As Muslim clinicians, we know firsthand the challenges and blessings of Ramadan and fasting. Fasting can be a struggle, even for the healthy individual. But how does fasting and Ramadan affect our patients? From timing medications such as stimulants, to dosing twice daily regimens to help with mood stabilization or depression – sometimes we assume our patients will figure out answers to these complicated questions on their own.

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The normalization of narcissism has become a prevalent issue in society, one commonly displayed in a positive light in the media. Our culture celebrates athletes whose trash-talking and declarations of being “the best” are coded as “swag” as well as high-powered, overpaid executives whose grandiose behavior is framed as bold.  Until recently, politicians fixated on their own achievements were excused as simply being politicians. The perceived success of celebrities, whether they be athletes or movie stars, further perpetuates the myth that narcissism leads to authority, influence, and wealth.

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Let’s face it, being a Muslim mental health professional isn’t always easy. We often times deal with stigma from all around – from within the community, from society and from in the masjid. We may share a common desire to provide care, healing and hope to the mentally ill members  of our very own Muslim communities. Some of us are often driven by rescue fantasies — but when do such subconscious drives blur boundaries? While we embark on this professional path with optimism, bright eyes and a sense of idealism, as we start to see patients of similar backgrounds, we may experience  unexpected feelings and challenges. This can raise our anxiety about caring for Muslim clients and patients, especially for early career psychologists, therapists and psychiatrists. And so it is ironic that the very reason we ventured into this field can become an area of anxiety and consternation. And while Muslim  clients oftentimes prefer practitioners of similar backgrounds, we know Muslims are not a monolith and represent a wide range of ethnicities, races and degrees of acculturation. How do we deal with situations when we are not the perfect fit as our clients desire?

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