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the philosophy zone: discourse and dialogue


A 6-part series with Dr Steven Segal offered nationally via zoom

Thursday evenings monthly from June to November 2022


The word philosophy derives from Ancient Greek and means “the love of wisdom”. The study of philosophy asks life’s fundamental questions to help us better understand our place in the universe as well as our relationships and responsibilities to each other. It is a cornerstone of CEP’s reason for being and we are always eager to add fresh and distinctive philosophical components to our program. So we are delighted to announce a new philosophical series brought to you by our favourite philosopher, Dr Steven Segal.

This new evening series encompasses 6 generous 2-hour “bites” of discourse and dialogue using a framework that Steven calls CDE (Convention-Disruption-Enlightenment). Steven will use the CDE framework to demonstrate how 6 key philosophers’ views emerged through the societal conventions of the time to facilitate a new way of seeing and being in the world. Steven’s choice of the 6 philosophers stems from how relevant their philosophical perspectives remain today and how they can be used in the therapy room to form the basis of psychotherapeutic transformation.

Working through disruptions requires a therapeutic attunement and mindset. Steven’s CDE model allows us to bring a range of psychotherapeutic and philosophical frameworks into relationship with each other. Most therapeutic frameworks write about disruptive experiences as the basis for psychological insight, enlightenment, and transformation and have processes for working through those disruptions. Many therapies see experiences of anxiety, trauma and depression as disruptions which open the space for insight, enlightenment, and transformation. Steven contends that philosophies provide a framework for normalising therapeutic processes; that they are key components of everyday wellbeing; that we need them today, not just to thrive, but to survive. There will be plenty to discuss! 


Essentially, each 2-hour session will encompass:

  • Maximum of 25 participants to support CEP’s commitment to experiential professional development 

  • A discourse from Steven about each philosopher and the CDE model, including:

  • key elements of the environment in which each philosopher was living

  • how each develops their ‘vision’ by working through their particular form of disruption

  • articulation of their perspectives, which open new possibilities of being in the world

  • bringing psychotherapeutic and philosophical frameworks into relationship with each other

  • Break-out rooms for smaller group discussion 

  • Plenty of opportunity for questions and comments

  • Larger group discussion on how the CDE model can be used in the therapy room today


SOCRATES and PLATO: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 30 June 2022 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Socrates emerged in Athens at a time of tremendous disruption. He describes himself as being perplexed and even of having lost his path. By learning to welcome the perplexity of existence, Socrates comes to see the importance of developing perspective on life, ‘knowing thyself’ and of caring for oneself in everyday living. Disillusioned with the politics of the day, Plato let go of a career in politics and questioned the taken-for-granted conventions about political order.


For Plato, philosophy begins in moments of wonder and surprise. These experiences take us out of our everyday way of living and draw us towards philosophy as a way of questioning existence. Out of this questioning, Plato developed a way of thinking that has been described as the basis of western ways of making sense of the world. What value does the Socratic and Platonic attitude towards perplexity and wonder have in the therapy room today?




DESCARTES: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 4th August 2022 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

René Descartes’ philosophy emerges in the context of his own doubt. He had been brought up in a catholic family but, with the emergence of the sciences, he realised that he could no longer take his catholic beliefs for granted.


He was thrown into a state of doubt. Rather than being overwhelmed by doubt, Descartes turned it into an opportunity to develop a new way of seeing and being in the world. In this session we will consider the transformative power of doubt and clear thinking in the therapy room. 



MARX: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 1st September 2022 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

One of the themes that runs through the early work of Karl Marx is the notion of alienation. Alienation is an experience in which the working class is robbed of its dignity and self-worth. It is the experience of being estranged and powerless.


Marx believed that learning to listen through the anguish of alienation is also the beginning of the process of developing a new vision. In this session we will consider the therapeutic value of alienation for transformation in the therapy room.




ROMANTICISM: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 6th October 2022 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Romanticism is a response to the breakdown in meaning generated by the domination of a scientific and rational mindset. While not rejecting science and rationality, romanticism believes that meaning is to be found in the stories that we tell ourselves and others.


To find purpose and meaning in life we need to re-enchant the importance of stories, will, connection to others and to the land in which we live. The importance of the relationship between disillusionment and re-enchanting in the therapy room will be covered in this session







NIETZSCHE: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 3rd November 2022  – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

Nietzsche lived in the anguish of the nihilism about which he wrote. Nihilism is a terrifying experience which leaves one utterly powerless. By embracing and working through the powerlessness of nihilism, Nietzsche believed that a “re-evaluation of all values” take place.


This re-evaluation of all values leads to transformations in ways of living. His writings are very much his attempt to emerge from and find a way beyond the terror of nihilism. The value of working through nihilism in the therapy room will be considered in this session. 







HEIDEGGER: Discourse and Dialogue

Thursday 17th November 2022 – 6.30pm to 8.30pm

According to Heidegger, existential anxiety disrupts our habitual ways of being-in-the-world. By embracing and resolutely working through existential anxiety new possibilities of being-in-the-world are opened.


Being-in-the-world and existential anxiety are the themes of this session. And we will consider the value of existential anxiety as a disruptor to ways of being-in-the world in the therapy room.




Presenter: Dr Steven Segal 
Steven Segal PhD (Wits), MA (Wits), BA (Wits), BA Honours (RAU), BA Honours (Wits)

Dr Steven Segal is a registered and practising psychologist. He is also recognised internationally for his work in philosophical counselling. He was an Associate Professor of the Macquarie Graduate School of Management at Macquarie University where he lectured, conducted research and developed an approach to executive coaching and psychotherapy called “Existential Executive Coaching.” He is the author of two books which look at the role of existential psychology and philosophy in leadership and management. He is the co-editor of a third book called Face to Face with Management Practice. He has published over thirty peer reviewed journal articles.


Steven’s approach to psychology, therapy and teaching emerged not only out of formal studies but out of his own experience of working through mental health issues as a client and as a therapist. Anxiety overwhelmed and bewildered him in his early adult years. The more he worked through his lived experience of anxiety, the more anxiety became a source of meaning, purpose and direction in life. Steven sums up his experience with a quote from the existential philosopher, Soren Kierkegaard, who said that “Whoever is educated by anxiety is educated by possibility.” 


The Details:

Date: Thursday evenings 6.30pm to 8.30 pm AEST ( then AEDT from Oct) –  30 June to 17 November 2022 (see individual dates above)
Join the session: 6.15p.m to iron out any sound/vision issues
Session time  2 hours  (with break time accommodated)
Location: online via zoom (registrants will receive an invitation to participate and all the details they require in advance of the date)

Cost: $150 per session (flat rate)
CPD Hours: 2 per session

Package of 6 sessions $700 (flat rate)
CPD Hours: 12




Note to registrants: 
if you have registered for other CEP online workshops in 2022, the registration form will show checked boxes for those. Just check the box for this registration – you do not need to uncheck the others.

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