It has been quite a month. A month since a microscopic force turned our worlds upside down.  Thanks to Zoom meetups, memes, and attempting to homeschool four kids, I am relatively stable emotionally. But there are moments the emotions start to overflow and I get overwhelmed with anxious thoughts or become overcome with grief. I know I’m not the only one. Besides being mental health professionals, we have other roles too, as parents, children, in-laws, siblings and friends. And with these various roles come a plethora of responsibilities.  Sometimes it feels like we have to hold it together to keep everyone else from falling apart. And so, I wanted to check in with YOU, my fellow healers — when was the last time someone asked, “how are you doing today?” 

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While employees in various fields experience burnout, social service and mental health professionals are particularly vulnerable because of the high levels of empathy required by our jobs. We also experience the stress of working with clients who are often in crisis and working for agencies where resources may be limited. Our focus is to improve the quality of life for our clients while striving to ease their suffering, which can lead us to become emotionally and physically drained.

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“For 15 years, I thought I had the happiest marriage. I believed I was one of the lucky ones, but then I found out he was having an affair. It devastated me! It was like waking up to a nightmare from a fairy tale…I know Allah tests those he loves, but I couldn’t handle it.”

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donation

“Her children stare in fear, as her abuser screams and yells profane words at her, stripping away every bit of her self-respect and dignity. In shock, she attempts to understand what triggered his sudden rage, this time.”

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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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Knowing how best to advocate and work with clients who have been subjected to harassment and abuse can be a weighty and difficult task. It may seem even harder when those responsible for the abuse are trusted spiritual or religious authority figures whom our clients look to for guidance and support. When a client walks into our office with stories of such abuse, or we suspect that our client may be the victim of such abuse, there are several things we should keep in mind as we support them.

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