Mental Health Treatment For Muslims
Research undertaken by Leeds University has piloted a plan to assist Muslims with mental health issues to begin to re-embrace their faith as part of the treatment. I know that this can sound very risky for many of us in the psychotherapeutic world, as we have been taught not to interfere with a client’s religious beliefs. However, it appears that this approach is proving beneficial to many client. Muslims often do not present for therapy of any kind as there is still a cultural stigma attached to mental health disorders.
To me this seems perfectly logical. Whilst I hold to the fact that therapy and religion are two very different things. There are many people who faith is an internal part of their lives and that when they are struck down with mental health issues, these people may feel great shame and even that God is somehow displeased with their inability to deal with their lives.
Both the NHS and those of us in private practice owe it to our clients to be culturally aware not simply clinically aware. This is not to say that therapists should become theologians, but it is to say that when clients come to us, it behouves us to know a bit about their cultural background. Knowing this could provide a virtual tool in helping people overcome mental distress such as depression and anxiety.