Counseling American Muslims: Understanding the Faith and Helping the People

By Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy | Go to book overview

CHAPTER 4

Counseling and Counselors

ORIGIN, SOURCES, AND DOMINATING FACTORS
IN COUNSELING

I derive information in this chapter from interviews with two counselors, from the literature, and from my own study and experience to outline inherent values and dominant practices in counseling as we know it today and how they affect Muslim clients.

By doing this, I attempt to serve a dual purpose: to help counselors see how the counseling profession can become a tool of oppression because of the lack of competency in education, training, and sensitivity to Muslim clients, and to help Muslim clients formulate more realistic expectations, thus enabling them to overcome fears resulting from risk perception with respect to counseling. By risk perception, I mean the psychological conditioning that results in the unnecessary and unreal assumption of conflict between counseling services with the principles of the Islamic religion or with values and practices of the client's particular culture and subculture. This chapter is organized into three parts:

Counseling: In this part, I outline the foundations and the inherent value system
of counseling that may influence counselors' attitudes and relationships with
their Muslim clients. It is worth noting that the reference made here is to formal
counseling, which establishes itself with formal procedures and is occurring in
formal contexts. These contexts require that professionals and practitioners,
namely, counselors and therapists, be formally educated, trained, and licensed
to practice.

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