email page print pageAll Topic Reviews
Maximizing Effectiveness in Dynamic Psychotherapy Self-Compassion in Psychotherapy101 Healing StoriesA Clinician's Guide to Legal Issues in PsychotherapyA Map of the MindA Primer for Beginning PsychotherapyACT With LoveActive Treatment of DepressionAffect Regulation, Mentalization, and the Development of SelfAlready FreeBad TherapyBecoming an Effective PsychotherapistBefore ForgivingBeing a Brain-Wise TherapistBetrayed as BoysBeyond Evidence-Based PsychotherapyBeyond MadnessBeyond PostmodernismBinge No MoreBiofeedback for the BrainBipolar DisorderBody PsychotherapyBoundaries and Boundary Violations in PsychoanalysisBrain Change TherapyBrain Science and Psychological DisordersBrain-Based Therapy with AdultsBrain-Based Therapy with Children and AdolescentsBrief Adolescent Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Child Therapy Homework PlannerBrief Therapy Homework PlannerBuffy the Vampire Slayer and PhilosophyBuilding on BionCare of the PsycheCase Studies in DepressionCaught in the NetChild and Adolescent Treatment for Social Work PracticeChoosing an Online TherapistChronic DepressionClinical Dilemmas in PsychotherapyClinical Handbook of Psychological DisordersClinical Intuition in PsychotherapyClinical Pearls of WisdomCo-Creating ChangeCognitive Therapy for Challenging ProblemsCompassionConfessions of a Former ChildConfidential RelationshipsConfidentiality and Mental HealthConfidingContemplative Psychotherapy EssentialsControlConversations About Psychology and Sexual OrientationCoping with BPDCouch FictionCounseling in GenderlandCounseling with Choice TheoryCouple SkillsCrazy for YouCreating a Life of Meaning and CompassionCreating HysteriaCritical Issues in PsychotherapyCrucial Choices, Crucial ChangesDeafness In MindDecoding the Ethics CodeDeconstructing PsychotherapyDeep Brain StimulationDemystifying TherapyDepression 101Depression in ContextDialogues on DifferenceDissociative ChildrenDo-It-Yourself Eye Movement Techniques for Emotional HealingDoing CBTE-TherapyEarly WarningEncountering the Sacred in PsychotherapyEnergy Psychology InteractiveErrant SelvesEssays on Philosophical CounselingEssentials of Wais-III AssessmentEthically Challenged ProfessionsEthics and Values in PsychotherapyEthics in Plain EnglishEthics in Psychotherapy and CounselingExpectationExploring the Self through PhotographyExpressing EmotionFacing Human SufferingFairbairn's Object Relations Theory in the Clinical SettingFamily TherapyFavorite Counseling and Therapy Homework AssignmentsFear of IntimacyFlourishingFolie a DeuxForms of Intersubjectivity in Infant Reasearch and Adult TreatmentFoundations of Ethical Practice, Research, and Teaching in PsychologyFreud and the Question of PseudoscienceFrom Morality to Mental HealthFundamentals of Psychoanalytic TechniqueGenes on the CouchGod & TherapyHalf Empty, Half FullHandbook of Clinical Psychopharmacology for TherapistsHandbook of Counseling and Psychotherapy with Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual ClientsHandbook of Evidence-Based Therapies for Children and AdolescentsHealing the Heart and Mind with MindfulnessHeinz KohutHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHigh RiskHistory of PsychotherapyHow and Why Are Some Therapists Better Than Others?How Clients Make Therapy WorkHow People ChangeHow Psychotherapists DevelopHow to Fail As a TherapistHow to Go to TherapyHypnosis for Inner Conflict ResolutionHypnosis for Smoking CessationI Never Promised You a Rose GardenIf Only I Had KnownIn Others' EyesIn SessionIn Therapy We TrustIn Treatment: Season 1Incorporating Spirituality in Counseling and PsychotherapyInside the SessionInside TherapyIs Long-Term Therapy Unethical?Issues in Philosophical CounselingIt's Not as Bad as It SeemsItís Your HourLearning from Our MistakesLearning Supportive PsychotherapyLetters to a Young TherapistLife CoachingLogotherapy and Existential AnalysisLove's ExecutionerMadness and DemocracyMaking the Big LeapMan's Search for MeaningMetaphoria: Metaphor and Guided Metaphor for Psychotherapy and HealingMind GamesMindfulness and AcceptanceMindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for DepressionMindworks: An Introduction to NLPMockingbird YearsMoments of EngagementMomma and the Meaning of LifeMotivational Interviewing: Preparing People For ChangeMulticulturalism and the Therapeutic ProcessMultifamily Groups in the Treatment of Severe Psychiatric DisordersNarrative PracticeOn the CouchOne Nation Under TherapyOur Inner WorldOur Last Great IllusionOutsider ArtOvercoming Destructive Beliefs, Feelings, and BehaviorsOverexposedPathways to SpiritualityPersonality and PsychotherapyPhilosophical CounselingPhilosophical Counselling and the UnconsciousPhilosophical Issues in Counseling and PsychotherapyPhilosophical PracticePhilosophy and