Truly know thyself

July 23, 2009

I'm not sure what George Watson was trying to say about the study of English literature - something about it being a vehicle for self-knowledge ("The war of the canon", 16 July).

By all means promote and study English, but if it is self-knowledge you are after, the far less prestigious subjects of counselling and psychotherapy offer far more of it, much more deeply and directly, probably more painfully and certainly less pretentiously.

What a shame then that parts of counselling and psychotherapy training in universities are being killed off by cuts to equivalent and lower-level qualification provision. It's also a shame that so many students want to be spellbound by literature rather than gaining direct self-knowledge.

Colin Feltham, Professor of critical counselling studies, Sheffield Hallam University.

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