Stoicism is a school of Greek philosophy founded in the 3rd Century BCE by Zeno of Citium in the early 3rd century BCE and expounded upon by philosophers such as Epictetus and Marcus Aurelius among others. Essentially Stoics were concerned with understanding the relationship between cosmic determinism and human freedom, as well as developing a system of ethics and virtues. As a consequence, the Stoics presented their philosophy in pragmatic ways, that is as a way of life rather than just a system of thought.
Interestingly, there has been somewhat of a renaissance in the field of applying ancient wisdom to modern forms of psychotherapy. Stoic practices, such as Socratic dialogue, contemplation of life, ‘mindfulness’ and daily reflection can be integrated into therapy; followers of the ‘Third Viennese School of Psychotherapy’ (otherwise known as Viktor Frankl’s ‘Logotherapy/Existential Analysis’) will already be aware of the applicability, and efficacy, of such an approach.
The University of Exeter is in the forefront of bringing together ancient wisdom and modern therapy; you can find out more about this multidisciplinary project, which is already yielding potentially exciting synergies in the field of mental health and well-being, at the project’s website: