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What Gods Get Exchanged in Philosophical Therapy

In philosophical counseling, just as in any other psychotherapeutic work, what happens between the counselor and the client is not a mere conversation. The very professional nature of counseling suggests that a transaction is taking place, though a less obvious one than in many other types of service-provision. The service that the counselor provides to the client consists in meanings and emotions, and the ‘material’ that the clients give the counselors to work on consists mainly of the clients’ perceptions and appreciation of aspects of their lives. Counseling takes place against the backdrop of a dissatisfying life, or a desire to improve the quality of what is otherwise an acceptable life. Very rarely does philosophical counseling, or psychotherapy for that matter, occur with clients who are entirely happy with their lives. Thus, in a sense, the transaction that takes place between the counselor and the clients consists of meanings which are promised, or have the potential, to improve the quality of the client’s life.

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