A short introduction to counselling psychology by Vanja Orlans; Susan Van Scoyoc

Psychotherapy

By Vanja Orlans; Susan Van Scoyoc

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There is currently much heated debate in this field, with many writers setting up a modernist monster to be radically deconstructed, and others wanting to accept the critical turn without throwing the baby out with the bathwater. qxp 11/18/2008 6:42 PM PHILOSOPHICAL CONSIDERATIONS Page 37 37 as suggested by Feyerabend (1987), what is necessary is that we aim to ‘go beyond empty slogans and [to] start thinking’ (italics in the original, 1987, p. 161). The philosophical challenge for the profession of counselling psychology In thinking about the issues set out above, it is clear that the formation of a ‘core philosophy’ in counselling psychology is no easy matter.

This is a very pertinent issue at present in the field of counselling psychology and we think that it raises some important questions and challenges. As we shall see, there are many different philosophical trends that have all influenced this professional field, and there are also many different psychologies, a fact that we shall consider in more detail in the following chapter on professional knowledge in counselling psychology. Our own interest in the philosophical basis to counselling psychology is two-fold.

The basis of logical positivism is that all knowledge is derived from empirical observation assisted by the use of logic and mathematics. These developments followed the formation of the discussion group known as the Vienna Circle, a group who gathered around Moritz Schlick at the University of Vienna. Both Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) and Karl Popper (1902–1994) were for a time associated with this group (Frank, 1949). The rise of National Socialism in 1933 marked the end of this movement, although many of its followers emigrated to the USA.

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