Volume 12, Issue 1, Spring 1998
Defining Philosophical Counseling
According to Kuhn a new scientific discipline comes into existence when a group of scientists adopt a common paradigm within which to conduct research. The adoption of this paradigm senes to focus the attention of the group’s members on a common explanatory task-at-hand and leads them to adopt similar methods and aims, thus making possible the standard puzzle solving activities that allow normal science to advance rapidly. However, Kuhn argues, in pre-paradigm periods and during revolutionary phases, scientists do not engage in such singleminded, puzzle-solving behavior, as the paradigm itself is put into question. Instead, during these periods, they become at least partially self-reflective in that they become interested in understanding the nature of their discipline and its relationships to other disciplines. In this paper, I argue that Philosophical Counseling is in a pre-paradigm period and is in need of a paradigm centered definition if it is to develop an identity and advance rapidly. In an Aristotelian mood, I seek this definition though an examination of the related fiends of psychotherapy and pastoral counseling.