"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

Does philosophical counseling involve reading philosophy?

Rarely. It is generally more efficient to stay focused on what the person who is seeking assistance thinks. This is partly because philosophical counseling is aimed specifically at clarifying and exploring some issue that is already on a person's mind. It is that very person's situation that is relevant — that person's way of thinking about the issue in their singular context, having made those particular assumptions, and having those specific goals in view. Philosophical writing tends to stay at some remove from these kinds of details. A good philosophical counselor will have mastered a wide array of philosophical tools, including clarifications, distinctions, arguments, and analogies (many from having spent a great deal of time reading and discussing philosophical works). Bringing these to bear on the real-life issue that is under discussion is the standard work of a philosophical counselor.

This is not to deny that there can be cases in which reading and discussing some piece, or pieces, of philosophy might be a sound use of time. Such cases are, in my experience, relatively rare.