What does counselling for depression look like, when it is enriched by philosophy?
"Beware, lest in your anxiety to avoid war, you obtain a master."
This was written by Demosthenes 2500 years ago. A big part of my counselling involves helping people move past anxiety. Sometimes that is overt - "I feel anxious all the time" - but often it is subtle, for example procrastination is often caused by unrecognised anxiety. Helping people overcome anxiety is one of the most common tasks of a counsellor. However as a philosophical counsellor, it is only half of what I do. For as I will show, you cannot always solve anxiety; sometimes you have to learn instead to live with it, and to do a good job of that. In such cases if you avoid your anxiety "you obtain a master": you become a slave to your fears. If you learn to face it with courage, and to live with it in a philosophically deeper way, you can become more free, and more courageous. When I help people I aim at this: to solve problems, yes, but in doing so, to help people grow wiser and stronger in general.
The Life Direction & Purpose program is launching in January 2018!
I have been doing this work for a decade now, since switching from the start of an academic career in philosophy to becoming a counsellor. I see people from all walks of life, but my typical client is a male or female in their mid-twenties to late thirties. Their typical problem regards relationships, career, or emotional struggles. Often, however, behind the surface problem, there is a lack a sense of direction or purpose in life.
What if psychology stopped always focusing on what goes wrong with life, and also researched what goes right? What if it put happiness, flourishing, resilience, and character to the test of science? And what if the outcomes were applied through counselling and coaching? Well in the late 1990s some leading psychologists asked such questions, and positive psychology was born.