I have been known to offer up some urban philosophy from time to time… In particular, late at night after a couple of glasses of my favourite Chateauxneuf Du Paps and the Brandy has been opened… Yesterday I met a philosopher and had a marvellous conversation with him about all kinds of things and found myself feeling much better as a result of our interaction.

At university my friends and I often pulled the leg of our philosophy student colleagues and friends… We would philosophically ask why it is that they all felt the need to wear long scarves and smoke pipes and ask meaningful questions like “how do we know this is an ashtray?”

This was of course incredibly short-sighted, though I suspect they were not scarred for life.

When people experience issues in life, they usually opt for the services of a counsellor, psychologist, or another psychological health professional, even a hypnotherapist! On other occasions, they might be inclined to seek assistance from spiritualists such as priests, ministers, and rabbis…. Others may just need a chat with a good friend or trusted family member and seek advice rather than a specific service.

It is a rare occasion, that someone considers seeking out a conversation with a philosopher though, wouldn’t you agree?

During my conversation with this wonderful man yesterday, he suggested that many of the issues we find ourselves facing in life are actually philosophical at the heart of the problem or challenge.  Certainly I have found myself enjoying the mental workout I get from reading philosophy works, but have also found the work of Nietzsche, for example, a tad depressing at times, and I mentioned this.

Some of the issues we face in life raise questions that professional philosophers have studied in great detail throughout the years. Issues such as handling a midlife  crisis, the apparent meaninglessness of one’s own existence, the unknown, change, responsibility, commitment, freedom (or the loss of it); distinguishing between faulty thinking and rational thinking; and even making a moral decision – these things are commonplace and routine material for the philosopher.  That is, these issues raise, in a practical context, the basic questions of philosophy– the nature of human existence, reality, knowledge, truth, value, reason, and morality.

So why not ask a philosopher, eh? it seemed to make perfect sense to me, those my new philosophical friend was naturally rather biased, I raised this with him also, he parried it and responded in such an erudite manner that he was hypnotic, I thought that this was a great hypnotherapist in the making, but whilst having that thought he had kept on talking and I had missed the crux of what he was saying and had to focus to catch up and fill in the blanks.

Apparently, there is emerging a field that is developing nicely that is known as “philosophical counseling or practice.”  Philosophical practitioners use their training in philosophy to help people confront their problems of living, philosophically. What a lovely idea I thought, this would make a great webinar… Uh-oh, stop thinking and get focused…

As a philosophical practitioner, the main elements of his approach are that many of the problems encountered in life are based largely on faulty thinking, and that philosophical ideas and insights from philosophers through the ages (people such as Aristotle, Epicurus, Kant, Sartre, et al) can provide constructive antidotes for overcoming such self-destructive thinking.

Philosophical practitioners do avoid imposing philosophical ideas on anyone, they are not to espouse dogma. It is deemed inappropriate to feed a devout Christian an atheistic philosophy.

Many philosophical problems are also moral problems.  For example, should I tell my boyfriend the truth? Philosophical practitioners can help people make more enlightened moral decisions by clarifying the relevant, competing ethical interests and philosophical perspectives… So in addition to the webinars I am recording for our members area with some amazing people this week (Judy Rees on Clean Language and Persuason, Tim Brownson doing a live values elicitation exercise, Gary May talking about persuasion for the hypnotherapist in practice) I have managed to get some time to discuss philosophical  approaches to personal development in a webinar too… We are going to be taking questions from our members, so those of you that are members here, be on the lookout… This is more than just my usual urban philosophy, and no Brandy will be required at all… Though I may just don a long scarve and smoke a pipe for the event!  😉