Therapy through philosophy. a short explanation


A therapeutical approach through philosophy is not a new subject. Long forgotten, philosophy has developped into an increasing fragmentation of the subject, based on rationality and somehow quasi-scientific. Although philosophy is to be addressed to the masses, unfortunately only academics and amateurs can read it and understand it. However, that was not the case in ancient Greece.

Greek philosophers believed that philosophy (the love of wisdom) could help for a better living both on the individual and the collective levels. it was eudemonisitc (eudemonia in greek means happiness); happiness achieved through virtue and higher thinking. To say it differently, it was a rational approach to life. It taught control over passions, and ethics.

Roman philosophers were on this path too. The brilliant Seneca offered, and still do, a life coaching through his writings and advices. Letters to Lucilius is the book to read if one wants some counceling (trust me on this!).

Fast forward many centuries later, a philosophical councelling or consultancy emerged in some countries such as in Germany with Gerd Achenbach, in France with Oscar Brenifier and in USA with Lou Marinoff who defines this branch of philosophy as:

” a therapy for the sane”

Each counceling has a different method: it goes from formal logic to Socratic maieutic to Wittgenstein’s philosophical reflection and so on, always based on philosophical theories.

The benefits of the philosophical therapy are many. Most importantly, it teaches people to think logically and find their own answers. Sounds easy right? Not really. Besides, it is a shorter therapy then other forms of psychotherapy.





18 thoughts on “Therapy through philosophy. a short explanation”

  1. Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy which, I have heard, is steeped in dense philosophical theory. One of the complaints of ACT is that most people (The actual counselors) first would not wish to get so intellectual about what their therapy is Supposed to do, but also that even if the counselors were so motivated, they wouldn’t understand because they’re not philosophically minded.

    And yet a CT is becoming one of the more prominent forms of cognitive behavioral therapy at least in the United States.

    And I’m pretty sure it’s because a couple people acted as liaison between the person who came up with the theory and the general practitioners.

    I myself Got the liaison Version for practitioners that lay it out pretty simply. I’m about a third of the way through the book.

    But, being a philosopher, I wanted to know about the original Theory. But it seems I can’t find some actual book that the dude published about the theory. It appears that he was some sort of scholar or is some sort of scholar who is published a bunch of papers and then various people liked it and started to pick up on it as a practice.

    It would be cool one day to find someone who would know where I should start, because I got probably 30 bucks right now that I have that I haven’t even started reading, let alone my studies from school, and then the various books and theories that are particular to counseling that I really need to delve into so, probably ACT is going to be further down the road since presently it’s more a learning the practice then it is getting into that guys theoretical stuff. 👽

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    1. You are into counselling more than me so I can’t really help you on finding the author of this therapy. However I would suggest you read Seneca and Plato. Seneca because he was a great consultant (Letters to Lucilius) and Plato because the dialogues between Socrates and other people through maieutic are a therapy with an intellectual twist

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      1. Yes. I have read most of Plato. Not the republic though. Maybe 75% of the dialogues. A few years ago. I figured as a philosopher I should know something first hand about Plato. 😁

        Seneca Thx.

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  2. You raised an interesting point there.
    Somehow – being a layman in philosophy as well as therapy – my gut-feeling tells me that both disciplines are mere manifestations of what comes deep from within us.
    For me it is not really too important to weigh philosophies or therapies against each other
    because deeper there seems to be something
    which does project all the movies of thoughts and emotions onto the screen of our life.
    To find that projector-light-bulb is my quest.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. In the first lesson of the course I’m going to post you will see how a very bright mind did distinguish perceptions and emotions brilliantly from the I, and I think that the I is the projector.
        It just is uncommon for us because we weren’t raised to experience it yet.
        After that lesson you can say “I see”, or “eye see” 😉

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      2. It wouldn’t give this game of words in German 😉
        You are right about the ego as a projector but it lies deeper. If one understands the why and how of perceptions, emotions and behaviours, then one can learn a big lesson.. ir a wake up call

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      3. You actually raised a great point there:
        Different word-games in different languages can open ones mind for new connections,
        which is why I find it very useful to be bilingual (and Americans as well as Brits should bear this in mind).
        Etymology is a great way of exploring the nature of things – often if it doesn’t work in one language a new light is shed on it if we look at it from another language or taking words apart (best of course to get down to the roots which for Western languages often is Latin but you may have many more brain-synapses to tackle with the semitic Arabic and other languages at your disposal.

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  3. I am enjoying reading the Stoics this year – Epictetus, Seneca and Marcus Aurelius. I am also reading the Conquest of Happiness based on Bertrand Russell’s book. They are good therapy for me! Got to say I really enjoy Schopenhauer as well – he was so miserable!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Schopenhauer was miserable indeed lol but he had some good insights. He was miserable because he was philosophically against the mainstream which was Hegel.
      Anyway stoics are my life coaches really. I learned a lot from them and I applied in my daily life a lot of Seneca’s teachings mostly. He taught me how to shift my perceptions on life. 1 of the main benefits of all this? Less stress!

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  4. Many years ago in New Zealand, I attended The School of Philosophy which drew on wisdom of different religions and philosophies to enable us to live a more calm, thoughtful, more aware way of life and understand differing points of view.
    How on my little island, far hotter and humid than where I accidentally lived for thirty-six years, now amongst people of course with different mindsets, I miss our compact group. I still peruse many tomes I’ve collected over the years and am digesting again works from the Classical Greek period including plays and stories and tackling Homer’s “Illiad” which holds a lot of life-lessons and inspires thought.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I totally understand what you are saying. We all need to find groups and therapies of the same mindset as ours to elevate us intellectually and spiritually. Niches that are beyond races and religions Identities. And Greek philosophers are still the greatest school of philosophy! Thank you for your comment!

      Liked by 1 person

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