Workshop: Friendship in philosophical counselling

Philosophical counselling (PC), as any other form of counselling, presupposes a certain relationship between (at least) two people: the counsellor and the counselee. Given the particularities of philosophical counselling and the differences, still hotly debated, between PC and other forms of counselling, in particular psychotherapy, it is worth asking what type of relationship takes place between the counsellor and the counselee in a philosophical practice setting. Is it a business relationship, as implied by the common use of the term “client” for the counselee? Or is it still a therapeutical relationship, despite the differences between PC and psychotherapy, but maybe a lighter therapeutical relationship than in psychotherapy? Both are professional relationships, although very different in their content and guiding principles. The challenging hypothesis proposed by this workshop is that the relationship involved in PC, although still a professional one, rests more heavily than other types of counselling relationships on a personal connection between the counsellor and the counselee. That’s because PC requires a certain kind of intellectual friendship between the counsellor and the counselee in order to function and to be successful as a counselling relationship. As a rule, friendship is not only unnecessary, but rather something to be avoided in other types of counselling relationships. But in PC, the argument goes, sharing certain values, background beliefs and life-guiding principles, which is a common and universal feature of friendship, is somehow a prerequisite for a successful counselling relationship.

Short bio: Laurențiu Staicu is professor of philosophy at the University of Bucharest, Faculty of Philosophy, where he teaches Metaphysics, Philosophy of Biology and Ethics of Science. He has a private practice as a philosophical counsellor and he is the president of the Romanian Association for Practical Philosophy. His latest book, Socrates in jeans: An Introduction to Philosophy for Teenagers (2020), explores the main topics of philosophy in a dialogical form, trying to offer a fresh perspective on some of the most important philosophical questions and traditions.