Jan 14 -16, 2022

University of Delhi

Patron Institution


Funding Agency

Department of Education

Organizing Institution

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Considering the uncertain travel conditions and possible lockdowns due to the new variants of the COVID-19 virus, the conference will now be conducted Online only. Meeting links will be shared through emails.


Considering the interdisciplinary nature of philosophical counselling, this conference aims to educate about and discuss theoretical and methodical aspects of philosophical counselling.

The aim of this conference is to bring philosophical counsellors together from around the world to share their experience through a series of sessions that will help in understanding what philosophical counselling is. These sessions shall enable us to understand the intellectual nuances of this field and how it can be practised innovatively to address contemporary human concerns.


Philosophy, which deals with the fundamental questions about life, is not given much space in public life in contemporary times. Philosophy encompasses various domains that specialize in exploring diverse modes of understanding human life. It is paradoxical that though the quest for its novel forms is increasing, something that is foundational to all forms and perspectives of knowledge is being neglected to the core. This has forced us to think about the essential realities of life, and many have realized the importance of philosophical works. Philosophy needs to be taken into public life. Such is the idea of philosophical practice, and those who do it are called philosophical practitioners.

Philosophical practice has been expanding for the last fifty years around the world. It started in Germany and later moved towards other European and western countries. It is time to strengthen philosophical practice in India as well. There are different existent ways of applying philosophical knowledge which include, but are not limited to, Philosophy Cafés, Philo dramas etc.

One such significant endeavour is Philosophical Counselling, which attempts to support those who require a philosopher to address their concerns. Philosophical Counselling is a contemporary counselling approach where the concerns of the counsellee (client) are addressed via different philosophical tools, enabling clients to cultivate what may be described as their inner philosopher. It is an integrated process of humanistic practice and rationality. Often, this process works through an extensive exchange of dialogues and discussions about clients' beliefs, actions, values, purposes, and commitments.



Philosophical counselling, as noted above, is an upcoming area of applied philosophy, and hence it is important to elucidate the ‘Concept’ of Philosophical counselling. This covers the four main foundational areas which are: The aim, meaning, stages and the need for philosophical counselling. The ultimate aim of philosophical counselling is to help the counsellee (client) to conduct an inquiry into their own life through which they can analyse, integrate and develop their personal philosophy. In philosophical counselling, there are a number of concepts that play a significant role in determining the interpretation of meaning in counselling. The various frameworks of interpretation need to be examined so that the conceptual foundations of Philosophical Counselling can be strengthened.


The evaluation of concepts is co-dependent with the ‘Method’ of Philosophical counselling. There are different methods through which philosophical counselling can be practised, such as Socratic dialogue (Dr. Gerd Achenbach from Germany); Philosophical midwifery (Dr. Pierre Grimes); Logic-Based Therapy (Dr. Elliot D Cohen); Dr. Ran Lahav redefined the world-view interpretation about philosophy in the form of ‘Deep Philosophy’, which is an approach to practising philosophy in a personal and contemplative way, both individually and in the togetherness of a group. Dr. Lou Marinoff works extensively around the four stages of philosophical counselling by using the relevant philosophy as per the counsellee needs. Besides these five main approaches, many more techniques and methods are also upcoming like Existential approaches, Taoist approaches, Stoic approaches, and Humour based approaches (Lydia Amir).


Philosophical counselling has drawn various critiques from both psychologists and philosophers. Many psychologists and psychiatrists are sceptical of the authenticity and usefulness of Philosophical Counselling. Philosophical Counselling has also simultaneously criticized psychotherapy, viz over-emphasis on psycho-pathology, reductionist tendencies towards ethical egoism, and relativism.

Thus, this conference would explore debates, such as the relevance of clinical criteria in Philosophical Counselling, determining the suitability of Philosophical Counselling for a counsellee, certification and standardization of the practice of Philosophical Counselling. Hence, the debates will refine the acceptance of philosophical counselling.


Philosophical Counselling through Indian Philosophy

Since religion and culture play a significant role in the cultivation of one’s thoughts and lifestyle, many practitioners also approach Philosophical Counselling via thinkers and philosophical traditions of India. Indian philosophy comprises some of the most ancient systems of the world. It is supported by a vast number of ancient testimonials and authoritative texts of reliable thinkers and scriptures. Philosophical Counselling shares a lot of structural similarities with many Indian philosophies. The main aim of Indian philosophy is to begin life with self-introspection and then move towards a hopeful end by providing sensible solutions to overcome the dark realities of life. Thus, the conference would also engage with philosophical texts, stories, and writings of thinkers from India, such as Kabir & Krishnamurti, who have been viewed as Philosophical Counsellors.