My practical philosophy begins with the idea that in order to really know ourselves, we must first care for ourselves. Through care, we can cultivate a friendly and harmonious inner relationship. This means that when we are kind and compassionate toward ourselves, we are more able to get to know our many parts of self (including the dark and scary ones!). This makes it easier to resolve internal tensions that might affect the way we experience the world.
Through a process of philosophical inquiry, we can facilitate a transformation of character and discover the freedom through which we are able to direct our own self-cultivation. At the same time, we practice acceptance of the limits on our freedom and an understanding of those constraints. As a result, this path to wisdom shows us where our choices lie. Furthermore, it helps us see a variety of perspectives on our day-to-day lived experience through attending to ourselves and the world around us. Thus, my mission is to inspire you to care about yourself and awaken to your own being-in-the-world in such a way that you really start to get to know yourself and treat yourself with kindness and compassion.
“Take care of yourself. Make freedom your foundation, through the mastery of yourself.”— Michel Foucault
What exactly is philosophical inquiry?
Philosophical inquiry is a non-pathologizing approach to understanding the human condition and varieties of experience using techniques from traditional philosophy. Through dialogue, we resolve logical inconsistencies in a person’s worldview or given perspective, while holding contradictions when necessary. So, this kind of curious questioning helps us to construct a worldview that connects our ideas in a coherent and meaningful way. It is creative, collaborative, and open to engaging with the ideas of previous thinkers, both past and present, and across history without exclusion.
What is philosophy, really?
The domain of philosophy covers questions of ethics, metaphysics, epistemology and their various offshoots. We ask questions about what it means to live a good life or be a good person; how to know the right thing to do; what is the nature of reality and existence; what it means to be human and have a body; and what we can know and how we can be sure that we know it. Philosophy underpins and infiltrates nearly every field of knowledge, science, and religion, but adheres to no doctrine other than the search for truth. Practical philosophy brings these concepts into our everyday lives in order to improve ease and well-being.
Who oversees philosophical counselors?
There are two professional organizations for philosophical counselors in the US: the American Philosophical Practitioners Association (APPA) and the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA). With my masters degree in philosophy, I am a member of both. I am certified by the APPA as a philosophical counselor. According to the APPA, “Philosophical counseling is intended for clients who are rational, functional, and not mentally ill, but who can benefit from philosophical assistance in resolving or managing problems associated with normal life experience. The most suitable candidates for philosophical counseling are clients whose problems are centered in:
- Issues of private morality or professional ethics
- Issues of meaning, value, or purpose
- Issues of personal or professional fulfillment
- Issues of undetermined or inconsistent belief systems
- Issues requiring any philosophical interpretation of changing circumstances.”
From Marinoff, Lou. Philosophical Practice. San Diego: Academic Press (2002), p. 252.
The APPA has a clearly defined scope of practice and code of ethics approved by the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at the City College of New York. IRBs are federally backed groups designated to oversee research conducted at institutions of higher learning in the United States.