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 firstname.lastname@example.org or the contact box below.