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SC2016 The Consolation of Philosophy: how to use philosophy to soothe the soul, raise the spirit and live a serene life

Ended 16 Mar 2021

Sorry! The enrolment period is currently closed. Please check back soon.

Full course description

Course Overview

In the 5th Century BCE, philosophy made its way in the daily life of the Greeks. Back then, philosophy was first and foremost a practice, a tool to sort things out and make a difference in people’s everyday experiences. While in the contemporary conception this trait has largely faded, philosophy can still be applied as an instrument to explore, articulate and clarify some aspects of our everyday lives. Philosophical counselling has been developing as a non-therapeutical discursive practice from the 1950s, and, since then, philosophical practitioners have expanded the scope and means of this approach.

This course will discuss several ways of using philosophy as a “therapy for the sane”, drawing ideas from both Western and Eastern traditions, as well as introducing corollary practices such as bibliotherapy, poetry therapy, philosophical journaling and other forms of using discourse and words to soothe pain, uplift the spirit and cultivate happiness.

Particularly in these times, after the burst of the COVID-19 crisis, philosophy can be a powerful resource to navigate through the challenges, sorrows, joys and fears of daily life. Philosophy opens new scenarios, broadens the mind and hands us alternative instruments to look at our surroundings, relationships and self-care. From mid-life crisis to heartbreaks, from emotional overflows to blunt boredom, from mourning to sheer panic, the cabinet of the philosophers have covered it all. Jump on board.

This course blends theoretical insights with practical exercises. Students will be invited to engage with some of the practices presented, both in class and during the following week. Along the course a dynamic and interactive approach will provide students with tools that might be deployed and implemented in their daily lives. Resources, reading lists and activities will be made available to develop a sound understanding of the topics covered in class.

Course Schedule 


Classes will be delivered online on Tuesdays 7-9pm for eight weeks from 26 January to 16 March.


1. Introduction. “A therapy for the sane”: what is philosophical counselling? From Pierre Grime’s “philosophical midwifery” to Alain De Botton’s project the “School of Life” and the differences between philosophical practices and psychotherapies.

2. The roaring days of philosophy: Socrate’s daemon and the maieutical method, a blueprint for philosophical counselling.

3. Carpe diem, or two ways of seizing the moment: Epicureanism and Stoicism

4. Fast forward: queer theory, sexualities, gender troubles, and the sentimental education

5. Sweet sixteen: philosophical counselling for teenagers and philosophy for children

6. Journaling and bibliotherapy: self-narrations and others' lives as philosophical tools.

7. Poetry therapy and voice therapy: from discourse to words, from words to sounds or how to find new concepts and stepping out of common sense.

8. Thinking of the unthought: meditation, breathing and non-discursive ways of juggling with concepts – the Eastern route. 

Course Lecturer

Dr. Valeria Venditti is an IRC post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Philosophy, UCC. Her academic research revolves around LGBT rights, feminisms and the creation of alternative communities and affirmative practices. While working on her academic career, she followed and completed courses, seminars and workshops in Philosophical Counselling, Philosophy for Children and Blibliotherapy and Poetry Therapy. Meanwhile, after 7 years of practice, she pursued her passion for yoga, became a certified yoga teacher in 2014 and has deepen her knowledge enrolling in courses of the Oxford Society for Hindu Studies.

In 2015, Valeria founded the association of Philosophical Counseling Philein, where she worked until 2019. During this period, she worked as a philosophical therapist, gave workshops and offered group therapies, worked in kindergartens and primary schools playing with philosophy and learning a lot. She has specialized in teenagers’ dramas, body-related obsessions, relational rollercoasters and hammering thoughts. Since 2016 she regularly teaches yoga and gives philosophical sessions in person or online.

Entry Requirements

Applicants must be at least 18 years old at course commencement.


Short courses are not assessed. Students will receive a UCC Certificate of Attendance upon completion.

Closing Date for Application

Monday 18 January

Contact Details for Further Information

Regina Sexton, Phone: 021-4904700, Email: