Mental Health

What is Islamic Counselling Psychology? part 1

What is Islamic Counselling Psychology? part 1

What is Islamic Counselling Psychology ? Part 1

Muslim Psychology is a growing field today that helps people in a number of areas. You can learn to live with others better, learn to cope with yourself, and the daily activities that happen in your life. Psychology is not a simple matter that you can do by yourself; an expert in the field is needed for it to be effective. It is a very powerful and transformational discipline that helps people find their purpose and helps them celebrate life, as well as be grateful of what they have. Islam and Psychology are almost related with one another since their ultimate goal is for people to attain personal well-being.

History of Islamic Psychology

It was during the Golden Age of Islam when Islamic scholars have took a keen interest in the concept of psychology and its connection to mental health. It was then at that time in which mental disorders were carried out and treated in hospitals. Even though psychiatric hospitals were already constructed in Baghdad in 705, as well as in Cairo in 805, it wasn’t until Bakar Muhammad Zakaria Al-Razi, a Muslim physician, first introduced the concept of psyhcotherpay  in 925 CE that the Islamic scholars and the entire Islamic community started understanding mental health in a different light.  It was Islamic scholars who started equating mental illness with physical ailments and that the mind and body shared a tangible link. Bakar Muhammad Zakaria Al-Razi bravely tackled the definition, misconceptions, and symptoms of mental health.

Although psychotherapy was popularly developed by Westerners, it was actually a part of treating mental disorders even before the Western Society had introduced the notion. In the early 20th century, the Islamic psychotherapy was not only making headway in Muslim countries but as well as in Western perspectives. This led to the many advances in the study of the mind, setting up more psychiatric hospitals, and the recognition of Islamic physicians in a wide range of mental ailments.

Overview of Islamic Psychology

Islamic Psychology, or commonly known with Muslims as Ilm al-Nafs, is both a medical and philosophical study of the nafs [self or psyche] from an Islamic point of view. It was written in the scripture (Sura 4:5 of the Qur’an) that the mentally ill must be cared for, must be treated humanely, and be told good words by a custodian or the state itself. It was also learned that mental illness is associated with physical sickness; thus, the study of Psychology flourished in the Islamic culture.

Islamic Psychology is fascinating to learn as you learn about yourself and learn to feel good and trust Allah at the same time, you can earn His love (Surah Al-Imran 3:160). As you also learn about behavior modification, you can learn to motivate yourself to give up bad acts, forgive those who caused you harm, control your irritation, rage and anger, and live more happily and peacefully (Surah al-Anfal 8:53). The most important part is you becoming a better person and nurturing your relationship with Allah. The clinician may use in clinical practice both psychological interventions and religious and spiritual exercises to aid therapy.

Islamic Psychology Today

However, today it was becoming evident that there is little to no consideration about the use of Psychology on the variety of mental and emotional turmoil and instability experienced by a number of Muslims. Contemporary Psychology has been neglected and religious rituals like prayers and fasting are given focused to achieve healing and peace. If you examine Muslims today, a number of them are experiencing a number of psychological problems that need to be addressed. Islam and Psychology, although these have a number of similarities, they must still function mutually to achieve remarkable results. One must not be chosen to be superior or effective over the other. Medication and therapy should be done to re-balance the body which religious rituals and practices alone might fail to achieve. Islam is offering preventive measures as it integrates mental and physical aspects to balance human dimension, but if you need curative procedures, making use of Psychology really helps the individual.

The problems of the mind and body must be dealt with properly. It is believed that if the body is sick, the psych fails to reach its maximum potential and vice versa. Achieving this balance between the mind and body will benefit many aspects of your life especially the spiritual aspect. Here are some ways that healing your mind and body has great effects for you:

 

  1. You will become happier. As you improve your mood, you can enhance your relationships with other people especially with your loved ones.
  2. You will become more accepting with your own and other people’s flaws, thus making you less judgmental.
  3. You will become more tolerant and respectful of others even those with varying beliefs and principles as yours.
  4. You become more compassionate, sympathetic and forgiving.
  5. You begin to feel more peaceful and serene; difficulties will become more manageable and controllable.

Conclusion

Empowering yourself with the knowledge of Islamic Psychology will give you more opportunities for introspection and understanding your own emotions which in turn will produce heart warming and satisfying relationships. Learning Psychology in the light of Qur’an helps you improve your life in general. Islamic Psychology must be encouraged in Islam and the work of a therapist or counsellor must be appreciated and seen as very beneficial to the whole Muslim society.

 

Where there is a will…He makes a way

Where there is a will…He makes a way

#combatdepression

Gentle soul

Strolling down life’s veins

Searching for peace … tranquility

As a river flowing through seamlessly

Often concealing aches and pains

Hoping for relief… respite… succour

Gentle soul

Stumbled and fell so many times

Yet, back on your feet defiantly

Sanitizing the wounds silently

Expunging traces… stains… lines

Ofttimes unsighted by tears… downpour

Gentle soul

Never lose hope!

He the Majestic, Creator of all souls

Has put remedies amongst His creation

By His Mercy, Grace and Compassion

Help is at hand … reach out to Sakoon

by Nassira Merahi

Muslims can never be Depressed

Muslims can never be Depressed

Islam and depressionMuslims Can Never be Depressed   #combatdepression

Have you ever heard the sheikh or khateeb tell you, “We are Muslims.  We have Islam.  We have Allah.  How can we ever get depressed?  Only people who are far away from Allah can ever get depressed.” 

Chances are, if you are like me, this type of “reminder” might depress you even further.

Why are you depressed?

I remember a sheikh at our local masjid giving a talk, commenting about peace and tranquillity, and then mentioning, “Wallahi, there is no need for psychiatric institutes and psychological clinics.  How, when we have the book of Allah?” 

The director of my university in Medinah mentioned that the key to happiness is tawhid.  And he left it at that and I found this generally to be the case when we speak about these issues to some Imams and Sheikhs.

Well, it’s obvious that these people are extremely content with Islam as their religion, and that’s why they feel strongly about what they are saying.  But does that rule out the fact that Muslims cannot get depressed?  What’s going on here exactly?

Well I must tell you, that I have dealt with all the most severe mental disorders since I became a practicing Muslim.  The most severe OCD, waswaawis, scrupulosity, and most recently, the most severe depression I have ever experienced in my life.  And yes, I am a practicing Muslim, memorized Quran, going to the masjid for the prayers and pray five times day. I make dua, I say astaghfirullah (asking forgiveness from Allah) etc.  What is the source of my depression?  My relationship with the Quran, and not being able to connect to it in a healthy way.

What’s that?  The Quran is the source of my depression?  Well not really.  It’s not the Quran.  It’s not Islam.  It’s the baggage that I brought along with me into Islam that became exasperated through the religion.

People who are at higher risk for developing depression are those who have self esteem problems, being pessimistic, traumatic or stressful events, history of mental health disorders such as anxiety or post traumatic stress, medications such as sleeping pills or high blood pressure medications.

Depression is more than just being simply unhappy or fed up, it’s a real illness and real symptoms as well as physical symptoms. Let me tell you I feel alone, broken, empty inside, no motivation and tired.

It may be difficult to explain in a short article such as this one, but what happens is a person who has become depressed has fallen into complete despair over their soul for an extended period of time.  Whenever that happens, and they have given up on their own soul after ignoring it for a long enough period of time, they do things that push it away further, to push away the pain they may have experienced initially.  It is a common thing with people who suffer from PTSD.

People used to say to me get over it, read more Quran and I’m in a place where you don’t get much support which made me even more depressed. I eventually found Sakoon counselling services who offered sessions via Skype, It was like a relief that there were Muslims who understood what I was going through and helped. Depression is not sadness.  Spiritually, depression is a loss of vitality, an emotional death of the soul and spirit of a person, to where they become purposeless because of suppressing and despairing over their true selves.  Sadness and grief, if not dealt with for a long enough time, and not channelled in a healthy way can also lead to depression.

Physiologically, the nervous system of a person has become stressed for such a long period of time, that it becomes overstimulated, which causes the systems of stress and anxiety to start occurring.  Because the amygdala, which is emotional center of the brain is part of the nervous system, this too starts behaving erratically, thereby causing the symptoms of anxiety and stress which causes people to become further worried and continue the cycle.

Do I have any basis for what I’m saying here? 

Well, for starters, my personal experience in dealing with these issues for many years.  And secondly, there is an entire chapter in the Quran that is dedicated to dealing with self esteem issues and emotional issues.  There are healthy ways to deal with the emotions and unhealthy ways, which lead to depression, and other psychological disorders.

The article started by stating Muslims can never get depressed but it is the opposite, Muslims can get depressed and it has no association with your level of faith. What I can tell you that Muslims do suffer worse because there are more dynamics to consider which isn’t covered in mainstream counselling.  That’s why it’s important to work with a counsellor that understands your faith as well as applying Islamic counselling in the therapeutic process. #combatdepression

By Amir Yusuf edited by Ayesha Aslam

References: Surah Yusuf, Quran www.anxietycentre.com www.educatedanxiety.com www.helmyptsd.com Andrew Solomon, Depression, the Secret We Share. -Ted Talk