PsychotherapyPhilosophy for Counselling and PsychotherapyPhilosophy PracticePhilosophy's Role in Counseling and PsychotherapyPillar of SaltPlan BPlato, Not Prozac!Polarities of ExperiencesPower GamesPractical Psychoanalysis for Therapists and PatientsPrinciples and Practice of Sex TherapyPsychologists Defying the CrowdPsychology, Psychotherapy, Psychoanalysis, and the Politics of Human RelationshipsPsychosis in the FamilyPsychotherapyPsychotherapyPsychotherapy and ConfidentialityPsychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy for Personality DisordersPsychotherapy Is Worth ItPsychotherapy Isn't What You ThinkPsychotherapy with Adolescent Girls and Young WomenPsychotherapy with Children and AdolescentsPsychotherapy without the SelfPsychotherapy, American Culture, and Social PolicyRapid Cognitive TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRational Emotive Behavior TherapyRationality and the Pursuit of HappinessRebuilding Shattered LivesReclaiming Our ChildrenRecovery OptionsRelationalityRent Two Films and Let's Talk in the MorningSaving the Modern SoulScience and Pseudoscience in Clinical PsychologySecond-order Change in PsychotherapySelf-Compassion in PsychotherapySelf-Determination Theory in the ClinicSelf-Disclosure in Psychotherapy and RecoverySerious ShoppingSex, Therapy, and KidsSexual Orientation and Psychodynamic PsychotherapySigns of SafetySoul Murder RevisitedStaring at the SunStraight to JesusStrangers to OurselvesSubjective Experience and the Logic of the OtherTaking America Off DrugsTales of PsychotherapyTales of UnknowingTalk is Not EnoughTalking Cures and Placebo EffectsTelling SecretsThe Behavioral Medicine Treatment PlannerThe Body in PsychotherapyThe Brief Couples Therapy Homework Planner with DiskThe Case Formulation Approach to Cognitive-Behavior TherapyThe Challenge for Psychoanalysis and PsychotherapyThe Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Clinical Child Documentation SourcebookThe Clinical Documentation SourcebookThe Complete Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Couch and the TreeThe Couples Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Crucible of ExperienceThe Cure of SoulsThe Death of PsychotherapyThe Education of Mrs. BemisThe Ethical Treatment of DepressionThe Ethics of PsychoanalysisThe Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Gift of TherapyThe Great Psychotherapy Debate: The Evidence for What Makes Psychotherapy Work The Healing JourneyThe Heart & Soul of ChangeThe Heroic ClientThe Husbands and Wives ClubThe Love CureThe Making of a TherapistThe Mindful TherapistThe Mirror Crack'dThe Mummy at the Dining Room TableThe Neuroscience of PsychotherapyThe Neuroscience of Psychotherapy: Healing the Social BrainThe New Rational TherapyThe Older Adult Psychotherapy Treatment PlannerThe Other Side of DesireThe Pastoral Counseling Treatment PlannerThe Philosopher's Autobiography The Pornographer's GriefThe Portable CoachThe Portable Ethicist for Mental Health Professionals The Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Problem of EvilThe Problem with Cognitive Behavioural TherapyThe Psychodynamics of Gender and Gender RoleThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy Documentation PrimerThe Psychotherapy of HopeThe Real World Guide to Psychotherapy PracticeThe Schopenhauer CureThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Talking CureThe Therapeutic "Aha!"The Therapist's Guide to PsychopharmacologyThe Therapist's Guide to Psychopharmacology, Revised EditionThe Therapist's Ultimate Solution BookThe Trauma of Everyday LifeThe Trouble with IllnessThe UnsayableThe Way of the JournalTheory and Practice of Brief TherapyTherapy with ChildrenTherapy's DelusionsTheraScribe 3.0 for WindowsTheraScribe 4.0Thinking about ThinkingThinking for CliniciansThinking for CliniciansThoughts Without a ThinkerThriveToward a Psychology of AwakeningTracking Mental Health OutcomesTrauma, Truth and ReconciliationTreating Attachment DisordersTreatment for Chronic DepressionTreatment Plans and Interventions for Depression and Anxiety DisordersUnderstanding Child MolestersUnspeakable Truths and Happy EndingsWhat the Buddha FeltWhat Works for Whom?What Works for Whom? Second EditionWhen the Body SpeaksWhispers from the EastWise TherapyWittgenstein and PsychotherapyWorking MindsWoulda, Coulda, ShouldaWriting About PatientsYoga Skills for Therapists:Yoga Therapy
Practice is aimed at philosophers and other professionals interested in the
application of philosophy outside of, but supported by, academe. He examines philosophical
practice as it may be utilised as forms of counseling, facilitation and
This is a very different from, and much more
demanding than, Marinoff's previous book (Plato
not Prozac), which was far more
'popular' in style, aimed as it was, at the general reader.
