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Philosophy's Role in Counseling and Psychotherapy
In Philosophy’s Role in Counseling and Psychotherapy, Peter Raabe argues that philosophy is an effective method in treating mental illness. Calling for a paradigm shift away from the standard belief that the brain and mind are identical Raabe argues that so-called “mental illnesses” such as depression and schizophrenia are not the actual causes of psychological misery. Instead, they are just labels for symptoms. For example, the word “depression” is merely a label attached to a collection of symptoms such as sadness, hopelessness, and low self-esteem. Raabe posits that distressing or painful life events can cause symptoms that are often clinically labeled as the mental illness of depression. The suffering brought on by painful life events can often be alleviated with helpful discussions, and without resorting to medications. Because philosophy is the foremost form of discussion, it means that the suffering that is labeled mental illness can be treated and even cured with philosophy. Raabe ultimately concludes that philosophy is beneficial in three ways: it can prevent the onset of a so-called mental illness in the person who studies it, it can be used to help individuals suffering from the distress that is labeled “mental illness,” and it will enhance the competence of the counselor or therapist who practices it.
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