What is Philosophical Therapy?
Philosophical therapy is a drug-free, talk-based therapy that is an alternative to modern psychology and psychiatry. It has its roots in Ancient Greece and Rome, with geniuses like Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, Epicurus and Galen as its founders and practitioners. In fact, philosophy was the primary method for treating the conditions we now call “mental illness” for over two thousand years.
The Roman physician, Galen, believed one should always seek a philosophical solution to one’s ailment before moving onto the next level of medical treatment. He argued that there are many reasons why a patient might have a headache or insomnia. Galen may not have used the term “cognitive dissonance”, but he certainly understood that some headaches are created by inner conflicts. Likewise, he understood that a good conscience was necessary for a good night’s sleep.
Who should see a philosophical therapist?
There are a variety of problems a philosophical therapist can help you with: Lack of energy and motivation, excessive worrying, difficultly making decisions, relationship problems, settling disputes, loneliness, grief, lack of meaning and purpose in life. Unlike psychologists and psychiatrists, philosophical therapists have no interest in diagnosing you or prescribing drugs. They are just interested in helping you to explore, articulate, and understand your particular problem. If you have any problem that you can’t make sense or has been going on for a long time, then you could almost certainly benefit from discussing it with a philosophical therapist.
What to expect from philosophical therapy?
Expect to be listened to, to have your emotions explained, to be asked probing questions, to hear occasional humorous rants and to be encouraged to answer uncomfortable questions. There will be no diagnoses, no medications, no directives that you must obey. You might be asked to complete some exercises that are focused on promoting self-knowledge and better emotional awareness, but nothing compulsory. It may not seem like much, but just changing the way you think or approach a situation will impact your entire life.
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