Peter Vernezze Ph.D.
Philosophical Counselor (APPA Certified)
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About Me


Philosophy, when it arose more or less spontaneously across the ancient world about twenty-five hundred years ago, was intimately connected to the art of living. Socrates, Confucius and the Buddha were not only great teachers but exemplary figures in their respective traditions, offering countless generations a model of how to live a meaningful life. Over time, philosophy became disconnected from every day concerns, a theoretical rather than an existential discipline. In my practice, I attempt to reclaim the insights of this earlier conception and use philosophy a guide for action. In my work I draw on the three great wisdom traditions: Greece, India and China. My formal academic training is in ancient Greek philosophy. Of particular interest for philosophical counseling is Stoicism, which teaches us that while we cannot control what happens around us, we are in command of how we react to events, and this reaction is the key to our happiness. My book, Don’t Worry, Be Stoic: Ancient Wisdom for Troubled Times, demonstrates the many ways this insight can be applied to our everyday lives. My study of Buddhism is both theoretical and practical.  Academically, I spent a semester as scholar-in-residence at Naropa University in Boulder, Colorado—the first accredited Buddhist university in America—and have published in the main journal of comparative philosophy, Philosophy East and West. More importantly, I am a practicing Buddhist, trained in the Shambhala Tradition, and a veteran of numerous retreats and seminars at dharma centers around the country. Like Stoicism, Buddhism asks us to focus on our mental processes as a means to achieving well-being. Taoism and Confucianism are the two great native Chinese wisdom systems. I came to know these intimately during a two-year mission with the Peace Corps in Chengdu which I undertook while taking a leave of absence from my position in the States. I am convinced that an acquaintance with the Tao offers the key to balance and stability that is sometimes missing from our disordered, chaotic existences. In addition to the ancient traditions I have a particular interest in Existentialism. Although differing from these classic systems of thought on many substantive points, Existentialism takes over from the ancients the idea that philosophy should be directly applicable to the art of living. In my practice I utilize the insights of Existentialist thinkers from Nietzsche to Sartre to address such modern issues as meaninglessness, alienation and anxiety. As you can see, I believe the wisdom of philosophers contains much we can learn from. If you want to explore how these ancient and modern wisdom systems can apply to your life, further or perhaps begin your study of these philosophies, or simply ask a general question, please feel free to contact me. I have a special interest in adults making mid- or late- career transitions and/or going through substantive life changes in a nontraditional time frame.