An Islamic Inspired Approach to Psychotherapy

Salaam Solutions is an Islamic Inspired approach to Counselling and Psychotherapy.

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Why an Islamic inspired approach to Psychotherapy?

Most of our clients, when asked why they want to see a Muslim therapist said:

‘non-muslim methods of counselling did not connect me with my faith’

‘I felt unable to talk about my beliefs’

‘I want a spiritual approach to understanding my problem’

Although counselling therapies and therapists, muslim or not, promote an empathic, non judging and unconditional positive regard for others, research has found that religious beliefs and cultural differences will sometimes create barriers within the therapeutic relationship if the client/therapist differ in ethnicity, religious belief or culture (Cardo 2014).

What about if I am not a muslim or I struggle to practice Islam?

What is unique about Psychotherapy and Islam is that they both acknowledge that we are not perfect and we all makes mistakes. Islamic healing and psychotherapy are both about knowledge with the intention of gaining awareness of yourself and others in order to  find balance in your life.  An Islamic approach to counselling doesn’t mean you have to be a Muslim, or interested in Islam,  Islam is for all of humanity as is repeated many times in the Quran;

‘…the Quran, a guidance for mankind..’ (2:185)

What is an Islamic Inspired approach to TA psychotherapy?

At Salaam Solutions the therapist draws upon the theories of Transactional Analysis (TA) and Islam to offer both a psychological and a spiritual approach to healing.  TA complements the Islamic philosophies of Innate human goodness with its ‘Im Ok, your OK’ approach.

The psychotherapeutic process of a Transactional Analysis therapist is not too distant from the concept of supervision with a spiritual teacher or the practice of muraqabah (self supervision). There are some distinct differences, but the similarities are in the aims; self awareness, awareness of Allah and connection with the spiritual & religious path of Islam.

A Tarbiyah Sheikh guides a committed student who has given a covenant to change. This change is aided by the covenant and the Islamic concept of Muraqabah (self-awareness) Tarbiyah (religious guidance/beneficial Knowledge) and Tazkiyah (spiritual self- development through practice of a Quranic methodology).

The TA therapist offers a empathic, non judgemental environment for exploration of a persons barriers to achieving a positive future, also interventions that aid self-awareness and change. This is done by contracting what the client wants to change, analysis of the clients process with TA theory and treatment and psychotherapeutic interventions to facilitate an ‘Adult’ (rational, relational and realistic) way of thinking, feeling and behaving.

Where the students of Ilm (religious learning) once used to sit knee to knee with their Sheikh, that opportunity is becoming increasingly rare in the Western word. Can the psychotherapist offer an alternative or at least a stepping stone towards connection to a higher spiritual path?  Both relationships are similar in the beginning processes of transformation i.e. they are intended to facilitate a positive transformational base through relationship and facilitate self awearness. However there are limitations to the second relationship (therapist-client) and that is purification and elevation of the soul. This is where a criterion is required as set out in the Quran ;

The month of Ramadan in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for mankind, and clear proofs of the guidance, and the Criterion (of right and wrong).(2:185)

This criteria (or Shariah) is intended for a certain purpose such as a preventive advice, of which if adhered to will aid an increase in emaan (belief, faith) and through action activate  Yaqeen (certainty) of the existence of a Creator of the Heavens and Earth (Allah swt)

This [Qur’an] is enlightenment for mankind and guidance and mercy for a people who are certain [in faith].(45:20)

When Yaqeen (certainty in God) is desired in the therapy aims, The Quran  becomes part of the treatment plan. The interventions used in the psychotherapeutic relationship change towards Tazkiyah; spiritual purification within the Quranic methodology. This becomes a personal journey for the client/seeker between Allah and his guidance.

The Quran  inspires and assists the Psychotherapist to develop and the client to develop, its an ongoing process for all. The aim becomes guidance towards Unity (Tawheed) not only psychological balance, but soul purification and transcendence.

‘Verily in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest!’ (13:28)

 

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