The Healing Counsel Practice

It's not pedagogy. It's not psychotherapy. It's psychagogy.

Healing counsel is neither psychotherapy nor pedagogy. It is a contemporary practice of psychagogy. Psychagogy is pedagogy’s lesser-known twin; both were born in Ancient Greece. Socrates was a psychagogue! If pedagogy literally means “to act upon or lead children,” then psychagogy means “leading or acting upon psyches (or souls).” Psychagogy embraces and supports the process through which we change our relations to our psyches, our souls, and ourselves. It also asks us to appreciate that our psyches only exist because we live with--and depend upon--others.

As a therapeutic method, psychagogy unfolds through lively conversation. Although we don't always notice it, “converse” (from the Latin root converso) initially denotes: to revolve, to turn around, to invert, to change. Through conversing deeply and openly with one another, we can sometimes turn our "selves" around, and thereby change our lives. 

Healing Counsel promotes this kind of transformative conversation. Counseling is necessarily a collaboration, and in its most literal sense it means “to go with” or “to jump with.” In healing counsel, when we converse, we jump into the streams of life together and attempt to follow their healing currents.

Professor Ed Cohen Healing Counsel Practice
Professor Ed Cohen Healing Counsel Practice

My practice emerges from the skills and resources I have developed while living and thriving with Crohn’s disease. Over the last 40 years or so, this experience has challenged me not only to desire to heal, but also to recognize that healing is a value. Unfortunately, in our culture we too often fail to appreciate it as such. In so doing, we fail to recognize ourselves as care-full beings.

Luckily for us, life provides many opportunities to redress our neglect. Unluckily, they often occur in circumstances that involve pain, debility, and loss.

As a therapeutic process, Healing Counsel encourages us to embrace the potential for healing embedded in even our most traumatic experiences. From our sessions you can expect to gain clearer insights about the intelligence that illnesses often reveal (if only in concealed forms) and to develop strategies for cultivating more healing relations to your “self” and to the world. Reframing illness–or any of the other shit that life sends our way–as a call for healing, healing counsel seeks to expand our repertoire for living with more grace and freedom.