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Islamic Online University

Bachelor of Arts in Islamic Studies

Islamic Counseling
Notes by Ismail Kamdar

Module 1:

Understanding predominant theories in counseling, mostly set by Western scholars

Psychology in a recent science in Muslim world
This is Not a graduate level course which gives you license to be a counselor

Terms to qualify:

Psychiatrist Medical expert who offer medical solutions to psychological issues (Medical
Psychologist PhD or PsyD in psychology (PhD more research, PsyD clinical) offer
Social Worker Social training, usually have Masters (every society have their own requirements
for this job)
Neuropsychologist Went further than PhD and studied the brain in a lot more details, work
towards optimal usage of the brain
Psychotherapist usually has a Masters in psychology or counseling
Counselor same as psychotherapist
All of the above can do diagnosis of social disorders
Psychotherapy is something done by all of the above

Purpose and Mission of counseling:

Surah Tawba 10:71 believers are awliya of each other, enjoined right and forbid evil
The religion is Naseeha (good advice) Authentic Hadith advice people to help them fulfill
their potential
We also need to recognize our limitations and work with what we do know
Ask those who know, if you dont know, Quran
We want to facilitate behavior change, experiential change from a spiritual, psychological and
intellectual perspective, we want to educate them
A mode of intervening so to shift human functioning back into the range of normality or
psychological health We want to bring people who have mental issues to come back to
thinking normally
Mental illness anything which negatively affects social, occupational or family life outside the
range of normality
Mental illness has a stigma due to movies, etc which is greatly exaggerated
Mental illness is measured by cut off points from normality and is determined by having a
certain number of symptoms
The role of the counselor is to effectively diagnose the problem and then effectively intervene
Who defines psychopathology? Who decides what sickness is and what is not? Most definitions
are by Western scholars (eg: DSM) so cant just take them, need to critically think about them

Example: If someone is successful in Dunya but doesnt pray, Westerners will say he is okay,
Muslims believe he has a problem
DSM is primary mode of defining mental illness, via research and statistics
After you have effectively identified a problem, the next step is to understand the extent of that
disorder and its manifestation
Focus of course how to conceptualize psychopathology and what is the mechanism of change?
Not a in-depth course on intervention just an introduction level course
Different theories offer different perspectives on these issues
Will touch upon certain strategies and methods of intervention which Imams, etc need to use
for counseling
Focus is on UNDERSTANDING psychopathology
DSM identifies sickness but we will study what causes mental illnesses
How do we conceptualize and understand humans and human behavior?
It is the Sunnah of Allah that certain things cause certain effects what behavior causes which
mental reactions will be studied
Only when we understand people, can we make a plan to treat and help them
In order to do psychotherapy one must be licensed minimum Masters
Counselors are bound by legal ethics and ethics of membership body (eg: ACA, APA)
Credited counselors required clinical experience under supervision
Professional Counseling CAN NOT be perform with a BA
This course will help us in our personal lives and with counseling situations that pop up for
Imams, etc

Rules of the counselor:

one can only take a person as far as they have gone themselves (you can help people with
something you yourself have problems with)
Personality affects your method of counseling (passive people or leadership people) different
personalities suit different clients
Acquisition of skills is essential for being a good counselor, especially relationship building skills
Self-awareness is crucial for competency
Psychology teaches that the client chooses his own values, but if the client is Muslim then he
must follow Islamic values
(fine line between using Deen to help a client and using it to prove a point)
We are not suppose to force people to believe what we believe to be right
Psychology says you much respect other peoples values, but as Muslims we cant always do
that if they are involved in sin, eg: counseling a Zaani

Goals of Class:

Encourage critical thinking in the area of counseling in light of Quran and Sunnah
Introduce western theories of counseling through an Islamic filter

Introduce Islamic Ideas of counseling and synthesize them with western approaches
Transfer theory into practical application (both personally and communally)
Understand the components that contribute to psychopathology and health

Stages of Counseling:

Building a relationship
Diagnosis and Assessment
Formulation of Goals
Intervention and problem solving
Termination and follow up

Ethical issues in counseling:

Using the client to solve YOUR problems
Multiple roles, eg: counseling relatives


List your strengths that can help you be a good counselor

List weaknesses and areas of improvement
List situations in which my weaknesses manifest

Module 2 The Therapy Process:

Process is method of solving the problem, content is the subject of the problem
Therapy process how you intervene to help a person come to a place of healing
Focus on the initial processes of therapy (generic ideas, not linked to specific theories)
The practitioners role in helping guide the process of becoming actualized and this includes a
willingness to introspect oneself
Help people think in themselves and sort out their problems (why cant I wake up for Fajr, why
cant I lower my gaze)
the one who knows themselves can come to know Allah,
Intake need to understand the persons background (culture, deen, history, family, social
dynamics, etc)
You need to know someone before who can help them
First two sessions usually include a lot of writing and history taking
The client too gets to learn a bit about the counselor and his method
One MUST socialize with the client
Help clients get in touch with their thoughts which lead to their feelings
Make the client feel valued if you work with them and help them solve their own problems

Must get consent of your client (sign a consent form) for everything (fees, confidentiality, etc)
makes then realize how serious you are about helping them
MUST establish confidentiality meetings are a trust
MUST explain situations where you will HAVE to break confidentiality

Variables of the intake:

Demographic information (marital status, address, community, etc)

Medical background sometimes a medical condition leads to psychological issue
Alcohol/drug related issues a lot of teens involved in these issues
Appetite appetite can indicate symptoms of mental illness
Family history individuals are a reflection of their families
Social history are they introverts or extroverts? Social isolation leads to higher levels of
Family psychiatric history sometimes parents pass on their baggage to their kids. Sometimes
mental illnesses are passed down through genetics
Educational history low levels of education can impact psyche
Religious history and background sect, religious, etc. More religious people are usually better

Therapeutic Alliance

The challenge: gather all this data in a limited amount of time WHILE building a relationship
Must ease worries and discomfort of client
Want to instill HOPE in first session end first session with an Islamic story or verse/Hadith of
hope for their situation
Assessment is an ongoing process (keeping gaining more information and re-evaluating after
every session)
How to build this Client-centered approach of listening
Restate problems while showing empathy and understanding
At end of intake offer some recommendations (together) as to how you may approach the
The prophet (pbuh) would receive people warmly, welcome them and let them be comfortably
seated. He would shake their hands. He would face the person, showing active listening, while
making the person feel important

Considerations when dealing with Muslims:

Family is important and is usually the source of distress

Must engage and involve the family
Must have basic understanding of Islam, especially in relation to psychology
Practicing Muslims dont go to counselors because they want Islamic advice, they dont trust
psychologists to respect their values

Need to get Muslims to understand that nothing wrong with psychologist approaches which do
not contradict Shariah
Many Muslims are unaware of the rich legacy of their ancestors whose contributions to modern
psychology are re-emerging today.
Unfortunately many Muslim psychologists advocate Unislamic theories over Islamic method

Ethical considerations:

Power difference you have power and authority to shape peoples lives, this is a great
Khalwa dont be alone with women because counseling is a close relationship and dont want
to be close and alone with a woman
Women should come in with a mahram or have someone else with youll

Module 3 Theoretical Foundations and Considerations:

Theory of Positive mental health:
Islamic Aim is to help people achieve spiritual nourishment and perfection (which is
never attained)
Help people feel close to Allah and his messenger
Help people form a self-identity which is Islamic and in keeping with the Sunnah
Humanists believing in actualizing tendency similar to Fitrah (general inclination
towards good)
Nafs, shaytaan, influences, etc are a test which take us away from the Fitrah and
purpose of life
Aspire to create a congruence between the belief and lifestyle of an individual
Eg: some people believe in Quran and Sunnah but lifestyle is different, need to help
them achieve it
Cognitive Dissonance guilty feelings about the way one is living knowing the way
they are living isnt right
Part of the aim of the counselor is to remove this cognitive dissonance
Imam Ghazali mentions the three conditions of the nafs ammara, lawamma and
What is illness and psychopathology according to Islam

Spiritual pathology will result in psychopathology if someone is spiritually sick, they

will be mentally sick as well
In Islam, worldly success doesnt mean a person is well, if they are not practicing
Not practicing Islam indicates some spiritual sickness
If one part of body is ill, it affects another

Sometimes a sickness in their Aqeedah, Fiqh, etc can cause other problems in the
worldly life
Poor development and formation of schemas that are incorrect
Effects of names and labels these are self-fulfilling prophecy, they also affect
upbringing of children (calling our child good or bad)
Everybody has some spiritual sickness, but some are more sick than others
Nobody is perfect (healthy)
Continuum of mental health fluctuation between sickness and health, imaan and low
Islam is more rigid in that, besides working on our dunya, we need to work on our
spiritual life as well
Islams definition is different from the DSM, in that we work towards actualizing our
spiritual self
Eg: Excessive Love is dangerous in Islam, but encouraged in West
Islam is a communal religion, we are required to do things to maintain community unity
Islam is not a selfish religion, need to be selfless, giving to community
All of this promotes spiritual and psychological well-being because humans are social
beings by nature
Islam teaches us suppression of the ego (nafs) and to attain humility

Challenges of our times

Establishing a Muslim community, companionship with righteous people, obedience to

Muslim leaders
Modern world is focused on being egocentric and worrying about yourself and your own
success only
Modern psychology focuses on individual treatment, while should focus on building
community support
Health and Psychology have become a business/industry based on making profit
Lack of spirituality in treatment despite proof of its power
It is unethical to leave out religious treatment especially for Muslims

Traditional Muslim approach:

Religion, science, philosophy, etc were not separate, worked together

All fields were tackled from an Islamic perspective
Psychology was discussed through philosophy, medicine and religion

The Talking Cure

The Prophet was the master psychologist

Many narrations show how he gave different advice to different Sahaba based on their
individual cases

Module 4:
Difference between counselors and Islamic scholars

People want to know why should I go to a counselor if I have an alim, some people think
opposite to this
Where does one role end and the other begin?
Because both roles intend to help spark change, towards spiritual perfection
Both have different methods of intervening (one deals with mental health interventions, the
other with spiritual interventions)

The role of the counselor helping others

Act as a reminder, a peer and an outlet towards aiding the client on getting that to norms and
Help people become self-aware examine themselves
This is an on-going thing
A counselor relies on research of behavioral science (more understanding of human nature and
how to deal with it than scholars)
Introduces religious concepts as suggestions, rather than instructions
A directive approach may be useful as most Muslims expect direct advice, but counseling is
about empowering people to make their own decisions and teach them concepts to help
themselves (need to keep in mind both the expectations of the client and the general approach
of counselors) be directive yet inspire introspection
Responsibility of the counselor not to use theories and methods which go against Islam, we
need to research what is in keeping with Islamic teachings and what is not
Need to think a framework of Islamic counseling which works for clients
Boundaries of the counselor need to refer to scholars to check what they are prescribing is
authentic and correct
Counselors should work hand in hand with scholars
Fiqh issues (especially in dealing with marriage issues) MUST be sought from scholars

Role of the Scholar

Seeking knowledge on issues of Deen

More directive in his approach
They have legalistic weight and authority
In the past, scholars learned both academic and Islamic fields so there was no split

Boundaries of religious counselors

Must have a good relationship with competent clinicians, this can be very beneficial

For a scholar to handle issues which should be handled by counselors can have very negative
Evidence suggests that Islamic traditional healing models are best utilized for less severe
An alcoholic can die if he just gives up without weaning himself off
After 9/11, there has an increase in seeking out Imams to address mental health issues but few
of these Imams have formal training in mental health and this could lead to negative results
Imams must have some knowledge of psychopathology and know their limits
Best solutions is setting up centers were counselors and scholars can work hand in hand


Scholars must be open to communicate with social workers

A treatment team approach can assist clients
Interdisciplinary studies and networking can help a lot

Live Session Two Notes:

Islamic counseling helps because it focuses on the heart and soul as well
Research indicates that religious people live longer
Quran full of stories to assist in coping
Muslims live a collective lifestyle which assists
The Sunnah provides many healing techniques, including duas and advice
Islam teaches things like sabr, tawakul, istihkara and acceptance of Qadar

Cognitive Dissonance

When your belief does not transfer into actions, it causes stress, guilt, worry, etc, eg: people
who believe in five daily prayers but dont do it feel stress and guilt

Actualizing tendency

Natural qualities that help in counseling similar to Fitrah

Psychopathology the study of mental illness, distress and abnormal behavior

Psychotherapy the treatment process
Schema internal belief, thought or worldview
Counselors and Imams:

Counselors have more time for clients while Islamic scholars dont
Counselors are professionally trained and can assist you in that way
We need a holistic approach wherein counselors and scholars work together

Imams need more help from counselors

Issues with Muslim clients

There is a lot of stigma attached to counseling (only for crazy people, etc)
Khalwa Issue

Module 5:
Diagnostic Considerations and the applicability of the DSM:

DSM is the diagnostic manual in USA

Assessment an attempt to be comprehensive, gather data in a standardized manner towards
the aim of developing analysis and treatment planning
Benefits of assessment we know what we are dealing with, can plan treatment accordingly,
helps us to study the disease further, saves a lot of time in figuring out what a person is suffering
from, it is scientific (quantitative) measure it based on the norm curve (eg; measuring IQ)
Norm Issues all psychological instruments have been developed have not used norms within
Muslim population norms of Muslim population needs to be established
MMPI Schizophenia may seem to appear in Muslims due to our belief in Jinn
Translations are another problem as these instruments are developed in English and translated,
much of the meaning is lost in translation
These tests can be good for working on English speaking Muslims, despite the norm issue
It will also provide differential diagnosis
Test results should be adjusted according to the norms of a specific culture (eg: Asian Americans
usually score 10 points higher than Americans in IQ tests so deduct 10 points to see their actual
Your data should not be used in isolation, you should look at a variety of issues and not just one
It can provide insight into how to intervene
It can show which disorders require supplemental intervention and medication

Interpretation of Data:

Analysis of testing must be done in a religious, competent and sensitive manner

Testing is a part of the larger puzzle and not the sole component of analysis (other factors
include clinical interview and background data)
Neuropsychological testing instruments can be highly beneficial for Muslims

Diagnosis and DSM

Must be careful in utilizing diagnosis with Muslims

Diagnosis used as a tool to inform treatment

Manifestation of diagnosis can be very different in Muslims compared to the treatment the
manual prescribes we need to be careful not to use Unislamic methods (eg; self-pleasure in
marital dissatisfaction)
signs might be different as well (Christian schizophrenia sometimes claims to be prophets or
god, Muslims dont)
CBS Culture bound syndromes
The CBS section of the DSM has some specific disorders found in Muslim populations
We need to develop manuals or an expansion of this for Muslims

Utility of diagnosis

Benefits of Diagnosis Helps to put a name to something, which can read to treatment and
conceptualization. Common name to identify things and research
Harms Put the client in a box, may be wrong

Good assessment tools for Muslims:

Marital Satisfaction scale Barlow Book

Muslim Religiosity-Personality Inventory (MRPI)
Religiosity of Islam Scale (RolS) Quran based instrument
Religious Coping Scaler RCOPE
FICA model (faith, involvement, community, addressing how it can be integrated into clinical

Module 6:
Research the resources and assessment tools available for Muslims.
Become familiar with how to acquire journals sign up for a few
When reading journals, skim through technical stuff, leave that for higher level of studies
Introductions are good as they include other resources
Read the abstract to see if a paper is worth reading
Method section can be very technical, introduction and discussion is enough for basic reading.
Obtain questionnaires from appendices of such papers
Keep your assessment tools in a binder
No video
Module 7:

The History of Counseling Psychology:

Coincides with history of psychology

Academic psychology studying, teaching, research, etc
Clinical/Applied psychology counseling, helping, etc more recent than academic psy.
Psychology as a field is only a 100 years old
Helps us understand the background from which the theories come

Ancient Greece

Foundations of modern science 490 BCE 322 BCE (Death of Arsitotle)

Distinction between living and dead, real and imaginary (not universally discussed, heart of
Western thought)
Plato started rationalism, relying on the mind for everything cant trust our senses, only our
logic (gives example of shadows in cave) believed that only a select few people can use their
intellect properly and they should be celebrated and should be the leaders
Aristotle (disciple of Plato) sense data very important deductive reasoning (using our senses
and analogy to deduce things from the world and work out patterns of the world) root of
modern science
Questions to entertain A) Problem of mind (ability to reason) and body. One answer was the
Cartesian duality mind and body work in parallel and communicate with each other
B) Nature VS Nurture debate determinism VS free will. Does our DNA shape us or our
upbringing most likely a mixture of both


Father of medicine (460-377 BCE) wrote by mental illness

Believed humans are made of four environmental elements earth, air, fire and water
Changes in these cause disease. Belief for a long time

Dark Ages

5-15th Century
Intellectual darkness for Europe Rise of Christianity
Scientists were put on trial for ideas even though they were true, because they contradicted the
Christian psychology all mental illnesses were linked to possession or poor morals. Exorcism
was the only solution
They would look for witches, etc and burn them alive
While Europe was in the Dark Ages, the Muslim world (North Africa to the borders of China)
continuously advanced in their intellectual developments and pursuits. Height of development
of medicine and science

Some Muslims tried to fuse Greek Philosophy with Islam, were heavily influenced by Hippocratic
theory of four elements
Rise of Mutazilites when fusing Greek ideas with Islamic tradition

Avicenna (Ibn Seena)

Contributed a lot to medicine wrote the Cannon of Medicine (still studied till today) based
on Hippocratic theory, developed it further and divided dietary treatment into hot and cold
Development of Tibb An-Nabawi
Ibn Taymiyyah proved how Aristotle logic can lead one astray in refuting Ghazali and Ibn Sina
Anything good that the ancient Greeks offered, which doesnt contradict Aqeedah and Shariah,
can be examined and used if proven true, Imam Ghazali apply same method to modern
Tibb is not necessary Islamic - it has Greek roots
Prevalence and acceptance of these ideas can even be seen among scholars even Ibn Hajar
accepted these as the principles of medicine
Importance to distinguish between Tibb An-Nabawi and cultural tibb in the Muslim world


Europe broke out of the dark ages

St Thomas Acquinas influential thinker who reintroduced Aristotle to psychology from a
Christian lens
14-17th century
Started in Italy, thinking outside the box and spread to rest of Europe
Interest in arts and culture
More question of religion and authority


Separation of Church and state

British Empiricists migration to USA
Rise of Protestants
Spread of Darwins theory
Christianity looked upon as not being of use anymore (Christianity could not agree with science,
unlike Islam) this explains why modern people dislike religion not applicable to Islam

19th Century Scientific Psychology

Willaim James was one of first Americans to propose psychological theories

Intelligence testings came about I.Q. tests and how to deal with students, etc
Educational psychology was one of the first disciplines of psychology to emerge (today it is a
very strong well-researched field)

Freud was the founder of psychoanalysis, came up with the idea of the talking cure
Then behaviorism came about and dealt only with behavior, excluding the mind

Module 8:
Freud and the psychoanalytic tradition:

Sigmund Freud . M.D. - father of psychotherapy among first to develop talking cure
Conception from study of hysteria and hypnosis
Derived his work based on clinical therapy with his patients as well as self-analysis
Pleasure principle human motivation is guided by the drive to seek pleasure (Nafsi)
Students include: Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Harry stack, Theodore Reik, Melanie Klein and a few
others who broke off and developed their own theories, some survived, some did not
Many principles remained salient in offshoot theories

Personality Theory According to Freud

The unique pattern of thinking, feeling and acting by which each person reacts to the external
He called his theory and techniques psychoanalysis
Childhood sexuality and unconscious motivations influence personality
Every person is affected by their childhood experiences
Unconscious below the surface part of our mind which contains thoughts, wishes, feelings
and memories which we are unaware off
Free association patient is asked to relax and speak whatever comes o mind even if it seems
Mind is split into unconscious, preconscious and conscious
Personality structure split into ID, Ego and Superego
ID the pleasure principle which seeks immediate fulfillment Nafs
Superego our ideals and standards taught by society and parents and others
Ego Reality principle, between SE and ID, maintain desires without causing pain
Eg: Want to eat cake, ID wants to eat everything, Superego says dont eat anything unhealthy,
ego tells you to balance and compromise
Psychosexual stages oral (0-18 months), anal (18-36 months), phallic (3-6 years), latency (6 to
puberty), genital (puberty onwards)
In each stage, there is a struggle between ID and SE. If they get stuck in any of these stages, it
will affect their adulthood
Freud had problem of sexualizing every issue

Important vocab regarding Freudan theory:

Oedipus Complex a child has sexual feelings towards the opposite gender parent and feel
jealous of other parent. Later try to imitate parent to impress opposite gender parent. Also
discusses penis-envy (unscientific)
Identification process in which children incorporate their parents values into their developing
Fixation - a lingering focus of pleasure-seeking energies at an earlier psychosexual stage, where
conflicts were unresolved

Defense mechanisms: tactics that reduce or redirect anxiety in various ways but distort reality
If we have too much repressed then it affects us and counseling is needed. Excessive repression can lead
to physical sickness

Repression banish anxiety arousing thoughts

Regression Retreating to earlier stage of development
Reaction formation unconsciously makes unacceptable impulses look like their opposites
Projection attributing ones own unacceptable threatening impulses to others
Rationalization offers self-justifying explanations in place of the real, more threatening,
unconscious reasons for ones actions
Displacement shifts sexual or aggressive impulses towards a more acceptable or less
threatening object or person, as when redirecting anger toward a safer outlet

Basic tenets of this theory:

To become a practitioner, one must complete a long training process of many years, which is
open only to MDs and PhDs
ID, Ego, Superego and intraphysic conflicts: psychological symptoms are self-defeating patterns
brought on by internal struggles
The past: Current problems stem from unresolved issues that occurred in early childhood
(over emphasis on the past)
Dreams gateway to the unconscious
Catharsis the release of pent-up emotion (counselor will tell you to say whatever comes to
Corrective Emotional Experience the therapist helps clients alter their self-perceptions and
(humans need closure to move on with their lives)

Treatment Considerations:

Therapy is long term and focuses on exploring unconscious issues through interpretation, dream
analysis, free association, transference and other method
Detachment the therapist is detached, objective and neutral, so that the client can project
onto the therapist things from the clients unconscious

Transference: traditionally, transference is a projection of unconscious desires onto the

Counter transference: These are projections the therapists makes onto the client

What good can we take from this:

Context Victorian Era (Feminism, sexual revolution, etc)

Developed idea of talk therapy
Research testing ideas even though his method was faulty
Importance of childhood
Animalistic side of human beings
ID similar concept to the Nafs nafs is more comprehensive
Dream interpretation valid in Islam but we have our own principles
Childhood and molding being important, also an Islamic principle

Freud prescribed cocaine to his patients a lot.

Module 9:
Adlerian Psychology:

Founded by Alfred Adler (1870-1937) Vienna, Austria

Student of Freud, regarded himself as a colleague of Freud
Jewish family, quiet sickly and injured
Medical doctor
Psychoanalysis/dynamics is a specific type of psychotherapy
In US, there is an Adler school of psychology
Disagreed with Freud regarding biology and sexuality
Stressed the importance of subjective feelings rather than biological drives
Freud made things objective and deterministic, Adler focused more on stress and subjective
issues, without dismissing biology
He parted with psychoanalysis in 1910 and started individual psychology
He set up child guidance clinics in Vienna
Fled Hitler in 1932 and went to Long Island School of Medicine

Social Interest

A feeling of being part of social whole and wanting to contribute to the general social good
Express an interest in others and an interest in the interests of others
Differed with Freud in considering social factors
Emphasize the conscious as central to the development of the personality
Individuals strive to become successful

All behavior is goal directed and purposeful

People initially feel inferior to others and develop a inferiority complex
People who overcompensate their feelings of inferiority develop a superiority complex
Future goals influence people as much as their past (Freud only focused on the past)
When we compare ourselves with others in the society, this causes inferiority or superiority
complexes, and influences goals
Inferiority and superiority complexes are very important terms for understanding people
Eg: Muslims today have an inferiority complex to the West in terms of technology, etc. Muslims
with inferiority complex take everything from the West without analyzing if it is Islamic or not.

