Review of Business for the
began formal (financial) operation in November 1998.
Early in 1999 it conducted an academic awareness campaign by
distributing information sheets on the Society to the 33 philosophy
departments in Canada having graduate programs.
A Society Web site was established.
Discussions among the members during the first year focused on a few
major themes: codes of ethical conduct for philosophical counsellors and the
question of professional training and certification as possible long-term
goals; legal liability issues for officers of the society and for
philosophical counsellors and other practitioners; and debates about the
similarities and differences between PC and traditional forms of
psychotherapy. Members have
generally chosen to tackle these issues in a cautious way without self-imposed
deadlines, mainly out of concern that philosophical disputes may lead to the
fragmentation of the interest group in spite of some common values, much as
appeared to happen in the past few years south of the border.
same issues look likely to be important subjects for dialogue in the second
year as well. There have been
some developments in the substance of these discussions, however.
The Society is now considering a precisely worded Proposed Code of
Conduct (aimed primarily at counsellors) which was tabled in the course of
dialogue among several members. Some
members with a background in clinical psychology, social work or counselling
are now more strenuously advocating concrete developments in methodological
standards and clinical-professional training, as well as in a code of ethics.
Yet it became apparent during discussions at the First Conference that
members have not yet agreed on questions as fundamental as whether
philosophical counselling should ally itself with psychotherapies or consider
itself as wholly distinct from them and hence possibly free of the need for
such institutional regulation. A
stark example of this pluralism of views came in conference discussion about
the attitudes a philosophical counsellor could properly hold towards a
client's contemplation of suicide. Some
appear to believe that a counsellor has no place under any circumstances
accepting a client's conclusion that suicide is right, while others think that
it might be philosophically justifiable in some cases even if not legally
At this point it seems necessary to ask what we should hope to
achieve in concrete terms during the second year.
Further raising public awareness and further extending the discourse
among friends of philosophical practices are certainly common goals, albeit
hard ones to measure. There is
also a sense that progress must be made on the question of professional ethics
and criteria of competency, whether or not members can reach a clear consensus
on the nature of PC. Why is this
so? All members support "ethical standards and ...measures
to enhance the competence and skill of practitioners," but so far neither
have been definitively established. Yet
whatever becomes formalized in this matter, there is a keen interest in
ensuring that these standards and measures are both articulated and realized
in a manner that is fair and lacking in arbitrariness or non-essential
the annual elections at the AGM
Because of the absence of
contested positions, members nominated for Board or Executive positions were
elected prior to the AGM by acclamation as endorsed by the membership. The
results of the nomination process were as follows:
Dr. Stephen Hare
President and Secretary:
Hakam Al-Shawi, MA
Re-elected to the
Dr. Christina Bellon
Newly Elected to the
Dr. Jon Mills
One vacant Board
position remains, and the positions of Secretary and Treasurer are in fact
available, since they should be filled by persons other than the President and
Vice-President. Members willing
to assist with Officer duties are encouraged to indicate this and assume these
roles either as interim Board/Executive members or in their private capacity
relation to its very modest size, the CSPP's finances are in good shape, with
a year-end surplus of about $225 to be carried over into the second fiscal
year. Apart from required
administrative expenditures during the year (bank fees and the costs of
stationery, photocopies and postage of information to members), the only
expenditures were (1) a mail promotional campaign to 33 universities in Canada
with graduate programs in philosophy and (2) hospitality in the form of food
costs for attendees at the first conference in Guelph.
An open invitation was made for applications for travel subsidies to
any out-of-province members wishing to attend the conference, but there were
no requests. Low administrative
costs have allowed the Society to accumulate net membership assets towards
specific Society projects. Assuming no loss of members in the new year, the Society is
in a good position to increase its total assets to a record level.
Members are being mailed a hard copy of the financial statement.
some encouragement from certain faculty, Dr. Peter Raabe has applied to the
Counselling Psychology Department at the University of British Columbia to
begin teaching courses in philosophy for counsellors.
If successful, Raabe's proposed courses would represent the first
Canadian scholastic program of instruction directly related to philosophical
counselling. Raabe is also
seeking formal support from the Society in this proposal, which is under
consideration by the Executive and Board.
Raabe says that the Counselling department was the logical choice for
the proposal because there was little interest in philosophical counselling in
the UBC philosophy department, and a counselling school would already possess
needed expertise in clinical aspects of counselling.
Requests to Members
are urged to notify the Secretary and/or President as soon as possible of any
changes in their current mailing address and particularly in their active
e-mail addresses. It is sometimes
impossible to reach members on short notice with last-minute announcements or
information because e-mail addresses are out of date and no longer
of Official CSPP Address
note that the mailing address of the CSPP is now #2-356 Mayfield Street,
Vanier Ontario K1L 7W2. The
address was formerly 473 Besserer Street, Ottawa Ontario K1N 6C2. Annual
memberships are now due for renewal and members who have not already sent
their cheques are kindly asked to do so promptly.
Members who do not renew for 1999-2000 prior to the release date of
the next quarterly newsletter will be removed from regular and electronic
mailing lists at that point.
Call for Papers and Other
CSPP is submitting a proposal for a symposium on Philosophical
Counselling/Philosophical Practice to the Canadian Philosophical
Association (CPA) by the end of November 1999.
The proposal was suggested by Dr. Andrew Brook, current Treasurer
of the CPA. This symposium
would take place within the CPA Annual Congress at Edmonton during May
24-27, 2000. A second CSPP
gathering within about half a year of the first is a worthwhile goal, not
only because of the logistical support and exposure the CPA would lend to
the event, but because members who attended the past meeting are in
general agreement that "physical" discussions are more
satisfactory than the virtual forum in which members usually carry on
and non-members who would like to participate and have not already
indicated this are encouraged to submit statements of interest, paper
abstracts of under 200 words or complete papers of under 3000 words as
soon as possible to the Secretary, Hakam Al-Shawi, either electronically
to hakam@ yorku.ca or by regular mail to #915-15 Vicora Linkway, Don Mills
Ontario M3C 1A8. New members
are also especially encouraged to contact other members or officers of the
society if they would like the Society to consider pursuing any project of
special personal interest, or if they have suggestions about new ways for
the Society to promote PC/PP to a wider audience.