Martha Nussbaum wrote a book on the therapeutic intent of Hellenistic philosophy with respect to emotions. This was a particular extension of the broader ancient idea that philosophy was not just a theory of the world, but the way to the good life for a rational animal.

It actually seems to me that there could be such a thing as clinical philosophy. (To the partial extent that I think I understand Lacanian psychoanalysis, that seems to me to be a significant part of what Lacan was doing. He would have disagreed, because he claimed to have a point of view superior to that of the philosopher, but what makes his work interesting to me is the philosophical content and the way it is related to the clinical context.)

Ultimately, I think it is hard to separate ethics from something like therapy. Aristotle did not think this way. He in effect considered ethical discourse to be for the happy few who really don’t need therapy. But if we push ethics in a more democratic direction, then we do need therapy.

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