Order of birth:

Adler also discussed the order of birth as affecting character, eg:

The firstborn - the monarch of the family, receive all attention, parents practice on them. They
strive to achieve, behave and please parents. Parents substitute for their siblings. When another
sibling is born, they might be dethroned and may become resentful and overcompensate with
power and authority
Firstborns are usually most successful and have more responsibilities
Feeling threatened leads sometimes to overcompensating
Second borns dont worry about power and authority, and never dethroned. Usually more
outgoing, carefree and creative and less concerned with rules. Usually the opposite of the
Middle children feel squeezed in, treated unfairly. They learn the art of negotiation and
understand family politics. Often are manipulative and make reasoned choices to about where
to find success. Many middle children feel like an outsider in their families.
Youngest children receive a great deal of attention of others, expect others to care for them.
Can be quite charming and funny but have a hard time breaking out of the baby role. Can
become spoiled but often can be quite successful if the older siblings are good role models.
Only Child either seven year gap from other sibling or only child. Never dethroned and gain a
lot of attention. They mature early and are high achievers. Quite imaginative due to having to
entertain themselves. They become pampered and selfish and may not be well socialized.
By the time a person reaches the age of five, s/he develops a lifestyle. This is a way of pursuing
long-term goals. This lifestyle develops through the persons perception of the family
In this age they develop a lens through which they see the world


Sometimes subjective evaluations of ourselves can be fiction

Overgeneralization viewing everything as the same
False or impossible goals of security trying to please everyone
Misperception of life and lifes demands - believing that one never gets any breaks

Minimization of denial of ones worth thinking that one will never amount to anything
Faulty values believing in the necessity of being first no matter what needs to be done to
achieve that goal (ends justifies the means)


Placed emphasis on contributing to society

Work is required for human survival and teaches interdependence
Sexuality must be defined in regard to self and others in a cooperative, rather than a
competitive spirit
Courage a willingness to take risks without knowing what he consequences may be


Establishing a therapeutic relationship is of utmost importance (ALL theories emphasize this)

Doesnt have an exact model, rather has values and goals
Analysis of lifestyles, family constellations, early memories, dreams, priorities and ways of
Promote insight through open-ended questions, interpretations
Use of counselor empathy is important (understanding the person)
Looking for meaning in everything a person does and thinks
Confrontation consider private logic (not in the aggressive sense)
Asking the question what would be different if you didnt have this situation
Encouragement faith in the person
Acting as if be what you want to be (if you want to do something, act as if you are already
doing it self-motivation)
Spitting in the soup point out behaviors to ruin the payoff for the behavior
Adlerian counselors have a lot of faith in the client and encourage them
Catching oneself teaching people to become aware of self-destructive behavior (eg: behavior
that leads to marital conflicts)
Task setting initially set short term goals and work up to long term goals
Push button you can choose to remember positive and well as negative experiences
When helping a person think positive, need to do this gently and not harshly


Heinz Kohut Jew, born in Vienna, moved to US due to Nazi invasion

Shifted from neurology to psychiatry to psychoanalysis
Kohut began writing about empathy and self psychology

Similarities with Freud

Emphasis on relationship

Transference reaction is critical to understanding a person emotions clients invoke in you, they
could be doing the same to others
Presenting problem likely subset of a larger personality deficit
Importance of early developmental factors


Emphasized empathy (like Adler)

Intrapsychic versus interpersonal history
Did not agree with Freuds emphasis on sexuality

Critical assumptions

Clinical phenomenon represent the effects of experiences which foster or interfere with the
achievement and maintenance of self-cohesion example of transference
Self is organizing principle of personality/behavior
Self disorders are common and have a considerable range of severity
The need to have your self mirrored
Dealt with a lot of narcissist people
Start off with a primitive sense of self that involves into increasingly mature versions of sense of
Children start of thinking of themselves and nobody else, narcissistic people have similar
Early self is very primitive, that has certain qualities like weakness, fragility, neediness, looks at
self in unrealistic way that is grandiose
This is NORMAL for a child that is why they always seek approval from parents which is very

Critical needs to self-development

3 strong needs to fulfill

Be like others
These can be analyzed in transference
If a childs needs are not met, they dont grow passed it

Optimal frustration

There is an optimal level of frustration with having needs provided for and providing for
Only giving them attention, etc will make them too dependant
This gap is small that is encourages one to take over such for oneself the provision of self needs
rather than discouraging one.

Eg: Holding hand then letting go to teach children how to walk

Critical definitions

Mirroring, twinship, idealization

Optimal frustration
Transmuting internalization

Transmuting internalizations:

If children are not mirrored, they change something in themselves (eg: lose self-esteem or
become independent faster) These changes can be good or bad
Gradually, overtime these TIs add up to one important aspect of a strong and cohesive self


Capacity to think and feel oneself into the inner life of another person
Lifelong ability to experience what another person experiences
If childs needs are met, they begin to think about the needs of others

Role of the therapist

Therapists attitude a critical factor towards the healing process

Development and successful communication of empathy is critical
Sometimes counselors have to re-parent the client to help them get past their childhood
2 critical questions:
1) What was my client deprived of as a child
2) What could I do about this?

Healthy Self Development:

Child begins to learn about empathy for others. In learning to care for others, the self interests
come to be balanced against concern for the welfare of others
Healthy narcissism appearance of a strong, vital, cohesive self striving with ambition and ideals
towards the full realization of a persons skills and talents
As child matures, realize more people out there. Available psychic energy gets direct at those
people and less on self. More completely this shift is made the healthier the person
In fully mature adult, a small amount of energy is still concerned with self-issues

Limitations of self-psychology

Few techniques more abstract ideas

May minimize importance of presenting concerns or symptoms of distress

Little attention to cultural factors, or how healthy self-development (and associated needs) may
differ among different cultures and communities
Non-directive approach may not be appealing to some or appropriate to those who are more

Module 10:
Existential Theory and Therapy
Questions central to existentialist theory

What is the meaning or purpose of your life? What is the source of that purpose
Focus on death and the meaning it gives to life
This is the closest from all the theories to a spiritual theory
Working through selflessness and feeling alone
The relationship between free will and determinism?
What is the utility of anxiety?
If you only had 30 days left, what would you do?

Existential Theory:

A philosophical/intellectual approach to therapy

It is a view on human nature which has capacity of self-awareness
The tension between freedom and responsibility (dunya is a prison for the believer, etc)
The creation of an identity and establishing meaningful relationships
The search for meaning, purpose and values in life
Accepting anxiety as a condition of living suffering is part of the human condition, expecting
anxiety not to exist just increases anxiety, accepting it as part of life frees you from it
The awareness of death and nonbeing

Important Figures:

Victor Frankl Jewish Nazi camp survivor, believed spiritual freedom and independence of mind
can be had in the worst of situations, essence lies in searching for meaning and purpose
Rollo May American Psychiatrist integrated psychoanalysis and existential therapy, had two
failed marriages, wrote extensively about intimacy, monogamy, morals. Studied with Adler
Irvin Yalom still alive, therapy through meaning, therapeutic love themes of existential work


Area of philosophy concerned with the meaning of human existence

Asking questions about issues of love, death and meaning of life
How to deal with the sense of value and meaning of ones life

Frequently referenced as more of a philosophy than a specific theoretical approach

Not many people are purely existential in their practice
It is nondeterministic similar to client-centered approaches, believe it is oversimplification to
view people as controlled by fixed physical laws
Focus on active, positive aspects of human growth and achievement

The existential perspective to key therapeutic dynamics

Resistance occurs when a client does not take responsibility, is not aware of feelings, or
otherwise is inauthentic in dealing with life (rarely directed at therapist): a way of dealing with
overwhelming threats, inaccurate world view, inaccurate view of self
Transference important to note when clients attention focuses on the therapist, work to
make progress in the process of developing a real and authentic relationship
Capacity of self-awareness greater our awareness, greater our possibilities for freedom
Awareness is realizing: we are finite and time is limited, we have the potential, the choice to act
or not to act, meaning is not automatic, we must seek it (introspect), we are subject to
loneliness, meaninglessness, emptiness, guilt and isolation
Freedom and responsibility people are free to choose among alternative and have a large role
in shaping personal destinies, manner in which we live and what we become are result of our
choices, people must accept responsibility for directing their own lives

The search for meaning

Meaning like pleasure must be pursued

Finding meaning in life is a by-product of a commitment to creating, loving and working
The will to meaning is our primary striving
Life is not meaningful in of itself, the individual must discover meaning

Two types of anxiety

Normal anxiety (existential) proportionate to its cause, does not require repression, and can
be used constructively and confront the dilemma from which it arose
Such anxiety is good and motivates us to accomplish things
Eg: feeling anxiety before an exam motivates you to study well
Neurotic anxiety when a person tries to evade normal anxiety. It commonly manifests itself as
a loss of a subjective sense of free will and an inability to take responsibility for ones own life

Primary goals and techniques pertaining to anxiety

Eliminate neurotic anxiety to degree possible

Help client learn to tolerate the unavoidable existential anxiety of living
Help clients reach higher levels of authenticity

Techniques Identifying instances when patient avoids responsibility, helping the patient to
consider options, make decisions, pointing out how grief reactions and sadness about lifes
milestones could be related to underlying fears of isolation and death.

Role of therapy relationship

Very important strive to an honest, open and egalitarian relationship

The goal is development of authentic and intimate relationship between the therapist and the
client, serves to model authenticity, freedom of choice, and appropriate handling of anxiety

Awareness of death

Awareness of death gives significance to life

We must think about death if we are to think significantly about life
If we defend against death, our lives can become meaningless

Central tasks of existential therapists

Inviting clients to recognize how they have allowed others to decide for them
Encouraging clients to take responsibility
Recognize ways clients passively accepted circumstances and surrendered control
although you have lived in a certain pattern, now that you recognize the price of some of your
ways, are you willing to consider creating new patterns,

Techniques and procedures

Not technique orientated

Interventions are based on philosophical views about human nature
Free to draw techniques from other orientations
The use of therapist self is core to therapy


Something to offer all counselors

Stresses self-determination
Accepting personal responsibility
Provides perspective for understanding value of anxiety and guilt
The role of death
The creative aspects of being alone and choosing for oneself


Lacks a systematic statement of principles and practices

Writers use vague and global terms to abstract concepts

Little research done

Limited applications for lower-functioning clients, clients in extreme crisis, poor clients and
those are nonverbal

Summary and Evaluation

Contributions: stress self-determination accepting personal responsibility along with freedom

View oneself as author of ones life (Muslim view Allah as ultimate author)
Understand the value of anxiety and guilt, the positive meaning of death, the positive aspects of
being alone and choosing for oneself
Enable clients to examine how their behavior is being influenced by social and cultural
conditioning (very important in dealing with cultural Muslims)


Meaning of life is created by the individual contrary to Islamic teachings

In Islam our meaning is taught, we choose what personal meaning we add to our lives (how will I
worship Allah, eg: become a scholar, humanitarian, etc)
Highly individualistic rather than focus on losing the self to the Sunnah/Islamic principles
One is never alone! Due to relationship with Allah

Utility with Muslims

The theme of meaning is very important. Can use this question to explore core beliefs/thoughts
of individuals
Stresses the need to take personal responsibility
Salience of death is brought up, this diminishes immediate worries
Acceptance of anxiety

Module 11:
Client-centered personality theory

Is a branch of humanistic theory

Founded by Carl Rogers
Also called Rogerian or Person-centered therapy

Problems of all humanistic theories:

Each person is unique and different, moving towards health on a continuum

Less of a focus on pathology
Focuses on freeing the person and incorporates positive therapy
Interested in peoples subjective experiences in order to understand their stress, etc
Role is not disprove their beliefs and delusions but to help deal with their subjective feelings
Do not objectify the person or their actions no labeling of disorders

(best method is a balance, not completely objectifying or ignoring disorders)

Muslims need to be a objective in terms of Quran and Sunnah, Shariah, etc while keeping in
mind that people, context and environments change as well as personal differences which dont
impact religion
Phenomenological and not categorical
Belief in change, free will and agency

Actualizing Tendency:

Develops growth promoting capacities within the organism

Move toward autonomy
Directional, constructive, present in all organisms
It can be suppressed or corrupted, but never destroyed as long as the organism is alive
Biological base
Similar to the Islamic concept of the Fitrah
It removes guilt, stress, etc, controls needs, drives, pleasure seeking and creativity

Phenomenal Field - All experiences within a given moment both conscious and unconscious
Freud emphasized unconscious, Humanists believe in both
Focus on the self:

Definition: A portion of a persons phenomenal field with differentiates to become the self
An organized set of characteristics that the person perceives as unique to him/herself
It is our awareness of being, daily functioning, develops in relationships with others, primarily
formed through conditions of worth
Our self has a real-self and ideal self, the point of overlap is called congruence
Ideal self is what we want to be, real self is the person as he is know who wants to move
towards the ideal self
The further away your real self is from your ideal self, the more problems you have
In Islam, the ideal self is in living and following the Quran and Sunnah
To strive to have ones real self match ones ideal self
Tied to: the need for positive regard from others, for others to treat us and think of us as good
people, positive self-regard and self-esteem

