Ora Gruengard (Israel)

02/03/2020

Ora Gruengard (Israel) - PhD, Shenkar College (Ramat Gan), the President of the Israeli Association for Philosophical Practice (with Lydia Amir).

Can philosophical counseling be detached from politics? (Lecture) 

What would you do if Hamlet were your counselee? (Round table discussion) 

Did philosophy ever mattered to me? (Workshop) 

Presentation Language: English

Can philosophical counseling be detached from politics? (Lecture)

In this lecture I propose to challenge the position that philosophical counseling should be detached from politics and wonder whether it can. I examine seemingly anti-political arguments and explore different meanings of 'politics'. I maintain, despite my awareness to the history of misuse of philosophical rhetoric in the use of political propaganda and indoctrination and cases of dishonest compliance of philosophers with oppressive regimes, that any philosophy that deals with knowledge, action, life and morality has political aspects, and argue that such aspects may and sometime should come to the fore in philosophical counseling as well. I therefore stress the importance of meta-philosophical dialogues among philosophical counselors about the complexities and risks of discussing such issues in counseling sessions.

What would you do if Hamlet were your counselee? (Round table discussion)

What would you do if Hamlet (Anna Karenina, Socrates....) were your counselee? In this roundtable philosophical counselors will exemplify their approaches in the case of a famous fictional or a real past figure, whose problem situation, worldviews and acknowledged dilemmas are documented in literary of historical texts (information that is not shared by participants and audience in a case of a living volunteer who presents a problem for demonstrative purposes). The aim, however, is not just to expose alternative approaches, but to estimate them in at least two ways: First, to examine thoroughly their relevance to the concerns of the counselee in her problem situation from her perspective (an issue that is evaded when the polite volunteering counselee is more eager to please the demonstrator than deal with a real concern) and then explore critically not only how it can help but also whether it can cause harm (a matter of moral responsibility to the counselee and to others that is too often avoided in expositions of alternatives approaches ). We hope to promote thereby a debate about the issue of understanding the concerns of the counselee from her perspective and the plausible interpretation of given information about it, and relate to controversies about the rationality and morality of counseling. 

Did philosophy ever mattered to me? (Workshop)

In many workshops participants are trained for counseling by learning the art of questioning and other methods and procedures. I believe that philosophical counseling should be based on the counselor's personal understanding of philosophy, and should not be done if the counselor does not sincerely believe that philosophizing can make a difference. The training should therefore start with the exploration whether and in what sense the trainee has ever experienced that philosophy mattered to her and helped her cope with an intriguing issue. Feed-backs from other participants and listening to their experiences from their personal perspectives may help her become aware that what worked for her will not necessarily work for others. Comparisons and discussions should help her formulate, tentatively, her own approach and understand better which knowledge and expertise she still has to acquire in order to do the job of counseling in her own way, and yet do it a philosophically, with honesty and moral responsibility. I expect to get feed-back on my approach to counseling and training, which would enable me to try to improve it.