Never heard of Philosophical Coaching? Think of it as having your own personal philosopher to help you figure out life. Like a cross between a life coach, a counselor, and Socrates, (if Socrates were a down-to-earth, thirty-something mom with a Ph.D.).
More specifically, Philosophical Coaching uses critical inquiry and a deep knowledge of wisdom from thousands of years of human thought to help you understand your own patterns of thinking and live a more self-aware and flourishing life.
Here are some examples of the things I can help you with:
- Examine hidden beliefs that may be holding you back
- Articulate your values and priorities
- Make difficult decisions
- Work through moral dilemmas
- Explore questions of meaning and purpose
- Navigate shifts in identity and self-image
- Figure out your spiritual beliefs
- Define and explore your personal life philosophy
Depending on your desires and inclinations, I will sometimes suggest readings that we then discuss and apply to your situation. I also offer specialized support to new mothers.
In philosophical coaching, you and I have a direct conversation about whatever you would like to discuss philosophically. Sessions may be conducted by phone, video chat, or in person (in Portland, OR). See my Rates and Frequently Asked Questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What sorts of issues do people bring to philosophical coaching?
Issues suited for philosophical coaching may be professional or personal in nature. For example, a person may want to determine a new career path, address dissatisfaction at work, consider the ethical dimensions of an important decision, discuss relationships with romantic partners or family members, grapple with religious beliefs such as the existence of God or the afterlife, talk about shifts in personal identity and sense of self due to life changes, and many others.
I specialize in working with new mothers about the changes in identity, meaning, purpose, and value that come with motherhood.
I’ve never studied philosophy—will philosophical coaching work for me?
Absolutely. You don’t need to have studied philosophy to benefit from philosophical coaching. What makes our conversation philosophical is the use of critical reasoning and careful, systematic thinking to examine an issue. This does not require the formal study of philosophy and can be done by anyone, with a bit of guidance.
Studying philosophy in a class or reading it in books can give you a sense of how other philosophers have done their own critical thinking about an issue and can serve as a guide or example, but it is neither a replacement nor requirement for doing your own philosophical thinking.
Does philosophical coaching involve reading or writing?
Generally, philosophical coaching centers on the conversation between coach and client. However, depending on the desires and inclinations of a client, I may suggest readings that are suited to your particular issue or situation, which we will then discuss together. Likewise, I may suggest reflective writing work, which will serve in our conversations.
How is philosophical coaching different from psychotherapy?
Unlike psychotherapy, philosophical coaching does not follow a medical model, but rather an educational one. Philosophical coaching seeks neither to diagnose nor treat mental illness, and philosophical coaches are not mental health professionals.
Instead, philosophical coaching uses reason and critical inquiry to help clients better understand their own thought patterns and how those thoughts influence their moods, feelings, actions, and behaviors. It considers whether beliefs are true or justified and examines flaws in reasoning that may lead to dissatisfaction. (It is worth noting that, historically, many great theorists and practitioners in psychology and psychiatry had training in and made use of resources in philosophy.)
That said, philosophical coaching can be compatible with psychotherapy and a client may benefit from seeking both types of counsel simultaneously.
How is philosophical coaching different from life coaching?
While other forms of life coaching may advise concrete and specific actions that follow a particular worldview, philosophical coaching helps clients to develop their own worldview and focuses on examining beliefs, values, and behaviors in a critical and rational way.
Additionally, philosophical coaching differs from other kinds of life coaching in that those who practice philosophical coaching have advanced degrees in philosophy, while other kinds of life coaching require no such credentials.
Is philosophical coaching covered by medical insurance?
Unfortunately, philosophical coaching is not currently covered by most medical insurance, (but consult your insurance carrier to verify eligibility). Thus, I offer a sliding scale to make philosophical coaching more available and accessible for everyone. See my Rates.