The Philosophical Practice and Counseling Website

This site is brought to you by CENTER SOPHON,

directed by Dr Shlomit C. Schuster - CV and publication list


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(c) 1989 by S. C. Schuster
Last update: July 2015

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Plato counseled Dionysius II of Syracuse, Descartes counseled Queen Christina of Sweden, and Locke was a counselor in the household of the first Earl of Shaftesbury. These are just a few examples of the philosophers who counseled royalty, politicians, clergy and all others who asked for their services. Though philosophy has become a purely academic profession in the last few centuries, at the end of the 20th century private philosophy tutors and counselors are increasingly gaining popularity.

The German philosopher Gerd B. Achenbach conceived the idea of the philosopher as a private "institution," as a person working independently outside the ivory tower of the university. Achenbach began receiving people for private consultations about life problems and questions in 1981. Though there are psychiatrists and psychologists who use philosophy in their treatment of persons, Achenbach's approach is non-clinical. Philosophical Counseling may remind people of sessions with therapists or pastoral counselors because of outward similarities in the sessions. Nevertheless, Philosophical Counseling does not work with psychological, theological, or medical models. The aim of Achenbach's practice is to create a "free place" where persons use philosophy to develop their own thoughts on relevant subject matters.

Philosophical Counseling organizations

In 1982 Achenbach founded the German Society for Philosophical Practice and Counseling, and he published his first books on the subject in 1984 and 1985. Soon after that, Philosophical Counseling spread over the European continent, establishing especially deep roots in the Netherlands.

At present, in addition to the German, an International Society for Philosophical Practice (IGPP) developed, and there are the Dutch (VFP), the Norwegian (NPP), the Canadian ASPP and CSPP Societies for  Practicing Philosophy. The Israeli (ISPPI), the British Society of Consultant Philosophers (SCP), a Finnish (SFPY), a Norwegian, an Italian and Spanish organizations, a South African Association (APC), and an Australian Association , a Brazilian, a Portuguese Ethical and Counselling Association, the Korean Society of Philosophical Practice and the Hellenic Society for Philosophical Practice.

The American Society for Philosophy, Counseling and Psychotherapy (ASPCP) now named the National Philosophical Counseling Association is cultivating the idea and practice of philosophical counseling in the USA. A former executive director of the ASPCP, Lou Marinoff, proposed a controversial bill on philosophical practice in the New York State area.

In Israel, philosophical counseling began in 1989 with the establishment of Center Sophon, directed by Shlomit Schuster. The activities of this center include a nonprofit first-aid philosophy line for existential problems and ethical dilemmas. Likewise, Hannah Hashkes, Louis N. Sandowsky, Avshalom Adam, Lydia Amir, Ora Gruengard, Rabbi Pinchas HaCohen Wilman, Israel Shorek and a few others began private practices in which conceptual and philosophical issues are principal. Though there is no formal education for this new profession, the above-mentioned societies have adopted an M.A. degree in philosophy as a minimal professional standard.

It is difficult to find out how many philosophers are, at present, doing philosophical counseling work worldwide, and where they are located. But there are philosophical counselors in Austria and Switzerland , Denmark, Luxembourg, France, Belgium, Turkey, Japanand Greece.

A Philosophical practitioner's notebook of quotations

For a selected bibliography, please click here.

For a collection of quotations useful to the philosophical practitioner, please click here.

Israeli Society for Philosophical Practice and Counseling

ISPPI is the translation into Latin letters of the Hebrew initials representing the "Israeli Society for Philosophical Practice and Counseling."

Selections from the beginning of the ISPPI Bulletin



The Israeli and International press on Philosophical Practice and Counseling

A selection of interviews with Shlomit Schuster:

Philosophical Counseling conferences and workshops

General information

Online Texts  on philosophical counseling

Dissertation and thesis news on philosophical practice and counseling

A selection from The Philosopher's Autobiography

On-line journals for philosophical practitioners and related professions

Philosophical practice related web site links

For field related book reviews see THE SOPHON REVIEW OF BOOKS

Last but not least: Please vist the artists published in Everybody's Multi Art Zine: SOPHONZINE