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Socratic questioning for therapists

Socrates was a Greek philosopher, the teacher of Plato, and the founder of what is often referred to as the ‘ethical tradition of thought’. We don’t know anything much about him directly since he never wrote down his teachings, but others have written about him and passed on his ideas. You might wonder what this has to do with therapy, but bear with me, because although he was a teacher, he had a very similar problem to many therapists and found a way to solve it that you can use too. Socrates taught philosophy, which is not a topic that lends itself to absolute answers. He wanted his students to think for themselves but, like many students, they expected answers from him. ‘Mr Socrates,’ they would say, ‘What is the answer to life the Universe and everything?’ (Douglas Adams had not yet been born, so they were unaware it was ‘42’. [1] ) OK, I’m paraphrasing wildly here, but faced with this or a similar question once too often, he developed a way of questioning his students that encoura

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