Is it sensible for someone to carry out the study of philosophy at the undergraduate level or above with the aim of self-psychological therapy(in place of, or with orthodox psychotherapy)? Can it help us organize our minds to be in order? Can it reduce neuroses and anxieties, and make us happier?

It did in my case. I grew up in the context of two older half-brothers who made me feel worthless. (My mother and father had one son each in a previous marriage and when they got together and had two children, we were resented by their sons.) When I discovered the practice of philosophy, it was like discovering an escape from resentment, disrespect, and bullying. Ideally, when philosophy is true to its name of being the love of wisdom, it can be a practice in which one finds a site to engage in questioning and exploring (with others who treat each other with respect) values, matters of meaning and purpose, that can be therapeutic. I also found philosophy as a practice to be therapeutic when I recovered from a short period of abusing psychotropic drugs (LSD, etc). I basically found life with philosophy (without drugs) as a practice healthier, happier, less neurotic, than a life of blurry, self-abuse (and probably self-pity).

OK, so that is more of a testimony than an expected, scholarly or less personal response, so (to earn my keep, though I suppose the only earning panelists earn is the privilege of being read as there is no money involved) I should also add that the study of philosophy can lead to a very different outcome than it had in my case. Embracing Schopenhauer's worldview can lead to a regret that one has been born and some philosophers like Pascal, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche, can be read as seeking to instill anxiety (as well as offering insights on how to address anxiety and dread and renounce certain forms of consolation). In fact, our sort of patron saint, Socrates, seemed to specialize in making his fellow Athenians nervous by exposing their ignorance (about justice, holiness, courage, friendship, and so on). Moreover, those of us who are professional philosophers are far from perfect; we are not immunized against depression, unhappiness, neuroses and anxiety.

Still, my hope is that you might find in the practice philosophy what I did and find the reason why I am still very excited about the practice of philosophy and find it liberating and a source of joy.

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