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.
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.
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.
Is talking to an imam or religious scholar sufficient for someone to get relief from emotional and mental issues?
Not all Imams are 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.
You may seek mental health help from a mental health professional and seek spiritual help from a spiritual professional.
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
- Conduct psychoeducational and psychological evaluations
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 counseling
- Cannot prescribe medication
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 the importance of what one thinks, how one feels, and how one behaves.
- 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 therapy. Many therapists do not tie themselves to one paricular theoretical orientation, instead, they blend elements from different theoretical approaches.
Questions to ask when selecting a mental health providers:
- Where did they go to school?
- What is their specialty?
- Have they worked with people with your issues?
- What is their training?
- Are they licensed?