Conditions of worth

When the worthiness or the positive regard of the individual is conditional as opposed to
These interrupt the organismic valuing process and direct the person to take in the conditions or
desired behaviors through the development or adaptation of the other persons values, ideas,
behaviors and desires

Organismic Valuing Process

All organisms experience this

Fluid ongoing process
Experiences are uniquely and accurately symbolized
Experiences are evaluated based on optimal self outcome
To the end of enhancing the functioning of the organism

Fully Functioning person

The ideal human condition humans never attain this but feel good for being on this path
Open to experience life fully
Trusts his/herself
Able to live life to the fullest
Acts independently
Lives a rich and full life
Lives the good life (a process and direction

Islamic Considerations

Congruence between ideal self and real self and actualizing of self are goals of Islamic
perspective on optimal human functioning
Islam defines ideal self differently i.e. practicing Muslim
Islamic system based on Fitrah as opposed to phenomenological considerations which can lead
to deviations
Difference in what are the conditions of worth
This is primarily a western theory and focuses independence in an unhealthy manner

Module 12:
Non-directive client centered therapy:
Role of therapist

Creating the right atmosphere will allow clients to find their own solutions and help themselves
Like watering a plant, providing right conditions will help the self to grow
The therapist does not interfere with or direct the flow of the conversation
The client has complete freedom to talk about, or not talk about, whatever they choose
The client can go where they want and need to go
The client is the expert on their life and in charge, not the therapist
Very different from other approaches exact opposite
This is not a medical model client is not a patient

The therapist is not the expert on the clients life but offers various types of expertise
This therapy is focused on the client, not the therapist
Whatever the therapist does, it is with the client in mind
The therapist strives to understand the clients worldview or the clients frame of reference
People like to go to people who understand them, rather than to people who will give them
We shouldnt jump to conclusions, interrupt peoples speech or listen partially
Client centered therapy is all about active listening

This theory is phenomenological

We are trying to understand the subjective point of view of the person, their personal world
view, their self-experiences and self-expressions/statements
It offers individual freedom
Each person is unique and different no diagnosis or assessments
Personal responsibility to change and improve
Understanding and providing empathy is therapy in of itself so there is no treatment beyond this

The goal is to help the client becoming or actualizing

Always about growth

Each organism strives to become the best it can be
Environmental constraints can limit this poverty, abuse, mental or physical illness, conditions
or worth
Rogers definition for actualization striving to be as good as possible
Maslows definition attaining greatness and peak experiences


to acceptantly understand the clients thoughts, feelings, behaviors, experiences, etc as if you
were them
This is done by offering reflections offering a summary of their experiences and its emotional
impact on them
When they say things like exactly, it means you understood and this prompts them to open up
more, speak more about the issue and think deeper about it
If you did not understand, they will correct you and that too will help you understand them
better so its a win/win situation you can also pick up from this their style of speech, etc
which you can use in reflections
If you say to them something that they havent said yet but were going to say and it is correct,
its helps them open up even more
CCT is all about providing empathy and reflections to help them work out their own problems,
and at times some suggestions
May ask open-ended questions but must limit them

CCT can even be done with family and friends who need to speak to someone and is very
beneficial for them, because they just want someone to understand them
Make it all about them, dont mention anything about yourself and your experiences


Congruence an integrated awareness of thoughts, feelings, behaviors, internal environment

and external environment
Not just for the client, but between the client and the therapist
So the therapist needs to be genuine, real, authentic and honest about ones thoughts, feelings
and behavior the empathy needs to be real, not just stated

Unconditional positive regard

Unconditional there are no conditions that the therapist places on the client in this
Positive the therapist cares about and likes the client as a human being
Regard The therapist thinks about the client
The therapist thinks about the client in a positive way without condition
This may be difficult but we have to look for the good in the client and focus on that

The environment must be non-judgmental

If a therapist is unconditional, then therapist does not judge what the client says or does
Judgments can be either positive or negative

Therapy suggestions

This is a relationship, not about techniques

Empathic understanding/following/reflecting is an active process and reflection is a passive
The therapist should not get ahead of the client, but stay where the client is
The therapist should always stay within the clients frame of reference

Islamic considerations and applications

Absolutely essential to get within frame of reference of person major flaw of many Muslim
advisors today we jump to advise without understanding
You cant provide advice to someone who you dont understand well enough
Understanding does not mean agreement
Humans will not listen to advice from anyone except those who they feel understood by
After understanding, offer suggestions and empathetically attune towards Islamic ideals can be
We need to understand their internal barriers that lead to their decisions

Utility outside of Therapy

Marriage (especially for men)
Other personal relationships

People connect better with those who understand and dont judge them
Module 13:
Behavioral Therapy:
Revising Module 15 of Psychology 101 really helps understand this module best

In modern day, behavioral therapy in itself doesnt exist anymore, rather it is incorporated with
other therapies, especially cognitive therapy which his covered in the next module.
Behavioral Therapy came about in USA as a reaction to psychoanalytic theories due to the latter
not being scientifically measurable.
Behaviorists studied only behavior and that which they could see.
Learning the relatively permanent change in behavior brought about as a result of experience
or practice
Behaviorists recognize that learning is an internal event. However it is not recognized as learning
until it is displayed by overt behavior.
Extreme in favor of nurture over nature
The term learning theory is often associated with the behavioral view
Focus of this approach is on how the environment impacts overt behavior
Behaviorists dont consider biological or genetics in their analysis
This is represented by the stimulus-response paradigm. People are black boxes and we only
know what is going on inside by their behavior/responses.
The feedback loop which connects overt behavior to stimuli that activate the senses has been
studied extensively from this perspective.
Behaviorists are only interested in that aspect of feedback that connects directly to overt
They are not interested in the conscious decision of the individual to disrupt, modify or go
against the conditioning process i.e. they are not interested in the thinking, just the response

Two predominant types of behavioral theory

1. Classical/respondent conditioning

first type of learning to be discovered and studied under the behavioral module.
Established by Pavlov by studying behavior of dogs.
The called it responding learning.

Focuses on stimulus and response. It starts with a reflex which is caused by an event, eg:
A stimulus will without learning elicit a response.
NS does not elicit a response, this is called an orienting stimulus as it elicits an orienting
Through association, an NS can transform into a CS which elicits a CR.
In the area of classroom learning, Classical conditioning is seen primarily in the conditioning of
emotional behavior, things that make us happy, sad, angry, etc become associated with neutral
stimuli that gain our attention
This is often used in marketing psychology, eg: associating products with beautiful women in
adverts make people want to buy that product
Classroom example: games make children happy (UCS > UCR). Classrooms are NS. By playing
games in class, the classroom becomes a CS for happiness. Likewise is a teacher always talks
badly to a student (UCS>UCR), that student will begin to hate education (CS)
Eg: In some schools, by treating African American students like they are less intelligent, this led
to those students not performing well in school
For example, schools, classrooms and teachers are NS. Activities at school or in the classroom
elicit emotional responses and these responses are associated with the NS which becomes a CS.
If a child feels bad because of being treated badly in school, this will lead them to dislike school
In order to extinguish the associated response of feeling bad and thinking of school, the
connection between school and being harassed must be broken
Eg: Giving into tantrums leads to children thinking that crying gets them what they want

2. Operant/instrumental conditioning

The study of the impact of consequences on behavior

Operant conditioning deals with voluntary behaviors
The reward and punishment system and its impact on behavior
Our behavior is based on the reward and punishment system
Four important terms positive reinforcement (give a reward), negative reinforcement
(remove a punishment), positive punishment (give a punishment), negative punishment
(remove a good thing
Positive administering/giving
Negative removing
Using reinforcement cycles to shape behavior
Intermittent reinforcement cycles not applying the reward/punishment every time
Extinction removing the consequence

Relaxation training

In treating anxiety

Breathing exercises, etc

Desensitization get client in a relaxed state
Present anxiety provoking stimulus
If no anxiety is signaled, present item a second time. After two presentations without anxiety
move to next item
If anxiety is signaled, return to relaxation. Present item again. If anxiety still occurs go back to
earlier step or reconstruct hierarchy
Continue up the hierarchy until all items can be imagined without anxiety
Eg: If someone is afraid of dog, first get them to not feel anxiety upon hearing a bark, then upon
seeing a dog outside then upon touching a dog
Exposure Therapy patient expose themselves to feared objects or situations, can be real or
imagined can be used as part of desensitization
Necessary factors Exposure therapy long, repeated exposure until fear goes away, gradual,
attention given to fear object and anxiety must be present
Flooding therapeutic extinction not slow or gradual abandons the hierarchy person
confronts the most upsetting situation right away. Warning: Can be traumatizing
Desensitization is better than flooding and more humane
Islam teaches the same concept of reward (Jannah) and punishment (Hell) as motivators

Live Session Five Notes:

Carl Jung did not support the sexual theory, psychological changes associated with midlife
(midlife crisis), focused on the future as well as the past, he focused on the importance of
Alfred Adler broke away from Freud, stressed subjective feelings, started individual psychology
and spoke about influence of society, stressed the importance of the future goals, discussed the
inferiority and superiority complexes, discussed the concept of birth positions (firstborn, etc),
linked happiness with social welfare.
Adlerian Therapy: focus on empathy, emphasis on family life, dreams, should ask open-ended
questions, confrontation, acting as if, catching oneself, ask the question, encouragement, goal
setting, sale awareness, and spitting in the soup
Existentialism discovering purpose of life, focus on death, acquiring responsibility,
transference, and resistance. Focus on anxiety being of two types, normal and neurotic anxiety
If someone has neurotic anxiety, there is an underlying fear that needs to discovered and dealt
Limitations meaning of life created by individual, individualistic, no principles, very vague
Self Psychology transference, empathy, childhood issues, relationships (instead of
psychosexual factors), primitive sense of self, mirroring (children need reassurance that they are
good), twinship (copying their heroes), idealization, transmuting internalizations, optimal
Role of therapist re-parenting, show empathy

Limitations very few techniques, abstract ideas, little attention to cultural factors, nondirective, does not focus on presenting problems
Client-centered therapy humanistic theories, focus on actualizing tendency, active listening,
divided self into real self and ideal self, congruence (overlap between real self and ideal self),
organismic valuing process, ideas of self-worth, reflections
Utility outside therapy friendships, marriage and other relationships active listening

Module 14:
Cognitive behavioral psychology:

Behaviorism focused on observable behavior, focusing on stimulus and response

Behaviorism did not focus on what goes on in the mind of the individual
Albert Bandura re-opened the door to cognitions with modeling
He did an experiment with children and dolls which led to cognitive revolution


Formation of Schemas beliefs about the world, self and others

Schemas become automatic thoughts
Our experiences shape our thoughts and the way we see the world
We are more aware of our feelings than the belief that caused our feelings or behavior
Example of failing exam depending on your belief, you will feel different those who are
taught that only stupid people fail, feel stupid after failing. Those who believe that they are
intelligent, feel the exam was difficult or they just had a bad day
Islamic example during tests, some people feel depressed and despondent but a person with
Islamic knowledge will feel closer to Allah, make sabr, etc

Two types of Cognitive Therapy

Rational Emotive Therapy (Albert Ellis) & Cognitive Therapy (Aaron beck)
Rational Emotive Therapy

ABC Theory of dysfunctional behavior

A activating event
B beliefs
C consequences
Example of rational thinking:
A Failing Exam
B I need to study harder
C No negative consequence
Example of Irrational thinking:
A fail exam

B Im stupid
C Depression
We must catch ourselves and check if our thoughts are rational

Ellis List of common irrational thoughts

I absolutely must have sincere love and approval almost all the time from all significant people
in my life.
I must be thoroughly competent, adequate and achieving in all respects, or I must at least have
real competence or talent at something important, otherwise I am worthless.
People who harm me or do bad things are uniformly bad or wicked people, and I should severely
blame them for their sins and misdeeds.
When things dont go the way I want them to go, life is awful, terrible, horrible or catastrophic
Unhappiness is caused by external events over which I have almost no control. I also have little
ability to control my feelings or rid myself of feelings or depression and hostility.

Rational Emotive Therapy

Identify patients irrational beliefs

Add D and E to ABC Theory
Teach patient to dispute the beliefs and substitute logical and rational beliefs
Evaluate the effects of disputing their irrational beliefs


It was originally developed for depressed people so he developed it by observing the dreams of
depressed people
Depressed people have a negative view of themselves, the world and the future
They have negative schemas through which they interpret all experiences
These negative schemas are always present, automatic and become activated with stressful
Person with negative schema involving rejection will become depressed when a partner leaves

Becks Cognitive Therapy

Identify and changing maladaptive thoughts

Detailed explanation for what to do in every session with a client
First session therapist explains cognitive theory of emotional disorders
Middle sessions client is taught to identify, evaluate and replace negative automatic thoughts
with more positive cognitions
Therapist is a collaborator fellow scientist in therapy
Final sessions solidify gains, focus on prevention of recurrence

Automatic thoughts are usually caused by conditioned thoughts and core beliefs, need to
identify and work on these
Therapist and client work together to test the logic and consistency of each negative thought

Behavioral Component

Behavioral coping strategies problem solving skills and assertiveness training

Sometimes peoples thoughts are correct, but the situation is bad so they need to be taught
how to cope with the situation
Solidifying gains broaden range of identified negative thoughts and strengthen more positive
Anticipate future stressful events that might trigger a future depression and role play more
adaptive responses

Effectiveness of Cognitive behavioral Therapy:

Identified as a well established treatment for unipolar depression stronger and more lasting
than medication
As effective alternate forms of treatment for depression including antidepressant medication
However 2/3 of patients who receive cognitive therapy have another episode of depression
within two years
Sometimes you have to undo an entire history of wrong beliefs and this takes time

Who is this effective for?

Outcome not predicted by level of intelligence (unlike client centered therapy)

Patients with lower levels of dysfunctional thinking benefit the most
Interpersonally avoidant patients do better in CBT (rather than interpersonal therapy)
Patients with more obsessional styles do better in interpersonal psychotherapy
Interpersonal therapy combination of extensinalist and client centered therapy

Islamic considerations:

Can help Muslim patients think correctly

Limitations of Western CBT Who decides what are correct/rational thoughts? The Therapists?
Islam has a more humbling approach the Quran and Sunnah are our basis for correct thinking
Beneficial for Muslims they already believe in Islam common source of rational thoughts,
have to help them develop this into automatic thoughts

Module 15:
CBT Techniques:

Cognitive Distortions common dysfunctional ways to see the world

One should keep in mind, knowledge of healthy thoughts and feelings in case of unexpected
emotional outbursts

Goals of cognitive behavioral therapy

Change the way clients think by using their automatic thoughts and schema restructuring
Deactivate negative thoughts, modify their content and construct more adaptive thoughts
Gather and weigh the evidence
Discriminate between thoughts and reality
Behave in a way that is congruent with healthier, realistic ways of thinking
Healthy thinking - thinking like a Muslim

Types of distortions:

Arbitrary inference drawing conclusions in the absence of supporting evidence, eg: once he
sees the real me, hell divorce me, (not based on anything real, rather poor self-esteem)
Selective abstraction you dwell on the negatives and ignore the positives. Negative attribution
bias, eg: although you got an A for one subject, dwelling on the C for the other subject - Always
sandwich criticism between praises
Overgeneralization making a negative generalization based on specific events, eg: because I
did poorly on my first test, I would not be a good counselor,
Magnification/Minimization perceiving something as far more or far less than it is, eg: If I
dont find a good gift for Eid, she will dislike me,
Personalization making an external event personal, eg: because she did not show up for a
session, I must be a bad counselor,
Labeling/Mislabeling defining ones identity based on mistakes, eg, since he divorced me,
there must be something wrong with me,
Polarization all or nothing thinking, black or white thinking eg: people are either selfish or
caring. If she does not help me out, she must be selfish,
Mind-reading thinking too much about what others think of you

Islamic Considerations In dealing with mind-reading:

focus on pleasing Allah, not on pleasing people, focus on what will Allah think of me

CBT Techniques

Socratic Dialogue asking a lot of questions that led people to developing insights on their own
(example in slideshow)
Dysfunctional Thought record method to assess clients thoughts, feelings and behaviors
outside of therapy (example in textbook)
Hypothesis testing challenge the evidence
Decatastrophizing when people over generalize or magnify a situation, show them they are
exaggerating, can use the what if strategy

Decentering, eg: from I am an idiot and failure to I made mistakes but am capable to do
Reframing showing an alternative perspective
Homework giving them something to practice or do or write
Scaling cure for all or nothing thinking, to weigh things on a scale

Islamic Strategies:

Behavioral interventions whoever sees an evil, should change it

Reciprocal inhibition replace it with something else, replace the Haram with a Halal alternative
Shifting the negative attribution bias if it is healthy. Emphasize the mercy of Allah
Understand the temporal reality of this world
All forms of distress cause forgiveness of sins
After Hardship comes ease
Allah does not burden a soul except what it can handle

Module 17:
Solution focused therapy
Basic philosophy

Change is constant and inevitable

This is a post-modern theory
Clients are the experts and define goals
Future orientation history is not essential, doesnt focus on the past
Emphasis is on whats possible & changeable, do something different
If old habits are not working, lets look at new ways to do things
Short term and usually only a small amount of change is needed
Clients want change
Current solutions ARE the problem (the methods they are trying to fix their problems arent
Exceptions = differences that make a difference (behaviors, perceptions, thoughts and feelings
that contrast the complaint) focus on what they havent tried or have been avoiding
Problems are maintained by doing more of the same or expecting no change

Solution Focused

If it aint broke, dont fix it (dont change something that is working for someone)
Once you know what works, do it more
If it doesnt work, do something different
Acknowledge distress show empathy, understand them
Focus on success

Talk solutions, not problems

Techniques miracle question, scaling question, client goals

Basic Assumptions

Clients have resources and strengths to resolve complaints

Change is constant
The therapists job is to identify and amplify change
It is usually unnecessary to know much about the complaint in order to resolve it
It is not necessary to know the cause or function of a complaint to resolve it
A small change is all that is necessary (a change is one part of the system can affect change in
Clients define goals
There is no right way to view things different views may be valid
Focus on what is possible and changeable, rather than what is impossible and intractable

Milton Erickson

Client centred
Permission give clients permission or who they are
Validation any response or behavior is valid (Not according to Islam, we understand their
behavior, but not validate Haraam behavior)
Utilisation make use of what clients bring

3 types of clients

Visitors no complaints, along for the ride, complimented and given no tasks
Complainants going along to placate and appease, complain, distant, observant and expectant
given observational and thinking tasks
Customers do something want to change, given behavioral tasks

Clients Goals

Important to the client

Small, realistic and achievable
Concrete, specific and behavioral
Presence of something, rather than absence
Expressed as beginnings, rather than endings
Requiring hard work

Interviewing Ideas

Past successes

Pre-session changes
Miracle question
Scaling questions
Coping questions

Typical First session

Opening: social introductions, structure session

Collect Complaints learn more about the problem
Rank complaints prioritize
Discuss exceptions

Session Structure

Miracle question process

Exceptions/ pre-session changes
Identify goals
Scales: situation now, willingness, confidence
Anything else/ break
Closing message

Subsequent sessions

Less time spent on complaints

More time on exceptions and solutions
Whats different this week from last
Exceptions: elicit, recognize, discuss, amplify
Scaling: accentuate any improvements
Therapeutic break time for reflection and consider the task for next week
Compliments and summary, tasks and homework


Be respectfully curious
Ask questions as part of a conversation
Not asked as a list of question
Questions are the main intervention, not to gather information
Constructive questions generate new experience about possible solutions, client strengths and
Problem focused question: how long have you been depressed?
Solution focused: What would life be like if you werent depressed

Types of questions

Goal setting questions

Miracle questions
Exception questions
Coping questions
Scaling question

Identifying Goals:

What are your goals?

How will you continue to accomplish goals
How will you know when you got what you wanted from therapy
What will be different
Who will notice
What will they notice?
These help them develop their own goals

Miracle Questions:

Dr Jonathan E Adler What would be different if all your problems were solved? miracle
Ericksons crystal ball he asked clients to look into the future and see themselves as they
wanted to be, problems solved, and then to explain what had happened to cause this change to
come about.
He also used technique whereby he asked them to think of a date in the future, then worked
backwards, asking them what had happened at various points on the way
Other types of miracle questions: OHanlons videotape question, De Shazers miracle question
What difference would you and others notice
What are the first things you notice
Has any of this ever happened before
Would it help to recreate any of these miracles
What would need to happen to do this?

Five useful questions

The miracle (magic wand) question

Has anything been better since the last appointment? Whats changed? Whats better?
Can you think of a time in the past that you did not have this problem? What would have to
happen for that to occur more often?
Scaling questions
How to you manage to cope with everything that is going on?

Assessment Questions

Identify problems and exceptions:

When doesnt the problem happen?
Whats different about those times?
What are you doing or thinking differently during the good times?
What do you want to change about the problem?

Coping Questions

How do you cope?

What keeps you going?
How do you manage day to day?
Who is your greatest support? What do they do that is helpful for you?
This problem feels so difficult at the moment yet you still managed to get here today. What got
you here?
Sometimes problems tend to get worse. What do you do to stop it from getting worse?
How did you get through that period?
Who was your greatest support?
How did they help?
How did you manage to solve that problem in the past?
Other people might have had more difficulty but you manages to survive. How did you manage
to achieve that?

Scaling questions

One a scale of one to ten 1 being worst, 10 being after the miracle has happened
Where are you now?
Where to you need to be?
What will help you move up one point?
How can you keep yourself at that point?
On scale of 1-10 regarding achieving goals, where would you place yourself now?
On scale 1-10, where would you place yourself today?
What makes you think you got that far?
What things have you done already that got you to this point?
What do you think will move you one step further?
What would be the first sign that you had moved one point further?
Who would be the first to notice the change?

Exception questions:

Tell me the times when the complaint doesnt occur or occurs less than othertimes
When does your partner listen to you?

Tell me about the days when you wake up more full of life?
When are the times you managed to get everything done at work?
Variations: When are the times when you came closest to? When did you last wake up feeling
quite good? Etc

De Shazers skeleton keys

Between now and next time, observe what works

Do something different
Pay attention to whenexception
Normalize a lot of people in your situation
Write, read and burn thoughts
All interventions should give hope

Module 18:
Post-modernist theories continued:

Humanistic theory and solution focused therapy are both post modernistic theories

Positive Psychology:

Martin Seligman came up with Positive Psychology

Concerned with avoiding helplessness and focused on happiness
The best prevention for helplessness is early experience with mastery
Regards early childhood as very important
Based on life histories of people who were resilient in situations likely to cause helplessness
Self-Efficacy, competence already in existence, work on building it, served as buffer
Human Strengths despite all the difficulties of life, majority of people manage to live with
dignity and purpose
Positive psychology adopts a more optimistic perspective on human potential, motives and
It is like humanistic psychology, but with scientific methods

Positive subjective states

Positive emotions
Satisfaction with life
Optimism and hope
Sources of energy and confidence

A Brief history lesson

Before WW2, psychology had better balance and focused on treating mental illness, burturing
genius and talent, studying normal life and happiness, importance of relationships and group
memberships, leadership styles
After the war, the focus became treatment orientated, soldiers were returning combat fatigue
and PTSD, money went into developing new treatments and dealing with depression and
psychosis, in 1955 drugs were introduced
After war, more focus on helping children with developmental disabilities
Gifted programs were not funded - Exceptional children are on both ends of the spectrum,
genius and talents needs to be nurtured
Positive psychology wants to expand efforts to eliminate social problems such as drug abuse,
criminal behavior and mental illness, studies the protective factors as well as risk factors, focus
on positive emotions and traits that be used to combat problems
Islamically humans are seen as good natured (Fitrah) but struggle against their nafs and

Risk and Protective Factors

Drug abuse risk factors family history, peer influence, unemployment

Protective factors strong family values, positive peer influence, employment counseling
Most people do not abuse alcohol, most gamblers can control themselves
Focus on positives and hope

Shares the following ideas with humanistic psychology:

Maslows theory
Positive instincts to fulfill human potential and a strong motivating force to do good
Be the best that they can be
Client-centered therapy

Positive side of humanistic psychology according to positive psychology:

Optimistic view of humankind

Human abilities
Growth potential
Healthy personality
Pyramid of needs

Negative side of humanistic psychology according to positive psychology:

Philosophy rather than psychology
Need evidence to support beliefs
Practical applications

Emphasis on research in positive psychology:

Most people adapt and adjust to life in creative ways

Resilience: bounce back after loss, go beyond recovery, life takes on new meaning and focus
Study this strength and resilience using scientific method
What makes life worth living

Relationship with Maslows theory

Maslow believed only a few people could reach self-actualization

Positive psychology has a wider view
Average individuals hold potential
Study regular people with large samples

Prevention over treatment:

Positive psychology seeks to shift focus from treatment to prevention

Help more people if we can prevent problems before they exist (primary goal), intervene before
they get worse (secondary goals), treat them if necessary (tertiary goal)

Narrative Psychology view of human nature:

Assume that realities are socially constructed, there is no absolute reality Muslims disagree
with that
View people are healthy, competent, resourceful, and have the ability to construct solutions and
alternative stories to enhance their lives
Help clients recognize their competencies and build on their potential, strengths and resources
Even though we disagree with their view on human nature, can benefit from their techniques

Key concepts of narrative therapy

Listen to clients with an open mind

Encourage clients to share their stories
Views human lives on narrative stories, everybody has a story
Listen to a problem saturated story without getting stuck
Therapists demonstrate respectful curiosity and persistence
The person is not the problem, the problem is the problem

Therapeutic process

Collaborate with client to name the problem

Separate person from the problem

Investigate how the problem has been disrupting or dominating the person
Search for exceptions to the problem
Ask clients to speculate about what kind of future they could expect from the competent person
that is emerging
Create an audience to support the new story
Therapeutic Goals Therapists invite clients to describe their experience in new language and
facilitate the discovery or creation of new options that are unique to them
Example: treating students like they are dumb makes them perform badly in academics, treating
students as intelligent improves their performance

Narrative Therapists function and role

To become active facilitators

To demonstrate care, interest, respectful curiosity, openness, empathy, contact and fascination
To adopt a not-knowing position that allows being guided by the clients story
To help clients construct a preferred alternative story
To separate the problem from the people (instead of the person owning the problem)
To create a collaborative relationship with the client being the senior partner

Therapeutic relationship

Emphasize the quality of therapeutic relationship, in particular therapists attitudes

Client-as-expert, clients are the primary interpreters of their own experiences
Therapists seek to understand clients lived experiences and avoid effort to predict, interpret
and pathologize

Therapeutic Techniques

No recipe, no set agenda, no formula

This approach is grounded in a philosophical framework
Questions and more questions: questions are used as a way to generate experience, rather than
gather information
Asking questions can lead to separating person from problem, identifying preferred directions
and creating alternative stories to support these directions
Externalization is a process of separating the person from indentifying with the problem
Externalizing conversations can lead clients to recognize times when they have dealt successfully
with the problem
Problem-saturated stories are deconstructed (taken apart) before new stories are co-created

Externalizing questions:

Who was in charge at that moment, you or the problem?

Who sides with the problem?
What has X tried to get you to do lately that you didnt want to do?
How does X get between you and your husband?

Additional techniques

Search for unique outcomes successful stories regarding their problem

Creating alternative stories assumption is that people can continually and actively re-author
their lives
Invite clients to author alternative stories through unique outcomes
An appreciative audience helps new stories to take root: How did you manage to do this? Can
you give me some idea of what it took? Did you almost chicken out? How did you keep going?
Were there things going on in other areas of your life which helped you to take these steps?
Questions need to be tailored to your own style
Documenting the evidence write and send a letter/email to clients regarding their strengths
and accomplishments, alternative story, and unique outcomes or exceptions to the problems

From a multicultural perspective

Contributions fits with diverse worldview, clients provide their own interpretations of life
Limitations diverse clients may expect therapists as a expert instead of client-as-expert

Summary and evaluation

View people as competent and able to create solutions and alternative stories
Do not support the DSM labeling system
A brief approach is good for managed care
Studies provided preliminary support for the efficacy of solution focused brief therapy

Module 19:
Integrative Behavioral Couples therapy (IBCT)

Research proves that this method has a lot of benefits

CBT is putting an increasing emphasis on acceptance based strategies which led to IBCT
Big emphasis on assessment couples therapy viewed as inappropriate when domestic violence

Previously, couples therapy focused more on problem solving which led to blaming, IBCT is less

Goals of IBCT

Improving communication slow it down, help understand each others perspective, give
couples a forum to communicate while the therapist facilitates the communication (many
couple problem is misunderstanding or misinterpreting the other spouse)
Increasing intimacy over a time, poor communication erodes positive energy and this leads to
loss of respect, dislike and falling out of love which leads to lack of intimacy
Accepting and understanding differences empathy two people coming from different
backgrounds will definitely have differences, understand the others perspective


The theme is a description of the couples primary overriding conflict, such as: closeness vs
distance, bilateral power vs unilateral power, family oriented vs individual oriented

Polarization process

Describes the interactions that occur the patterns of their thoughts, words and actions that
arise in their conflicts (can think of this as the situation, beliefs and reactions)

Mutual Trap

This is the experience of the unsatisfactory and unhelpful outcome of the conflict that leaves
each person feeling stuck or trapped and unable to resolve the conflict. Hence, a cycle of
repetition of the conflict. (they dont realize what is causing the conflict)

IBCT Intervention

Techniques for building acceptance:

Empathetic joining helping each person to understand and have empathy for the others
Detachment from the problem helping the couple to describe and discuss the problems
without placing blame on one another. The problem becomes it, instead of you
Tolerance building helping each other to see the positive aspects of the others behavior or
perspective, looking at how the differences complement each other, finding ways to be resilient
when the other displays the negative behavior
Strategies for behavior change:
Behavior exchange identify positive behaviors that each person can do for the other,
regardless of the others behavior. (that is, ones commitment on doing positive cannot be

dependent on the others commitment to do the same) in order to be successful in a

marriage, have zero expectations
Communication training to increase both listener and speaker skills
Problem solving training to learn how to identify/define problems, increase solution
possibilities, evaluate the solutions and discuss outcomes

Other approaches to integrate

John Gattmans four horsemen. It presents a positive predictor of divorce in up to 85% of

couples cases. These are four main causes of divorce (in stages, sequence):
Criticism, contempt, defensiveness, stonewalling (usually men do this) reinforcement erosion
makes it worse
Every couple has problems, need to find compromises

Module 20:
Marital Therapy with Muslim Clients:

Pre-marital considerations divorce statistics among Muslims in the west is slightly less but
similar to normative population
Dilemma over arranged vs arranged marriages and an ability to reconcile between the two
Lots of problems for young married couples
50% of marriages end in divorce
25% of marriages which take place before age 25 actually survive
Major problem is in choice of spouse and how to choose the right spouse
Traditional Muslims want arranged marriage, modern Muslims wants choice and pre-marital
First generation participants had a higher marriage rate, were more likely to be married within
the same generational level and same ethnicity, and the lowest percentage of marital age gap of
less than 5 years
Marriage between immigrants and western Muslims leads to culture clashes
Cohabitation prior to marriage fairs worse for the success of a marriage
Arranged marriages seem to yield higher in their scores of love in the long term than choice
Some studies find no difference between the two
These statistics help in dealing with youth who believe in marriage based on love
Asian American Indians report higher levels of marital satisfaction then both Asian Indians and
Asian American youth tend to co-operate and consider their families views while demanding
more autonomy than they are afforded. This results in the re-creation of their culture leading to

positive marital satisfaction rates. (balanced between the forced marriage on Indians and
freedom of Americans, combines the good of both)
Two stages of love passionate and companionship love. Love before marriage is passionate
and clouds our decision making processes. There are many goals and values that need to be
worked out before marriage which people in love overlook
We need to find someone similar to us, the more similar the better chance of the marriage
Marital Satisfaction among women who harbor values of traditional marital roles are resistant to
the dip in marital satisfaction that takes place among women who hold egalitarian views about
marriage after the birth of the first child
In the West, marriage tends to take a dip after the birth of the first child due to the womens
belief that the man needs to equally look after the child as they do

A Balanced Appraoch

Romantic passionate love vs rationality

Similarities tend to increase liking and the self-serving bias is shown to increase marital
satisfaction. The more similar, the more involvement
Individuals are matched in arranged marriages in similarity across many domains
Parents need to assist but the youngsters need to interact enough to check for compatibility
without crossing the line
Doing a personality test for both potential spouses can help work out their compatibility

Module 21:
Marital Therapy:
Education about the counseling process many Muslims dont understand what a counselor does

Normalizing counseling it isnt abnormal or bad to go for counseling, there is nothing wrong
with you for going for counseling, your marriage isnt the worst, many others go through similar
experience, today a happy marriage is the exception to the rule, rather than the norm
Not arbitration like a lawyer counselor doesnt give fatwa either, doesnt deal with legal issues,
good to go through the goals of counseling with the couple
Active guide not passive, going to give them techniques, show them how to do things, how to
Forum to increase self-awareness understand your own issues and have certain things bother
Process oriented
Taking personal responsibility

Islamic Ethics

Integration of a religious framework many Muslims wont attend counseling because they
prefer religious guidance
discuss rights and responsibilities of the spouses and discuss where they are falling short in this
Have resources on hand collaborative care
Fiqh issues related to marriage child custody, validity of divorce, khula, domestic violence
Deen can be used as a powerful source to dispel faulty cognitions
Re-educate about roles and responsibilities in relationship
Obstacle they may challenge you and you are not a religious authority potential for power
Marriage according to Taqwa, not Fatwa adorn your marriage based on usool, rahmah and the
Dont fall into the trap of saying whos right and wrong
Most issues are relational and appear religious. This is the surface issue (the content)
The biggest issue: NOT being heard leading to inability to compromise. Empathy does not equal
We want to rectify the marriage so that it is conducive to following Quran and Sunnah
Need to hear them out, many times the problem is lack of communication and not disobedience
Ask about sexual intimacy even though it is taboo, this needs to be done strategically
Level of Sexual intimacy can be diagnostic of the current state of their relationship
Help undo reinforcement erosion. Help them redevelop or even develop positives in
Sometimes lack of intimacy is caused by other problems, sometimes it is the cause of the
problems, sometimes the wife just does it to fulfill obligation without love. Loving intimacy
indicates positive energy in the marriage. If the man just fulfills his needs on his wife, this would
cause problems. Men and women have different sexual needs. Often it is the men who are
unable to sexually fulfill their wives
Many Asian Muslims do these things as duties, instead of out of love and this causes problems
Sometimes they just need to take up time to talk to each other everyday
If husband and wife dont want to spend time together, its a sign of a bigger problem.

Module 22:
Family Systems Theory:

An individual model sees problems as residing within an individual i.e.p sychopathology

A family systems model sees problems as being imbedded within, and created by a family
structure, i.e. intergenerational or present day context.
An individual, living within a context of a family, if they are acting out or suffering with a mental
illness, it could be because the family itself is dysfunctional
People dont act in isolation, families contribute to our behavior and way of thinking

Families operate as a system. Just like any other system, there are patterns, structures, rules
and roles that are played out in order to maintain this system. Each family is unique in the
dynamics that are developed in forming this system.
Just like a business is a system and any disruption could psychologically affect the workers.
Families function similarly. Same applies to country systems and a variety of other systems.
Nothing happens in isolation.
A system is a series of inter-related, interdependent, interconnected parts whose whole is
greater than the sum of its parts
Systems thinking have its foundation in the field of system dynamics, founded in 1956 by MIT
professor Jay Forester. (looking at computer systems)
The approach of systems thinking is fundamentally different from that of traditional forms of
analysis. Traditional analysis focuses on separating the individual pieces of what is being studied.
In fact, the word analysis actually comes from the root meaning to break into constituent
parts. Systems thinking focus on how the object to be studied interacts with the other parts of
the system of which it is a part.
Bateson Relationships (groups) have a mind also. It regulates behavior within and between the
members of the system under observation, and with interactions with those outside.

