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Thinker Shrinks

Socrates or psychotherapy? Plato or Prozac? Last month a thoughtful Washington Post article, "Philosophical counselors rely on eternal wisdom of great thinkers", discussed the notion that instead of psychiatry or medication some people struggling with grief, depression, marital woes, etc. might be helped more by studying philosophy. Author Emily Wax describes advisors in the field: "They're like intellectual life coaches. Very intellectual." Mental health professionals are of course worried by the competition. Many recent objective studies show that conventional therapy is largely a placebo phenomenon. And as Lou Marinoff, professor at City College of New York notes, "The Greeks had ancient philosophers at every street corner. Today, our society is more like Rome with our circus culture. It's all very entertaining. But we have to change the public perception of a philosopher as some useless academic relic." Wax's essay ends with a Zen-ish quote from Epicurus: "If a little is not enough for you, nothing is."

(cf. HeadlineSocrates (2000-05-30), ...) - ^z - 2011-09-19