I have read both the manuscript and the final
published version of Philosophical
Practice and, as I observed in my endorsement on its back cover, the book
is informed, engaged, polemical, amusing, concerned and passionate.
Marinoff says in his Acknowledgements that
Alex Howard hunted every hare; no utterance or implication eluded his
meticulous scrutiny. It would be
unreasonable to expect an author to allow critics to actually shoot dead every
hare they have hunted, and some of my targets have certainly managed to survive
the salvoes I aimed at them. These I found running around intact in the text.
Marinoff describes the development of
philosophical practice, the difficulties it is likely to confront, and is
already facing, and the direction he believes it needs to travel if it is to
establish itself as a professional activity of use to individuals, groups and
The book provides just the kind of detailed
practical information an aspiring philosophical practitioner might need, and
describes the work of the American Philosophical Practitioners' Association,
whose President is Marinoff himself, in furthering this work.
The book thereby helps readers move from
philosophy they may have learned as an academic subject to philosophy that can
be of practical use to clients in a variety of marketplaces.
Such a guide, and manual, for philosophical
practitioners, on its own, would be a very useful agenda that would quite
justify the writing of this book. But Marinoff has an additional, and much
larger, ambition. This is to provide a cultural analysis of what he
passionately regards as intellectual and moral decline, not just within
academe, but in many other parts of the society, community and polity of North
America and beyond.
This general account is relevant since he
values philosophical practice, above all, as a means of combating the moral,
intellectual, spiritual and emotional decadence and dissipation, which he sees
all around him.
The style of writing is deliberately polemical
and, perhaps inevitably, it has the strengths and weaknesses of polemics. On
the positive side, he hits home at his targets graphically, succinctly,
sometimes convincingly, with brutal and uncompromising clarity. Less
positively, polemical description is prone to exaggeration, can collapse into
name-calling, and does not reliably provide the (relatively) detached
marshalling of evidence that a calmer style of writing might encourage.
Marinoff observes, I think quite rightly,
that: ... professors
of philosophy must assume responsibility for having managed to reduce their
subject to irrelevancy in the larger community. (p 3)
Instead of using
language as a precise tool, Americans and others now use it as a blunt
instrument. (p 8)
He does not assume a world of inevitable progress:
'Homo sapiens' is
something of a misnomer; man is at least as rapacious as he is sagacious, hence
'homo rapiens' is surely a more accurate taxonomic depiction of the broad
spectrum of human history. (p 74)
He looks for signs of hope:
post-postmodern urban and suburban worlds of secular fragmentation, where every
man is an island, where most families are unextended, where many churches are
empty, where all communities are ephemeral, where local culture means a
shopping mall, the supermarket bookstore serves a vital function. (p 117)
And within the bookstore, as well as the boardroom and consulting room
he seeks to locate the philosophical practitioner. The discussion that might
take place there could, he believes, be an improvement on much of what passes
for 'Higher' Education in the academy and elsewhere. He is, for example,
rightly scathing concerning the effects of (the worst kinds of) post-modernist
Because there is
no rigor, one can talk in any way about anything; any proposition seems
credible, and, in the absence of rules of inference, any other proposition can
be inferred from it. One can ordain the universe according to fancy, or
re-ordain multiverses hourly. (p 146)
Marinoff shows forcefully and effectively
that philosophical problems are not the same as psychological problems. He
gives instances of the important philosophical problems that confront
individuals, groups and organisations and demonstrates that philosophers are
better placed than psychologists to tackle such problems.
He acknowledges the difficulties: What most theoretical philosophers lack,
of course, are the interpersonal skills and professional (as opposed to
academic) expertise necessary to practice philosophy as a discipline of
personal counsel. Those deficiencies are precisely what this book addresses,
and what APPA Certification Training Programs remedy. (p. 89)
Clearly such certification is a work in
progress and much more needs to be done to clarify and provide the kind of
personal skills suitable to the provision of philosophy outside of academe.
On balance I welcome the polemical style,
though it will not always help him make the friends he might need. Also, both
style and content do sometimes get in the way of the main message. For example,
as Marinoff acknowledges, the reader does not need to accept all, or many, of
Marinoff's political views and cultural perspectives in order to participate as
an enthusiastic and effective philosophical practitioner.
He observes of City College, where he is
employed: This is not a university;
it is a travesty. (In relation to its Open
And announces that: I am a political refugee from the People's Femocratic Republic of
Canada. (Further details in Sexuality
He asks, Where is Senator McCarthy when we really need him? (p. 318) (Oh dear!).
On the other hand, he bemoans the replacement
of steadfast moral worthiness with
(p 312) (Three cheers!)
This is a brave, sincere and important book.
I stand by what I said on its back cover: 'Read it!'
© 2002 Alex Howard
Alex Howard is a
philosophical counselor and consultant practicing in England and online. His last book is Philosophy
for Counselling and Psychotherapy.