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Similar to philosophical counseling, but not a mental health service, philosophical consultation examines the reasoning and emotions involved in many of life’s difficulties and challenges.


Life can be pretty great. It can also be awfully difficult. And as if it weren’t hard enough already, we often go on making it worse for ourselves, whether by handling difficulties poorly, creating troubles where none needed to exist, and even messing up happy moments with foolish mistakes. Often these frustrating errors are embedded in underlying patterns of reasoning – reasoning that we are able to understand and correct, but when only we could see it clearly for what it is and generate more appealing alternatives. Individual philosophical consultation is a means of doing just that.

At other times we simply can’t think all the way through something clearly. It’s just too complicated and uncertain. Or maybe too many emotions are caught up with it, distorting impartiality and confusing the overall picture. Or you find yourself stuck at an impasse, able to conceive of options but not able to find any which feel legitimately acceptable. Philosophical consultation can often bring light such intellectually and existentially frustrating situations, and may enable one to find a better vantage point from which to view the matter.


Individual Philosophical Consultation Is

Logical

The National Philosophical Counseling Association’s preferred method analyzes patterns of cognitive, emotional, and behavioral reasoning.


Creative

Creative and aesthetic as well as critical, new perspectives and habits of thought can be discovered and adopted.


Inclusive

Logic-Based Consultation accommodates most worldviews, seeking solutions and views which resonate with each individual.


Additionally . . . (options and specialties)

Are you Interested in Stoic or Buddhist Approaches?

We can draw specifically on either of those, if that’s your jam.


Do You Have a Career-Related Concern?

We can use career-focused methods along with Logic-Based Consultation.



For happiness is at once the thing most beautiful, best, and most pleasant.

-Aristotle (Eudemian Ethics)

About the Consultant

Matthew Veneklase, M.A., NPCA-certified consultant

In my work as a philosophical consultant, I help clients better understand and deal with many difficult or confusing aspects of life: Thinking more clearly about a complex and uncertain issue. Uncovering the logic behind excessive or misguided emotions. Gaining perspective on a change or transition. Finding or re-finding meaning. Becoming a better human being. Philosophy’s creative and logical methods are in many ways universal, and its ideas touch most aspects of life. Thus the list is long.

(I’m not just being poetic. Further below on this page, there really is a long list of example problems/issues/concerns for which philosophical consultation may be appropriate and useful. Take a look!)

I typically use a Logic-Based Consultation approach. I’m also open to having less structured conversations if a client wishes. And we can bring in other methods if needed, as with career-related concerns such as finding the right occupation.

I’m a member of the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA), and certified in Logic-Based Consultation. (Here is a link to the NPCA practitioner directory, where you’ll find me listed under Ohio.) I hold a Master of Arts in Philosophy (Kent State University), and as of May 2019 a certificate in Career and Academic Advising.

In the Greater Cleveland Area, I can meet with clients in-person. Anywhere else in the US (and also in Cleveland), I can meet virtually via video-call.

Although philosophical consultation is commonly referred to as philosophical counseling, and although Logic-Based Consultation is also referred to as Logic-Based Therapy, please note that what I offer is not a mental health service, and that I am not a mental health professional.

Don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions or would like to discuss scheduling a meeting. There are a phone number and a contact form further below, or you can click the link in the website menu or right here: Contact!

Continue reading below to learn more about individual philosophical consulting. Then explore the rest of the site! (It should continue to grow.)

About Philosophical Consultation

Is this the same thing as philosophical counseling?

In many parts of the country, the type of philosophical consultation I offer would be called philosophical counseling, and I would be referred to as a philosophical counselor. However, in Ohio we have some fairly strict laws which restrict the word ‘counselor’ to licensed mental health professionals. Like most NPCA philosophical practitioners, I am not a mental health professional, and I do not claim to provide a mental health service. For this reason I avoid referring to myself as a philosophical counselor, and I avoid referring to what I do as philosophical counseling.

Although the NPCA does now mark a distinction between philosophical “counselors,” who are also mental health professionals, and philosophical “consultants,” who are not, the NPCA also sometimes uses the terms such as ‘counselor’, ‘counseling’, and even ‘therapy’ with reference to all philosophical practitioners, as you will observe below.

Is this a form of philosophical practice?

Yes. The terms ‘philosophical practice’ and ‘philosophical practitioner’ refer to all philosophical consultants, counselors, coaches, advisors, or guides, regardless of whether or not they are mental health professionals.

So what is this individual philosophic consultation?

Answer 1: a unique problem-solving approach

The philosophical consultation I typically offer can be thought of as a unique approach to problem-solving. Rather than start by brainstorming swaths of ideas which may or may not work, philosophical consultation begins by constructing an overall picture of the problem, and then by zooming in on the little structural details, the nuts and bolts of the problem, in order to identify precisely the mechanisms of thought/belief/emotion/behavior which may be producing the problem. This is not a matter of digging into the past or speculating about subconscious drives. Instead it’s a close, logical examination of the patterns of practical reasoning that are involved with the problem. The reasoning may be cognitive, emotional, behavior, or some combination thereof.

Answer 2: from the National Philosophical Counseling Association (NPCA)

Please note that although in the following quotations, the NPCA uses the terms ‘counseling’, ‘counselee’, and ‘counselor’, it is using those words as blanket terms for all philosophical practitioners, and their use should not be taken to imply that a mental health service is being offered, or the the “counselors” in question are mental health professionals.

“In contrast [to psychological counseling], philosophical counseling applies training in philosophy (theories and philosophical ways of thinking) to human problems of living. They, therefore, tend to view mental processes in terms of epistemic justification, that is, the justification of beliefs or claims to know. For example, a philosophical counselor may help a counselee with a relationship problem apply standards of logic and critical thinking to correct fallacious reasoning. As such, the philosophical counselor specializes in the examination and analysis of arguments rather than in looking for the underlying causal etiology of dysfunctional mental processes.” [1]

“Philosophical counseling uses philosophy, its theories and ways of critical thinking, to help counselees address ordinary problems of living. Such problems include midlife crises, loss, career changes, moral problems, work-related stress, and a host of other common, human, life challenges. Often, these problems can be addressed philosophically by helping the counselee to examine and reassess his or her reasoning about such matters.” [1]

What is “Logic-Based Consultation,” and is it the same as “Logic-Based Therapy?”

Logic-Based Consultation (LBC) is a particular method, or modality, for doing philosophical practice. It is the method endorsed by the NPCA. There is a brief explanation of how it works here.

Logic-Based Consultation is also (in fact usually) called “Logic-Based Therapy” (LBT). However, I avoid using the term ‘therapy’ for the same reason I avoid using the terms ‘counselor’ etc. (See above).

Does philosophical consultation have anything to do with career counseling, career advising, career coaching, etc.?

It can. However, if your “problem” is somehow career-related, then methods used by career counselors, coaches, etc. may also be used in combination with LBC or other philosophical methods. Similarly, career-related concerns, such as finding the right career or deciding whether to change careers, may benefit from philosophical consultation methods. (And since the word ‘counselor’ has been mentioned, I should again clarify that I’m not a mental health professional and am not providing a mental health service.)

What are some examples of “everyday life problems,” “issues,” or “concerns” addressed by philosophical practitioners?

The NPCA publishes this very long list. [2] And it’s not exhaustive. As you can see, philosophical consultation is not defined by a particular subject matter. Its logical and creative method is relevant across-the-board when it comes to challenges, difficulties, and uncertainties we all may face in the course of ordinary life. (Note of course that none of the following examples should be interpreted as a mental health issue.)

  • Moral issues
  • Values disagreements
  • Political issues and disagreements
  • Writers block
  • Time management issues
  • Procrastination
  • Career issues
  • Job loss
  • Problems with coworkers
  • Disability issues
  • Financial issues
  • Retirement
  • Aging
  • End of life issues
  • Midlife issues
  • Adult children of aging parents
  • Problems with family
  • Family planning issues
  • In-law issues
  • Breakups and divorce
  • Parenting issues
  • Becoming a parent
  • Sibling rivalry
  • Finding out one is adopted
  • Falling in and out of love
  • Loss of a family member
  • Loss of a pet
  • Friendship issues
  • Peer pressure
  • Academic or school-related issues
  • Rejection
  • Discrimination
  • Religion and race-related issues
  • Entertainment-related issues
  • Technology-related issues

[1] From the NPCA website at http://npcassoc.org/philosophical-practice.

[2] From the NPCA website at http://npcassoc.org/practice-areas-boundaries.


Contact / Schedule consultation

Schedule a meeting, ask me a question, or something else

If:

  • You want to schedule a session, whether in-person or virtual
  • You think you might want to schedule a session but you aren’t sure
  • You have any
    • questions
    • comments or suggestions
    • topics you’d like to see written about

Just email me using the form below (at any time), or call or text me at 937-601-8167 (Cleveland daytime hours only, please). I will get back to you ASAP.

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