"Where we are tempted to speak of 'different senses' of a word which is clearly not equivocal, we may infer that we are in fact pretty much in the dark about the character of the concept which it represents."

— G.E.M Anscombe, Intention

Is philosophical counseling a form of psychotherapy?

I do not present philosophical counseling as a form of psychotherapy; though psychotherapy is protected through legislation, the term remains poorly defined.

The New York State Office of the Professions defines 'psychotherapy' as "the treatment of mental, nervous, emotional, behavioral and addictive disorders, and ailments by the use of both verbal and behavioral methods of intervention in interpersonal relationships with the intent of assisting the persons to modify attitudes, thinking, affect, and behavior which are intellectually, socially and emotionally maladaptive."

The definition uses such broad language at certain key points that it suggests that 'psychotherapy' covers any form of rational discussion, including philosophical counseling. (For example, rooting out faulty assumptions and errors in reasoning through analytical discussion is clearly a "method of assisting a person to modify thinking that is intellectually maladaptive.")

However, words like 'treatment' and 'ailment' also suggest that psychotherapy addresses distinctly medical problems. Philosophical counseling, by contrast, is not aimed at diagnosing or treating ailments of any variety, neither mental, emotional nor physical; rather it is aimed to assist a person to think clearly, efficiently and deeply about the complicated and confusing issues that arise in life.