The Problem as an Ontological Aspect of Philosophical Counseling

Daniel Alexandrov

Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohrdiski”
Abstract: The text studies how the practice of philosophical counseling (counselling, consulting), which began with Gerd Achenbach in 1981, works with problems. The first key part of the text looks at the history and development of the practice, as well as some basic understandings of what philosophical counseling is by considering different ways of practicing it. The second key part examines problem counseling with the client-visitor, and it presents the central thesis of the text. In both key parts, the author’s own ideas are presented, as results from the study of the literature. In the first part, an idea like that is the discerning of two distinct conceptions: elements and aspects. The elements and the aspects are further discerned from the philosophical concept of the practice. They are those conceptions, categories, and ideas, which define the different ways of practicing philosophical counseling, without them being thought of as final and ultimate to the practice. The elements and the aspects can be philosophical when they instrumentalise the philosophical concept of the practice. The study of problem counseling in the second part follows from the mentioned distinctions and ideas. While examining problem counseling, a discerning between the problem as an element and the problem as an aspect is made. An example for the first case is the problem as a goal of philosophical counseling, which defines the way of counseling, as well as the type of problem it’s going to work with: a life-problem or a professional problem. In the second case the problem undergoes specific methodological transformations, examples for which are: solution-orientated or open-ended methods and approaches. The central thesis of the text is that the problem is a (philosophical) aspect of philosophical counseling, behind which saying stands the understanding that problem counseling – besides other aspects of the practice – is not essential to the philosophical concept, but is rather one of the many ways for practicing philosophical counseling.

Keywords: philosophical counseling, philosophical consulting, philosophical practice, practical philosophy, applied philosophy, consulting, counseling, problem, problem solving.

Rhetoric and Communications E-journal, Issue 30, September 2017,,, ISSN 1314-4464

Read the original of the text (in Bulgarian)