Philosophical Consulting

Do You Need a Philosophical Consultant?

Could you benefit from talking to a philosophical consultant?

I have recently started a philosophical consulting practice connected with my blog. And because philosophical consulting is somewhat unusual, I thought it would be good to tell you a little bit about it.

While people are not very familiar with philosophical consulting, most people are familiar with regular psychological counseling and therapy for mental health. So, some people might wonder how philosophical consulting is different from psychological counseling.

To answer this, it might help to consider a few experiences common to the human condition:

Experience #1: Emma goes along in life for quite a while with a certain set of beliefs. And then suddenly, a life crisis causes her belief system to crash. She discovers that several of her once-cherished beliefs are not true. This discovery leaves Ella with a deep sense of confusion and disorientation. She wants to rebuild and restructure her belief system but she doesn’t know how to do so.

Experience #2: One day Monet realizes that she is living her life according to what everyone else thinks she should do instead of what she thinks she should do. And suddenly she realizes that she doesn’t clearly understand her life purpose or her philosophy for living. She wants to be the boss of her own life, but she doesn’t know how to do it.

Experience #3: Gabriel suddenly realizes one day that he is a good friend to everyone else except himself. In fact, in thinking about the matter, he realizes he doesn’t have a good sense of himself at all. He hears people talk about self-love, mindfulness, and self-confidence. But he is not sure what these things mean. In fact, he doesn’t really know what a self is or if it exists. He thinks maybe the inner self is just a fiction. But he’s not sure and wants to have a better relationship with his own self if there is one.

Experience #4: One day at work, Perry runs into an ethical dilemma with a co-worker, and she realizes she doesn’t know what to do. In fact, in considering the matter, Perry realizes she doesn’t really know how to make good ethical decisions.

Experience #5: Partway through life, Davon realizes that he no longer enjoys his job and feels like he is stuck on a never-ending treadmill. It seems like he works himself to death just to buy a bigger house and a new car and to go on a fancy vacation. And he feels like there is more to life than buying stuff and going to the Bahamas. But he doesn’t know exactly what it is or what he is searching for. He wonders how he got in this predicament and how he can get off the treadmill.

Notice that in each of the experiences above, the person had deep questions about the meaning of life.

They may have felt some depression or anxiety along with their questions. However, their main concern was not how to address depression and anxiety. Rather, their main concern was how to address the questions they had about life, meaning, and purpose. In other words, they were dealing with philosophical questions.

Because of this, the people in the above scenarios may not have needed primarily to talk to a therapist. Rather, they may have benefited more from talking to someone who could help them resolve their philosophical questions. For instance, they may have benefited from talking to a philosophical consultant.

These scenarios, and the concerns of the people in them, help to clarify the difference between psychological counseling and philosophical consulting, both of which are important.

Psychological counseling helps us resolve problems that decrease our mental health.

Philosophical consulting helps us find answers to problems pertaining to our purpose, belief system, and our understanding of the meaning of life.

Psychological counseling works from the DSM-5, the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of mental disorders. This is a manual that helps health professionals diagnose and treat mental disorders.

Philosophical consulting draws on classical and contemporary philosophical authors and systems, logic, and metaphors to help people analyze and clarify their beliefs.

Psychological counselors and psychiatrists deal with psychological abnormalities and try to help their clients return to a normal state of psychological functioning.

Philosophical consultants help people deal with questions and perplexities common to the human condition. Almost everyone needs help working through such questions at one point or another.

For example, most of us deal with the following questions at some point during our life:

Why are we here?

What is the point of life? Is there a point?

Or, What is my purpose in life?

How do I live a good life?

And, how can I be happy?

Or, How do I handle suffering effectively?

How do I act well towards myself and others?

Such questions are a normal part of human existence.

Sometimes we can answer the questions on our own. But sometimes we need help answer them. The good news is that for thousands of years, philosophers have been writing about such questions and have come up with the some great answers.

Philosophical consultants can help you draw on this powerful tradition to help you answer your most pressing life questions. This can help you feel more clear, purposeful, and integrated in your life.

Those are the goals of my philosophical consulting practice, which you can read more about here: Work With Me.

Here is a testimony from one of my recent consulting clients:

“I started working with Shelly after stumbling upon her blog and finding her writing insightful and actionable specifically in relation to some of my struggles . . . She quickly helped me see my struggle more clearly and helped me chart a path through it and forward. It’s not an exaggeration to say she changed my life. I’d say she works magic, and I’m so grateful I found her.”

      ~Casie S., Sr. Technical Program Manager

Do you need help working through some philosophical questions? Do you need help gaining clarity about your purpose, life philosophy, ethics, or sense of self? If so, I would love to work with you.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing on social media.

I also invite you to follow me by hitting the Follow button at the bottom or right of this page.

You might also like to read more about philosophical consulting here:

Did You Ever Consider Consulting a Philosopher?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *