Counseling American Muslims: Understanding the Faith and Helping the People

By Ahmed Nezar Kobeisy | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER 5

Counseling through the
Eyes of Muslims

In this chapter, I examine the decision-making process among Muslim families with respect to seeking counseling, the criteria of selecting counselors, and the factors that help make counseling successful.


COUNSELING BY REQUEST ONLY

Except for Wahida (a white American woman) and the Hikmats, none of the clients sought counseling or therapy on his or her own. Hikmat's family is different from other clients in two ways: the Hikmats have had a longer stay in the United States than other clients (over 25 years), and the husband has a postgraduate degree (a Ph.D.). Such difference in attitudes toward counseling indicate that education in U.S. institutions, a long time of residence in the United States, and consequently a long time in a typical American workplace environment are among the factors that speed up the process of acculturation and assimilation and consequently the willingness to seek counseling when needed. Several Arab communities that live in the United States and work as cultural groups (e.g., in Lakawana, New York, and Dearborn, Michigan) have little, if any, contact with other groups and cultures. Such groups are likely to resist acculturation for a longer time than the other groups that work and mix with other cultures.

Other clients sought counseling only when requested by a significant family member (e.g., a parent or a spouse), a medical health professional, a court judge, a social worker, a school administrator, a teacher, or a counselor. Farida brought her husband to family counseling as a result of the therapist's request. Child rearing is viewed in patriarchal societies as a

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