Muslim Counselor Online

We, human beings, experience ups and downs, pleasures and pains, relational problems, financial issues, and more severely, losses, disasters, illnesses, accidents and so on... These may influence our daily life, work and education. In most of the cases we seek help from others at those times; sometimes family members, friends, colleagues. Yet, all these may not seem to be sufficient sometimes and we seek professional help from a variety of practitioners, these may include the local imams, chaplains or mental health practitioners like psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, counseling psychologists, or social workers. They all have different approaches, strengths and limitations and different degrees of availability. Some professional help can be too costly, some may be very hard to take due to availability; sometimes we may feel pressure on seeking professional help, due to the fears of being wrongly stigmatized in our environment by “going to a shrink”.

These problems on the former paragraph seem to be universal in most of the societies in the world. Another range of problems about seeking psychological help may be due to the differences in religious and spiritual attitudes of the client and the practitioners. Every human is unique and many practitioners are claiming to accept every human being as they are with regard to cultural/ethnic/gender/religious identity, but sometimes those differences are so deep and these influence the helping process negatively.  Sometimes the clients have to choose which practitioner can understand and support him/her to overcome his/her problems.
For instance, a Muslim boy (17) from a pious Muslim family may suffer from social phobia, or chronic loneliness in a western country, and goes to a local therapist and therapist for that and the therapist assigns him homeworks which are tools for cognitive behavioral therapy. Some offers, or homeworks can include attending to parties, shaking hands with a girl ... etc. Therapist thinks that those are natural adaptive behaviors for his peer group. But the boy is coming form a pious Muslim family and considers all those as haram, prohibited. He loses confidence in the therapy and terminates the sessions. This does not mean that a non Muslim therapist cannot help a Muslim, yet in some cases, can have important difficulties and has to learn about Islam. There is a neatly written article in ACA resources with title “Working with Muslims: Perspectives and Suggestions for Counseling” by Shifa Podikunju-Hussain giving basic info on Islamic Understanding and worldviews. On the other part, Islam has a rich and deep spiritual tradition which enhances human capacity and flourishes human inner faculties and promote happiness and wellness in this world and in the other. Those resources should also be summoned for help in the therapy, I think. 
In this blog I want to express that I am trying to do a service addressing those difficulties. I try to offer a form of spiritually supported psychotherapy, which can be characterized as an eclectic approach combining Solution Focused Psychotherapy, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy and Positive Psychotherapy with overt reference to spiritual development. I do not offer "Islamic Counseling" as some would define, but I try to conduct therapy with a motivation to cultivate and support Islamic spirituality. I am a counseling psychologist with an M.A. and an A.A. degree on Islamic Sciences. I am also a Ph D. candidate on counseling Psychology. I live in Turkey, and speak English as a Second language fluently. I have worked for non governmental organizations, educational institutions and worked in a Guidance and Research institute. I have attended two Graduate degree programs and am continuing my academic career in a University. I am also working in psychometric instrument adaptation and book projects.
I am offering online, voiced, cyber-text and email counseling in issues like affective problems, developmental issues, psychological distress. For further information please contact form or the contact box below.

"My 3 year old son did not start to talk yet ...

"My 3 year old son did not start to talk yet ...

     Hi, My 3 year old  son did not start to talk yet.He does not utter meaningful words other than "Mother", "father", and a few words, and cannot form sentences. His utterances other than those make no sense at all. It has been three months after his third birtday. His peers at his age seem to have started talking.... What should we do?"

Hi, according to the Turkey norms of the Denver Developmental Screening Test II, the current performance of your child as you describe in this way, is suspicious, that means there may be a significant relay in his language development. However, this can also be a relay in the development, which can be compensated in the future.  In this age group, absence of fully-understood speech can not yet be regarded as a deficiency, but half-understood phrases are being uttered in the majority of this age group children. And be sure not to miss any opportunity of early diagnosis for your child by asking help from an expert. So the most logical step is to get started to seek professional help. A child psychiatrist in a well-equipped hospital in your vicinity would be a good option to start with. There are also special institutes for special education which may offer diagnostic sessions (i.e in Turkey, the closest RAM (Counseling and Research Center) can help you with your information). However these institutes may require prior medical diagnosis and refuse to directly examine children in this age group. If there were problems in your child's birth like (earliness (premature) , fetal distress, breathlessness, etc.); or did not receive breast milk at all, or did so in a limited time period, or if there is a history of febrile illness, I would recommend you to seek professional help urgently. By the way,remember, these are only possibilities, only a real examination by an expert would be the way to reach the truth. In this procedure please take care of yourself and others whom you love.
Best wishes for you and your child ...

Islam, mental health, mental health consultancy, mental health counseling, Muslim counselor online, online theraphy, spirituality sensitive therapy, text-based therapy,

Sibling jealousy

….After his sister (now 1 year old) came to the world, he became a much more aggressive and disobedient child. He crashes objects and toys at home and sometimes even assaults on his sister. He does not have any decrease in his academic grades. His father seems to underestimate the problem and he is reluctant to seek psychological help. … We try not to behave him justly as well as his sister and try to allocate time for him. What strategy should we follow?

Hello, Dzy,
Sibling rivalry and jealousy is a very central theme in psychology. It seems a totally negative phenomenon, at the first glance, but it has many healthy outcomes. Children, when interacting with siblings, learn to share attention, love as well as biscuits, cakes and toys. Although its positive outcomes, it may cause distress in the family environment if it is expressed with violent behavior. Male children seem to use violence as a way of managing with people. Yet, all these don’t mean that that the behavior of your son is normal. If he is assaulting his 1 year sibling, then there is a need for intervention strategy.
Sibling jealousy is a issue that worth being considered even before the birth of the younger sibling, the child should be oriented to the new era of life with requiring sharing attention and love of parents as well as his toys, room etc. The parents should assure the older child that he will be OK after his/her birth, that He will not be an “overthrown king”.
Don’t worry dear Dzy, there are also things you can do after the birth also. Please pay attention to these headlines:
  • Both mother and father should work to reconstruct the relationship with your son.
  • Try to understand the change in your attitudes towards your son? Does his father continue to do wrestling with him? Or is he always playing with the sweet Princess?
  • Try to schedule special activities for your son (i.e. going to football match with the father or some other place….)
  • Both father and mother should be consistent in their reactions to his violent behaviors. Put clear rules about harming, and negotiate on the sanctions if he violates the rules.
  • Do not compare your children; avoid exaggerated expressions of love when you spend time with your daughter.
  • Sometimes ask the help of your son when you care for your daughter.
  • Seek help and advice from your school counselor, if any or from another private practicing counselor, if you feel that your interventions are insufficient.