Systemic Concepts

Holen one smaller piece of the system has all the information needed to reconstruct the larger
part system. A group of smaller subsystems whos purpose is to reproduce themselves with as
much integrity of the larger system as possible. Systems are regulated by cybernetic principles,
feedback, either negative (dont change) or positive (change). Eg: Children tend to emulate their
parents even if they say they wont. Islamic example: the name your parents give you effect
your behavior
Feedback loop Information is processed, compared against the setting that has been
established, and maintains the behavior of the organism (couple, family, kinship, culture, nation,
etc) by giving messages to either continue the course change, or to stay within the established
parameters. Families develop patterns which may be good or bad and dont like to change, are
afraid of change. We need to evaluate patterns and see what function they serve, and decide if
change is good or bad.
A common problem arises. Where the roles and patterns of the marriage or a family have not
been negotiated or agreed upon. Often due to the differing personalities of the individuals
within the family and the roles that they play, patterns emerge within the family and become
the norm.
The patterns may be dysfunctional or unsatisfactory to some of the members within the family.
Important to note that families are resistant to change.
Once these patterns develop, they serve a purpose, and if a member attempts to rock the boat,
there will be consequences from other family members to maintain the pattern EVEN IF it is

More Systemic Thinking

Open systems (involve others with family issues) VS close systems (private, dont talk about their
problems to others)
Homeostasis tendency for systems to return to the previous state
Homeodynamic tendency for systems to remain in the same form while evolving to the next
logical type (slow change without rocking the boat too hard)
Change is not difficult, change is inevitable
Systems are considered processors of information or energy.
Systems are either open or closed. Information either gets in or not. (open systems are more
open to therapy)
Systems thinking are not linear, as cause and effect, but are circular, recursive and multi-causal.
Within living systems, linearity is curbed by the systems internal process.
From a systemic point of view, a symptom is a sign that the system is in need of, or in the
process of change. It is not necessarily pathology. Family therapists dont like to think in terms
of psychopathology.
All family therapy models view flexibility as essential to healthy family functioning.

Dimensions of families:

Target dimensions
1) Meaning:
What are the family values?
What the goals of the family?
When others look at your family, what will they see?
What are the beliefs in relation to marriage?
Answering these questions, brings meaning to the family
2) Emotion:
How is emotion regulated?
Who is allowed to show emotion and who is not?
What types of emotion are permissible or impermissible? Eg: Husband cannot be sensitive
How is it expressed?
3) Power:
What is the hierarchy, if one?
Who makes the decisions and/or what kind of decisions?
Who is the gatekeeper?
How is power utilized? Eg: emotional coercion

Access Dimensions

1) Space:

What are the boundaries?

How much privacy is permitted? do you close doors in the rooms?
What boundaries exist between your family and others? (extended family, friends, others)
2) Energy:
What are the things that fuel you and your family?
What things are draining?
When are you energized, how often?
3) Time:
Clocking What are peoples schedules? Do they have one? Eg: scheduling family time
Synchronizing how do you or dont you synchronize? Eg: When leaving for an outing, who is
the first to get ready and out?
Orienting Past, Present, Future
Is your spouse/parent past oriented (focus on tradition, how things used to be), present
oriented (live each day), Future oriented (focused on goals)
This is a good way of looking at things, and very islamically acceptable. Understanding systems
helps us understand the complexity of our community, and we wont oversimplify problems.

Module 23:
Group Therapy:

Humans have been grouped since beginning of time, humans are social by nature
Sahaba were a group and the prophet was their leader. He would spend time in isolation though
(i.e. itikaaf)
Although groups are good, dependency on groups are a bad thing
We maintain and choose groups based on whether they are following Quran and Sunnah and
are beneficial
Groups can help people overcome illness, groups can help encourage us to do good


Group counseling in the US can be traced back to late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries,
when millions of immigrants moved to American shores.
Most of these immigrants settled in large cities and organizations such as Hull House in Chicago
were founded to assist them adjust to life in the US. Known as settlement houses, these
agencies helped immigrants groups lobby for better housing, working conditions, and
recreational facilities.
These early social work groups valued group participation, the democratic process and personal

Some early psychoanalysts, especially Alfred Adler, a student of Sigmund Freud, believed that
many individual problems were social in origin. In the 1930s, Adler encouraged his patients to
meet in groups to provide mutual support.
At around the same time, social work groups began forming in mental hospitals, child guidance
clinics, prisons and public assistance agencies.

Who people choose group counseling?

Group counseling offers multiple relationships to assist an individual in growth and problem
solving. In group counseling sessions, members are encouraged to discuss the issues that
brought them into counseling openly and honestly. The facilitator works to create an
atmosphere of trust and acceptance that encourage members to support one another. (social
support network very beneficial)
Unlike two person relationship, group counseling offers multiple relationships to assist the
individual in growth and problem solving. Counseling groups exist to help individuals grow
emotionally and solve personal problems. All utilize the power of the group, as well as the
facilitator who leads it, in this process.
Dr Irvin Yalom identified 11 curative factors that are the primary factors of change in group
therapy, they are:
1. Instillation of hope
2. Universality
3. Imparting of information
4. Altruism
5. Corrective Recapitulation of primary family
6. Improved social skills
7. Imitative behavior
8. Interpersonal Learning
9. Group Cohesiveness
10. Catharsis (sense of relief)
11. Existential Factors

Group counseling in schools

Conduct a needs assessment (find out what the school needs, and form a group to deal with
Tell students about the group. One way to do this is to mention the group(s) in classrooms
Inform administrators and teachers
Obtain parent/guardian consent
Screen potential group members (make sure the person is a good fit for the group)
Select group members
Use an evaluation procedure that will demonstrate the effectiveness of the group

Rationale for group counseling: what to avoid if I facilitate a group, I can see more students at
one time with the same problem
Group membership - Individuals that share a common problem or concern are often good
candidates for group counseling, where they can share their mutual struggles and feelings
In schools, groups for students who have or are currently experiencing their parents divorce,
grief/loss, social skills deficiencies
Consider the age, grade level and gender when choosing students for the group (similar yet have
people at different stages)

Group membership which is not recommended

children who are suicidal or who have a psychiatric diagnosis that indicates a need for therapy,
or are the midst of the major life crisis are not typically placed in group counseling until their
behavior and emotional states have stabilized
People with severe cognitive impairments may also be poor candidates for group counseling, as
are patients with sociopathic traits, who show little ability to empathize with others
Siblings or relatives shouldnt be placed in the same group
Children who habitually lie or steal
Children who are victims of abuse
Children who are so different from the others that they may not be accepted
Children who are extremely aggressive

Forming the group

Some students may participate in both individual and group counseling

Before a student joins, the facilitator should interview the child to see a good fit between their
needs and the groups needs.
The student should be given preliminary information before sessions begin, such as guidelines
and ground rules, and information about the problem on which the group is focused

Group Construction

Therapy groups may be homogeneous or heterogeneous

Homogeneous groups have members with similar presenting issues (for example, they may all
have parents who are divorced)
Heterogeneous groups contain a mix of individuals with different presenting issues
The number of group members typically ranges from five to ten. (more than ten, it becomes
more like a class)
The number of sessions depends on the groups makeup, goals and settings
Some are time limited, with a predetermined number of sessions known to all members at the

Others are indeterminate, and the group/counselor determines when the group is ready to
Membership may be closed or open to new members depending on sensitivity of topic
Plan for the group: one fun exercise and one structured activity

Prevention Groups

Groups for prevention may be strictly informational, concerned with providing information on
subjects timely to adolescents such as peer pressure or decision making
Or they may be designed to help students improve their coping skills through such techniques as
problem-solving or the reframing of situations

Friendship groups

Objectives analyze how to make friends

Identify important qualities of a friend
Understand common friendship problems
Learn how to manage conflicts
Develop a plan to improve friendships

Drug and alcohol prevention groups

Objectives: learn dangers of drugs and alcohol

Understand and utilize the problem solving model
Learn refusal skills
Identify ways to have fun and keep friends while staying out of trouble
Develop a plan to handle peer pressure

Intervention groups

Groups concerned with specific problems and their resolution

Parental divorce/separation
Social skills
Anger (selectively)
Attendance (selectively)
Not appropriate: eating disorders, self injury, bullying, and others that require the behavior for
group membership

Grief/Loss group

Objectives express feelings about loss

Learn five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance)

Discuss happy memories
Identify ways to handle stress and loss

Family Groups (Divorce/Separation)

Objectives express feelings about changing family

Understand that divorce/separation is not childs fault
Identify common problems associated with divorce/separation
Understand positive ways family and group members can help in adjustment

Anger Management Groups

Identify factors that cause anger

Understand the consequences of irrational behavior when angry
Examine why some situations make everyone mad and others do not
Identify anger reduction techniques

Conflict Management Groups

Identify feelings and appropriately express them

Learn Win/Win resolutions
Speak clearly
Understand others point of view (be empathic)
Learn how to talk out conflicts

Getting started with a group

Students are encouraged to discuss the issues that brought them into the group openly and
honestly. Physical and Emotional safety.
The counselor/Facilitator works to create an atmosphere of trust and acceptance that
encourages members to support one another
Ground rules must be set at the beginning, such as maintaining confidentiality of group
discussions, showing respect for each other, taking turns talking, etc. (students assist in creating

Role of the facilitator

Facilitates the group process, the effective functioning of the group, and guides individuals in
Depending on the groups goals, sessions may be either highly structured or fluid and relatively

Typically, the facilitator steers a middle course, providing direction when the group gets off
track, yet letting members set their own agenda. (Want to set group culture, start with Hadith or
end with a dua, etc)
The facilitator should guide by reinforcing the positive behaviors they engage in. For example, if
one student shows empathy and supportive listening to another, the facilitator should
compliment them and explain the value of that behavior to the group.
The facilitator should emphasize the commonalities among the members during each session to
instill a sense of group identity

Facilitator Tasks and Techniques

Careful planning selection, group composition, creation of group

Careful observation of group process formative stages, prevent subgrouping, stop/prevent
conflict, self-disclosure, termination (how to end it), problem behaviors

Formative group stages

Initial stage orientation, hesitant participation, search for meaning, dependency

Second Stage Conflict, dominance, rebellion
Third Stage Development of Cohesion
Fourth Stage Termination/Transparency


Fractionalization splitting off of smaller units extra group socialization cliques of 3-4,
coalitions form within the group
Inevitable often disruptive event in life of group
If used properly, may further work of group


Inevitable, absence suggests impairment of developmental sequence

Two step process includes: 1) experience 2) understanding of that experience
Can control conflict by having members switch from 1 to 2 request group discuss their
experience and understand it, this can lead to expressing anger more directly (teach them to


Involves some risk on part of discloser

As disclosure proceeds in a group, entire membership gradually increase its involvement,
responsibility and obligation to one another

Resistance and drop outs

Facilitators must check-in with students individually to assess the value of group participation
(difficulty communicating in a group setting, unable to handle aggressive/hostile comments
from other members)
On-going assessment of group participation during the group
Recognize the role of each member of the group


Groups terminate for various reasons

Brief therapy preset termination dates
Counselors role is to: keep task in focus for members, remind group regularly of the
approaching termination, ensure focus on goal attainment prior to termination, share own
feelings about separation, real loss for all
Termination may cause feelings of grief, loss, abandonment, anger or rejection for some
The facilitator should attempt to deal with these feelings and foster a sense of closure by
encouraging the exploration of feelings and the use of newly acquired coping techniques for
handling them.
Working through this termination phase is an important part of the process

Module 24:
Ethics in Counseling:

One is not qualified to offer psychotherapy at this level of education but can do basic counseling

Critical thinking questions:

What are ethics?

Are they the same as the law? Why or Why not?
Are they arbitrary?
Are they meaningful?
Do we tell people why they cant do certain things professionally?

What are ethics?

