Volume 14, Issue 1, Spring 2000
Peter B. Raabe
How Philosophy Can Help You Feel Better
Philosophical Counseling and the Emotions
The theoretical nature of academic philosophy has led to the assumption that a philosophical inquiry is not an appropriate means by which to explore the emotional issues encountered in everyday life. But a closer examination of various conceptions of the emotions leads to the conclusion that a person’s unwelcome emotions don’t simply erupt unexpectedly out of the unconscious and for no reason, but rather that they are generated in large part by a person’s unexamined assumptions and beliefs about himself and the world in which he lives. Therefore philosophical inquiry into these unexamined assumptions and beliefs, as it is conducted in philosophical counseling, has the potential to alleviate the pain and suffering of undesired emotions.