Socratic Style Philosophical Counselling

Socratic Style Philosophical Counselling

Rooted in the philosophy of Socrates, this style combines well with Humanistic and Cognitive Behavioural therapy. It assumes that there are certain truths and facts that can be established (philosophical premise testing) and that the client needs to “remember” the truths that on some level are already known to him or her.

Midwife of knowledge

In Socratic style counselling the psychotherapist works with the client to help them remember the truths buried under layers of learnt and developed responses. In other words when first born the client is a “blank slate” developmentally, but has certain innate instincts. A basic empathy for others, a concept allowing language learning, spatial awareness ability and a basic concept of right and wrong as examples. As we develop, we adapt and when life is not ideal we adapt in certain ways for survival. This is natural, but if these patterns become ingrained and the new “default”, we are moving away from the authentic us.

Process based

Socratic style therapy tests the knowledge of the current behaviours and perceptions and has a “destruction” phase where inappropriate patterns are challenged and broken down. In cognitive behavioural therapy this would be:

1. Identify the actual thoughts and patterns –  self awareness

2. Identifying and challenging toxic thought patterns.

3. Establish what appropriate behaviours or perceptions might be (for the client’s personal authentic culture)

4. Goal setting and change processes

Similar therapies

Similarities exist between this method and mindfulness based analysis, cognitive behavioural therapy and cognitive behavioural analysis. In fact Socratic style counselling or therapy is a variation of style, and therefore it is quite possible to employ a number of empirically tested and NICE recommended methods (CBT, MBCT, DBT etc) using a Socratic style.

Stuart is a multi modal clinical psychotherapist, hypnotherapy, analyst and mindfulness practitioner with cross training in additional areas including philosophy, psychology and theology (University and or Post graduate levels).

Key Words

Philosophy, psychology, Socratic counselling, Socratic psychotherapy, goal orientated therapy, solution focused therapy, philosophical psychotherapy, toxic thought patterns, CBT, MBCT, DBT, depression, anxiety, mental health, Edinburgh, Falkirk, Glasgow, Scotland, psychotherapist, counsellor, hypnotherapist.