with an expert.
"Philosophy" is a word we use in our day-to-day language, but do we understand this subject's real essence? It encompasses the topics of epistemology (what is knowledge?), metaphysics (what is real?), aesthetics (what is beauty?), logic (what is identity, actuality, possibility, impossibility, necessities ?), and ethics (what is value?). These domains of inquiry specialize in exploring diverse modes of understanding human life. Hence, philosophy has much to offer when it comes to improving mental health and well-being, helping us find meaning, purpose, and value, and guiding us on our journey through these challenging times.
Philosophical Counseling is a contemporary counseling approach where the concerns of the counselee (client) are resolved via different philosophical tools and methods, enabling clients to cultivate what may be described as their inner philosopher. It is an integrated process of humanistic practice and rationality. This process works through an extensive exchange of dialogues and discussions about clients' beliefs, actions, values, purposes, and commitments, not only what they presently are but also whether and to what extent they may or can be altered or strengthened.
This practice aims to identify the problem, dilemma, inquiry, or puzzle at issue with an insightful discussion about the issue, which eventually helps the counselee recognize incorrect, inaccurate, maladaptive, or impractical beliefs. With counter-questioning and explanation, the counselee discovers, uncovers, and otherwise creates a self-realizing solution, which helps cultivate a personal philosophy. This concept of 'personal philosophy' is synonymous with a conscious articulation of one's all-things-considered personality, and articulating it will help the counselee implement this theory in every aspect of life. Philosophical Counseling eventually helps the counselee become a self-reliant person rather than dependent upon the counselor, whose primary role is facilitating this self-discovery, self-realization, and self-actualization process. With the help of philosophical tools and methods, the counselee can gradually interpret his life situations from his own self-defined and self-understood philosophy of life.
Philosophical Counseling does not compete with Psychiatry or other forms of psychological practice. It works at the roots of different concerns, namely, those which may be better resolved with philosophy. Any individual suffering from psychological issues should refrain from visiting a Philosophical Counselor without the explicit advice and consent of their mental health expert.