Philosophical Counseling

Interview broadcast during the Midday Show of Blue Danube Radio on April 11, 1998


Blue Danube Radio: Time now on the Whistle-Stop Weekend to take a look at your spiritual well-being. If you're not feeling good, if you're not feeling happy - what can you do? You can talk to friends about it, you can talk to your family about it, or you can talk to professionals about the problems you are facing. One possibility of course is psychiatry, psychotherapy, another - and that's the one we can encounter today - is a "Philosophical Practice". We have invited Dr. Eugen-Maria Schulak to come to our studio today to chat with us. Eugen has got a Philosophical Practice. So tell us, Eugen, what is it, please?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: A Philosophical Practice is an effort to apply a philosopher's knowledge to practical situations and tasks. This means to open the treasure chest for those who wish to profit from philosophy. I want to confront the special interests and questions of a client with the different answers philosophy can provide. So I'm sort of a mediator between philosophy and the individual requests and needs people may have.

Blue Danube Radio: Well then, let's get concrete. For instance, I come into your Practice, Eugen, and I say I'm having a real problem relating to my brothers and sisters for example. How can philosophy help me in my personal relationships?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: One possibility is that I make a search and look how other philosophers thought about this specific problem. So I get a vast diversity of thoughts and opinions about this problem. I'm looking at the different ideas of the philosophers throughout the ages so that I can present them to my clients.

Blue Danube Radio: And you guide your clients through these different philosophical ideas or is it up to the clients then to make up their minds and chose the way they prefer?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: It's up to the clients to make up their own minds, but I think it is necessary to have contact with other possibilities, - with alternatives. This ensures a higher level of freedom.

Blue Danube Radio: The clients that come to you - what are typical problems they are coming to you with?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: There is quite a huge diversity. For example, there was a manager who consulted me because he wanted to talk about order and chaos. And then there was a Fine Arts Major, an architect, who wanted to discuss abstraction, and an MD who came to me because he wanted to talk about medical ethics.

Blue Danube Radio: So, one will come to you really to talk philosophy rather than to deal with emotional problems?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: Of course, there is a connection between philosophy and emotional crises. But, as a philosopher, I'm neither able nor willing to do the work of a psychoanalyst. I'm a philosophical, not a medical doctor. In most cases, people with mental disorders are not capable of engaging in a fruitful philosophical discussion. On the other hand, no one is totally free from mental suffering, and the philosophical talk definitely has healing aspects, that's for sure.

Blue Danube Radio: Are you regarded then by -, well, by the medical profession - as an exponent of "alternative medicine" or would you not like to see yourself in the medical world?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: I can't really separate philosophy from medicine, but I'm not a medical doctor. So, if someone has real medical or psychological problems, I will refer him or her to the appropriate specialist.

Blue Danube Radio: And - just to get a rough idea - how many Philosophical Practices currently are there in Austria?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: I think about three.

Blue Danube Radio: So they are few and far between - but they are very definitely worth the effort. - If you would like to speak to Eugen-Maria Schulak, his telephone number is 01-4021240, that's Vienna 4021240. And, Eugen, you're open to philosophy any time?

Eugen-Maria Schulak: Any time.

Blue Danube Radio: OK. Thank you very much for joining us.

Eugen-Maria Schulak: Thank you. Good bye.