These are the codes and rules that assist and promote safe practice
The number of rules for psychotherapy are minimal
This is the filter through which we view all client information and interactions
They are here to protect the clients and their rights

Ethics and the Law

Ethical Codes are written by organizations, they are broader than the law, guidelines for
practice, goal is to protect the client, typically occur at national level
Law is written by state or national legislature vary from state to state, these may or may not
protect clients
All laws are ethics but not all ethics are laws
Sometimes the law and ethics clash
Ethics codes state that the psychologists and therapists need to adhere to the code of ethics and
attempt to resolve the conflict
Generally psychologists and therapists protect the client first
Best policy is to adhere to ethics codes and get consultation

Rules of Ethics:
1) Dont stress
2) If in doubt, get consultation
3) Do no harm
General Ethical Guidelines:
Therapy which makes the client permanently worse is not ethical
Therapy that makes things stay the same for a long period may be unethical
Ethics impact the following issue: Treatment relationship, Therapeutic Contract, Informed
Clients assume that youre practicing within your training, that you are sensitized to the cultural
issues they may bring, that you are on their side (must tie together the client and therapists
agendas to successfully set goals)
Conflicting Values in Psychotherapy
What do you do if you have a client who practices something that conflicts with your values?
Invite with Hikmah
Know your limits
Get consultation
Ethics of seeing clients from other cultures and value systems
Important for therapist not to make client become like the therapist
Need to know what own values are as a therapist
This gets challenging when it comes to successful acculturation
Bring them closer to Allah in degrees

Ethic prohibitions for clinical psychologists:

No dual roles with clients:
Cant counsel your spouse (intimate partner), children, family, friends, employees/employers
Do not be in Khalwa in a Non-mahram client
Cant marry a former client for at least 2 years (non Muslims say cant have sex with them for 2
Why? Power differential, ability to react to client as client no competing contingencies
Limits of practice therapists shall not provide treatments outside his field of expertise, eg: no
Testing therapists shall not provide tests for which they have no training. Interpretive tests
typically require Pd.D. to administer and score, specific training involved
Basic rapid assessments only require knowledge of those tests
Privilege Legal Issue
Clients holds privilege and can decide who can know what information
Different if the client is a minor (under 18) then parent decides
Can ask other members of treatment team for information on client
Confidentiality ethical and legal issue
Information transmitted from client to psychologist has the same right to confidentiality as that
guaranteed between attorney and client
Unless the client/patient signs a release which gives up the privilege of confidentiality for a
particular purpose, the psychologist is not free to divulge such information to anyone
We work very hard to protect confidentiality 25% of complaints deal with breaches of
Need to let clients know through informed consent for treatment that there are exceptions to
therapists keeping confidentiality
Exceptions to confidentiality
Reasonable suspicion of child abuse/neglect or elder abuse/neglect even if no proof, therapist
has reasonable amount of freedom to act here
Court mandated treatment requires proof of therapy and often reporting the facts
(summaries) to authorities
Involuntary commitment to a treatment center psychologist presents specific evidence of
behavior required for commitment, must maintain confidentiality over all information not
relevant to commitment
Subpoenaed records court evaluation, part of another law suit involving a client or former
Malpractice suit can violate confidentiality to defend yourself in court
Reimbursement from third party payers limited to diagnosis and brief case information about
progress, eg: parents, insurance companies

Danger to self suicidality if a person is an imminent threat to themselves, must protect

person who may act on these thoughts. Very personal decision, but not when client is in
treatment, this belongs to the state. Important to consider compromise of human rights.
If it is just passing thoughts of suicide, no need to report those. If they just thinking about it, can
sign a suicide contract to stop them from doing so.
Danger to Others Homicidality this rule comes from the Tarasoff case (must let both
authorities and those they say they going to hurt know about it), you dont have to protect the
victim but give them a chance to protect themselves, duty to break confidentiality. Many
complications may arise like not having a way to contact the victim. Important to consider
compromise of basic rights.

Ethics of responsible practice

Providing informed consent for therapy as that therapist provides it making sure the client
understands his or her options.
Assessment keeping track of improvements or problems, providing this information to clients
Providing best practice standard of care
Getting consultation for assistance
Consulting with clients about changing treatment plans
Cultural and religiously competence
Link to website with ethics code:
Module 25:
Common Psychological Issues for Muslims in the West

Estimated population of 3-10 million Muslims in USA, mostly in the bigger cities
Most Muslims in Canada live around the Montreal and Toronto areas
22% of American Muslims are US born, 78% are immigrants, 27% - Middle East, 25% - South
Asia, 24% African American, rest from other parts of the world
American Muslims earn more than $50,000 a year and 58% are college graduates opposite of
Europe. Different cultures
American Muslims are more integrated into society as compared to European Muslims
American Muslims tend to identify themselves as Americans while European Muslims tend to
identify themselves with their countries of origin

Collectivism VS Individualism
Muslims are coming from a collectivistic background and trying to live in an individualistic
Cultures are divided into the individualistic and collectivistic dichotomy
Collectivism places an emphasis on the extended family, interdependence, humility, authority,
putting the needs of the community above ones own and a strong interconnected community

Individualism on the other hand is rooted in the nuclear family, autonomy, independence and
an ultimate focus on the self.
The Islamic culture can be viewed as being collectivistic in nature, the rules have been fashioned
in order to complement this worldview
If one doesnt understand the Islamic perspective of community, they may have trouble
understanding its rules
The Sahaba were a collectivistic society with the prophet as their leader, the scholars are
suppose to lead our communities today too.
The nuclear family is against the Islamic spirit
In Islam men need to go to the Masjid, work, support the family, etc while the women raise the
children and care for the home.
Complementarities within the system, as division of responsibilities are distributed equitably
Serving parents, caring for neighbors, having a lot of wives and children all part of the
collectivistic approach of Islam
In Islam, you think about others before yourself.
Woman does not remain isolated in her home, unlike a housewife in a western community
Rather she receives social and emotional support via the proximity and availability of the
individuals within her community which includes her friends, family and neighbors.
Does not feel isolated as a mother because Islam instructs families to have lots of children and
to support one another. Communities and extended families raise children which are in stark
contrast to the nuclear family structure. This way both children and mothers have social outlets.
Degree of emotional and social attachment between the spouses in the modern era is
unprecedented this is a natural attempt to compensate for the lack of a community, thus
attempting to plug in the family as a micro community.
This is problematic and creates isolation, divorce, and mental health problems
This complicates matters for Muslims, in this type of system. The woman does not have any
social supporters other than her husband. Consequently she becomes dependent upon him for
support. When he is not available or unable to provide support, it creates tensions in the
Historically, Muslims have always had a strong sense of community. The spouses were not the
only members of their community. It would not be uncommon for men to have more than one
wife, travel frequently on business trips, study religion and spend time in the community.
Women on the other hand would frequent one another within the communities, spend time
with their extended family, and let their children stay with their grandparents, have womens
religious gatherings, lessons and entertain guests.
Muslims today are fitting the mold of the nuclear family and are becoming encultured as
individualists while attempting to follow the rules designed for collectivism.
This is dangerous and flies in the face of the Islamic perspective
The first generation of Muslim immigrants have attempted to replicate some of the collectivistic
notions in North America, but most have resulted in communities rooted in specific ethnic
groups and have not been established on the basis of religion.

This is due to the fact that immigration to Western countries was not a religious venture but
rather religious practice became a necessity upon arriving here.
Many find Islamic norms as inapplicable in the North American context and feel the necessity to
compromise those ideals in favor of an assimilattionist attitude. Thus, the nuclear modern family
is fully embraced, where the Islamic ideals of marrying young, having many children, and
extended family are compromised in favor of career driven roles between both spouses. With
this come the many questions of Islamic Law, attempting to satisfy their conscious by walking
the line of permissibility VS impermissibility and missing the essence and purpose of the Islamic
lifestyle or system.

Examples of problems which arise from this:

Sense of alienation and identity crisis
Marital Discord
47% of Muslim college students drink alcohol and 16% binge drink
Generational gaps
Internalizing an inferiority complex
Diminished religious education
Good News
Need to fill void sometimes results in individuals re-identifying with Islam in the midst of an
environment conducive to disbelief
Sometimes this identity can be stronger than those in Muslim countries
Need communities to support these identity developments
This requires a transition towards re-establishing a community rooted in essence of religion and
a lesser focus on legalistic tradition. Until the foundations of an Islamic community are not
formed within North American communities, the symptoms of depression, marital
dissatisfaction, gender role confusion and distress will remain.
Module 26:
Islamic Counseling Techniques:
Clinical interview assessment of person and presenting problem must be the first step
Empathy and speaking their language establishing a connection
Diagnosis and formation of treatment plan.
The prophet (peace be upon him) use to give advice according to the person he was talking to,
so it is important to know the person before giving advice thus the importance of an assessment
Humanistic Concepts

Empathy is part of our Deen

Unconditional positive regard belief in their progress, pray for them, eg: Umar Ibn Khattab
Congruence (both clients and therapists)
Always have Husn Dhann think good of the next person and hope best for them
Want to channel a person qualities in a good way, eg: aggressive people can be good at
discipline and at sports


For assessment purposes and insight

Dream interpretation
Behavior interpretation

Assumes a reality, ie reality of clinician. Criticized for possibility of being culturally insensitive
We need to plug in the reality of Islam and make it their yardstick for judging their current
thoughts and behaviors
Good thoughts to deal with bad times like acceptance of Qadar
Reframing looking at things from a different perspective
Move towards a positive attribution bias hope in Allah
Shaping self-reinforcement response cost a Muslims who feels guilty about doing
something pleasurable to his Nafs, should punish himself by spiritual ways like fasting or giving
charity introduced by Abu Ali Ibn Miskawayh
Analogy of the paper and needing to fold in the opposite direction when a paper is creased, to
straighten it you need to fold it in the opposite direction
To control the nafs, one must put it through some pains for rectification, like going on a diet


Coping Techniques
Being Pleased with Qadar combined with reframing
Doing for God as opposed to doing for others (never lose benefit in that)
Normalizing others have had the situation and some have been in worse than you example
of Somalia
Religious Healing
Diminish dependencies by forcing some isolation, eg: itikaaf. Spending time with just Allah alone
Al-Quran Shifaa Wal Hudaa
Traditional Healing Methods
Elicit Emotional Healing give them space to cry, to let it out
Specific prayers for particular ills duas for removal of depression/anxiety, Surah Fatiha, Quls,

Assumes mild to moderate pathology if someone has major mental issues, must send to
Assumes a basic level of faith in Islam (practicing Muslim)
Diminished social supports in community
Module 28:
Collaborative Care
The roles of people from many different disciplines to work together
Role of the counselor
bridging resources to help this individual within the context of their community.
Counselor should identify his resources which include: social support networks, family, friends,
Masjid and programs within their vicinity these can complement the therapy
The counselor needs to encourage the religious scholar to do supplemental sessions whom you
will provide compensation for, you can hire a consulting scholar Integrative Islamic Care
The counselor needs to recognize situations that need Islamic legalistic aid
Role of the religious scholars
Be involved in mental health
Mental/Spiritual health is an component of the community that needs Islamic attention
They should be aware of the psychosocial issues in the community and find out about the
facilities and resources available in the society
Work with mental health providers by finding one other clinician that you trust. Send that
individual to that clinician and obtain a release of information form. This will render you able to
gain information about the treatment process. You may also offer to be part of the treatment
team, if your time persists and you develop the treatment plan with the clinician.
If the clinician is a Muslim you will be on the same page and treatment will serve as
If no Muslim clinician is available, find a culturally sensitive therapist, request congregant to
obtain a release of information form (which they have rights for), tell them to request your
Imam be a consulting treatment provider in this process
This ensures: the clinician treats the mental health pathology and does not instill any valueladen information in this. Healthy monitoring of this treatment. This forces the clinician to
consider spiritual healing that can be gained. It offers a dual treatment process that can be the
MOST optimal form of treatment
The role of the Psychiatrist

Recognize the need for medication management if the client needs it. Some disorders require it
like substance abuse, ADHD and bipolar disorder
Use this person ONLY for this purpose. Two mental health clinicians cannot treat via therapy at
the same time refuse to offer treatment if someone requests another clinician offer

The role of Social Workers

Connect you to a competent social worker who may be able to help connect the client to social
These include: settlement services, finding therapeutic groups, Information on funding, low
income access, resources, etc
The role of Inpatient services
If your client requires inpatient, help locate a hospital that may have a Muslim chaplain or
clinician. Come see the client and receive them after they have been stabilized
Optimal Collaborative Services
A treatment team in one particular setting that can offer various modes of treatment to the
client that has access to all of these individuals
Module 29:
Current State of Islamic Psychology:

Currently there are very few models available

Most models of intervention are piecework
A need for developing a mode of intervention that is rooted in an Islamic theoretical orientation
that integrates useful mental health concepts
Current models are aimed at uncovering Muslim issues and approaching Muslims in a culturally
sensitive manner - not religious intervention
There are many Muslim clinicians but very few models on how to do it Islamically
Many Muslim clinicians in Muslim countries advocate for Western models sometimes more than
Important to be critical and develop Islamically acceptable modes of healing

This is a new field and job, the formation of a new discipline
This was originally a Christian concept, as spiritual guides in hospitals, prisons, etc
It is both a religious and professional career
This is a new venture with few models available

Need for Education and Educational Forums

Dr Malik Badri father of Islamic psychology based in MIIU in Malaysia
Few Muslim universities have psychology departments
Workshops/conferences as a way of networking
Need more Muslims studying and teaching these fields
Case of Malaysia
Emerging Islamic treatment centers Darul Shifa Islamic counseling principles
Other forms of healing and seminars hosted here
You are bestowed with this responsibility after becoming aware of the situation to contribute to
this field and to help a need area that has been unaddressed for a long time!
May Allah make us successful in this.