What is the relationship between Islam and Mental Health?
- Spiritual Resilience - Islam offers a spiritual sanctuary for Muslims to live a peaceful life by using their inner strengths and having a strong relationship with the ultimate power, Allah, being optimistic, purifying their feelings, and not waiting for outside events to improve. Islam acknowledges the importance of spiritual status as an interior power that can be exercised to have a calm mind, healthy consciousness, and positive thoughts.
- Role of Patience - Islam attaches great importance to patience and it is the focus of about 200 verses of the Quran, and referred to indirectly in many others. Patience is a virtue that enables Muslims to proceed towards worthy goals, undeflected by adverse circumstances or repeated provocations.
- Evil Eye (Ayn/ Nazar)- Belief in the evil eye is found in the Qur'an based on the following verse: “And from the evil of the envied when he envies," [Al-Falaq (The Daybreak),113:5]. The concept of evil eye is the belief that an individual can look at people, animals, or objects and cause harm due to jealousy.
- Spiritual Possession- The belief that Jinn has the power to possess an individual causing harm to the person and those around them.
Is it ok to seek counseling or therapy in Islam?
The professional and ethical obligations of all mental health professionals are to respect your religious values and beliefs. If Islam and/or your spirituality is an important factor in your life, you should have an open discussion with your therapist or counselor.
Do Muslims face mental illness and mental health challenges?
Some common mental health issues that Muslims face are Stress, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Attacks, Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder, Psychosis, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Substance Abuse, Marital Issues.
If someone has faith in Allah (God) or Islam shouldn't they be depressed or face mental illnesses?
As a Muslim, you get affected by life’s troubles and disturbing thoughts like everyone else, but you can deal with them much better because you have a clear roadmap of where you came from, where you are going and why, so you have a head start having this fundamental knowledge from its source. (Islam Online Archive, n.d.)
Someone who feels completely lost and alone in the face of a crisis would probably feel helpless and depressed. But someone who feels supported by a compassionate God who genuinely cares, who listens to desperate pleas, and who grants generous help, has a better chance of getting back on track much faster because there is a strong helping hand to reach for while dealing with life’s troubles. (Islam Online Archive, n.d.)
“And for those who fear Allah, He always prepares a way out, and He provides for him from sources he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose: verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.”(Quran, 65: 2-3)
Isn't talking to an imam or religious scholar sufficient for someone to get emotional and mental issues?
The majority of Imams are not trained in mental health (or mental health first aid). Although many Muslims seek advice or services from Imams, there may be a gap in understanding between an Imam and mental health professional
Who do I reach out to if I need help?
Mental health is not limited to emotional problems. For instance, if a couple is having difficulty getting along; if parents and kids are having trouble seeing eye to eye; or if a person is underperforming at school or work; then a counselor or therapist may be able to help guide the person to resolving their problems.
What is the difference between different types of mental health professionals?
- Psychiatrist (M.D. or D.O.) - a doctor of medicine who specializes in mental health.
- A psychiatrist can:
- Diagnose and treat mental health disorders
- Provide psychological counseling (psychotherapy)
- Prescribe medication
- Psychologist (Ph.D., Psy.D., Ed.D.) - trained to deal with thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
- A psychologist can:
- Diagnose and treat many mental health disorders and provide counseling
- Cannot prescribe medication unless licensed to do so
- Licensed Clinical Social Worker (L.C.S.W.) - trained and experienced in mental health.
- A social worker can:
- Provide assessments, psychological counseling and a range of other services, depending on their licensing and training
- Cannot prescribe medication
- Licensed Professional Counselor (L.P.C.) - have clinical experience in mental health.
- A counselor can:
- Provide diagnosis and psychological counseling (psychotherapy)
- Cannot prescribe medication
- Islamic Chaplain - Imam or scholar with Islamic knowledge.
- An Islamic counselor can:
- Contribute insight on Islamic views on mental health and work alongside mental health professionals to provide overall counseling
- Give support to Muslim families dealing with mental health issues
What are the different types of treatments and methodologies that mental health professionals use to provide counseling and therapy to their clients?
- Psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapies. This approach focuses on changing problematic behaviors, feelings, and thoughts by discovering their unconscious meanings and motivations. Psychoanalytically oriented therapies are characterized by a close working partnership between therapist and patient. Patients learn about themselves by exploring their interactions in the therapeutic relationship.
- Behavior therapy. This approach focuses on learning's role in developing both normal and abnormal behaviors.
- Cognitive therapy. Cognitive therapy emphasizes what people think rather than what they do.
- Humanistic therapy. This approach emphasizes people's capacity to make rational choices and develop to their maximum potential. Concern and respect for others are also important themes.
- Integrative or holistic therapy. Many therapists don't tie themselves to anyone's approach. Instead, they blend elements from different approaches and tailor their treatment according to each client's needs.
(American Psychological Association, n.d.)
Where can I find a therapist or counselor?
The Institute of Muslim Mental Health’s website has a directory of mental health providers. This directory is a very useful tool to help people find a counselor, therapist, psychologist, and/or psychiatrist throughout North America.
Please visit: www.MuslimMentalHealth.com
How do I choose the right counselor or therapist for me?
1. Ask friends and family
Ask friends who are in therapy if they like their therapist. If they do, find out what it is they like about them and ask your friends to ask their therapists for referral lists.
2. Shop online
hen therapist shopping I would look for therapists who are not selling themselves but rather those telling you about their work and their philosophy of working with patients.
3. A picture tells a story
If you have any doubts about a therapist based on photos, I would listen to your intuition. See if you can find someone who you could easily sit across from.
When choosing a therapist, almost all people have an instinctive idea on the gender they would prefer to work with.
5. Theoretical orientation
If you believe there is an unconscious motivation for your behavior, you might want to go to a psychodynamic therapist.
If you want to change your thoughts and you think doing that will change your life, and you don't believe in an unconscious, then you might want a cognitive therapist.
If you don't ever want to talk about mom and dad and you only want the here and now then maybe narrative, behavioral, or solution-oriented therapies are something to consider.
If you want to work on your family and not just on you, then try a family-oriented systems therapist. Let me say again that was an enormous oversimplification.
6. Call them
When you find a therapist to call, then call.
Where did he go to school?
What is her specialty?
Has he worked with people with your issues?
What is her-his training?
Is she licensed?
Just notice how you feel on the phone and after you have made the appointment. On your first appointment, notice how you feel when you are in the room with your new therapist.
Also notice if there are any red flags, any ethical, boundary issues, or cottage cheese eating that starts to arise. If there are, it might be time to pick another therapist.
I'm afraid if I get a Muslim therapist my personal issues I share will be shared in the community. Should I still get a Muslim therapist or counselor? What are the pros and cons of getting therapy or counseling from a Muslim therapist or counselor?
Confidentiality is a respected part of psychology's code of ethics. Psychologists understand that for people to feel comfortable talking about private and revealing information, they need a safe place to talk about anything they'd like, without fear of that information leaving the room. They take your privacy very seriously.
Laws are also in place to protect your privacy. The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) contains a privacy rule that creates national standards to protect individuals' medical records and personal health information, including information about psychotherapy and mental health.
The HIPAA Privacy Rule is designed to be a minimum level of protection. Some states have even stricter laws in place to protect your personal health information. You can contact your state's board of psychology to find out its laws and protections.
At your first visit, a psychologist should give you written information explaining privacy policies and how your personal information will be handled. This information will explain that in some cases, there are exceptions to the privacy rule, as described below.
(American Psychological Association, n.d.)
Islam Online Archive. (n.d.). Islam and Depression.Retrieved from https://archive.islamonline.net/?p=5267
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Different approaches to psychotherapy. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/topics/therapy/psychotherapy-approaches
Cleantis, T. (2011, Feb 16). How to Find the Best Therapist for You. Psychology Today. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/freudian-sip/201102/how-find-the-best-therapist-you
American Psychological Association. (n.d.). Protecting your privacy.Understanding confidentiality. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/helpcenter/confidentiality