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Philosophical Counseling

Principal Associate: Steven Segal

We often tend to de-emphasize the role of language in our lives and in our work. "Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never harm me" is an expression that is used to emphasize the value of action at the expensive of reflection. This common impression of language hides an important truth: language is our primary means for making sense of our activities. Language used to communicate effectively not only eliminates the need for "sticks and stones" but opens us to all kinds of creative opportunities.

Language is crucial in understanding our own blind spots. It is vital to appreciating the way other people experience the world. Indeed the more we understand the language that we use, the closer we come to understanding what we and others take for granted. And the more we can understand what we and others take for granted the more we come to understand ourselves and are able to develop with others a shared sense of meaning, purpose and vision.

Philosophical counseling is a set of practices that are designed to enable us to make explicit that which we take for granted in our experiences. It focuses on the assumptions that are implicit in the language that we use to describe our experience, situation, problem, and/or relationship. Philosophical counseling is of benefit to both individuals and organizations ready to shift their paradigm by examining that which is implicit in their experiences.

Dr Steven Segal is a registered psychologist and practicing philosophical counselor who has numerous papers published in the field of philosophical counseling and was one of the first to be registered as a mentor for the training of philosophical counselors. He is the Director of the Centre for Meta-Management Pty Ltd. He lectures in the area of Management at the Macquarie Graduate School of Management and also consults as an Ethics Counselor at St James Ethics Centre.


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Last updated:30 May 2001