Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Removing Barriers to Therapy with Muslim-Arab-American Clients
by Smith, Jennifer, Psy.D., Antioch University, 2011, 107; 10817701
Abstract (Summary)

Extensive research has shown that members of ethnic minority groups tend to underutilize mental health care services. In light of both the great amount of trauma that many Muslim Arab Americans have experienced and the amount of discrimination this population has faced especially since September 11, 2001, their relative underutilization of therapeutic services could mean deprivation of the enrichment and aid that mental health care could provide. The assumption underlying this study was that a greater cultural understanding of Muslim Arab Americans' reasons for not choosing psychotherapy could help inform designs for more successful outreach efforts between mental health practitioners and people of Muslim-Arab-American backgrounds. This study elicited the attitudes of a select group of Muslim Arab Americans toward psychotherapy and explored their beliefs as to why members of this group of Americans tend not to use mental health services. Three semi-structured focus groups of Muslim-Arab-American participants provided the data for thematic analyses. Participants' comments during focus group discussions were consistent with the literature reviewed, and included themes of (a) culturally influenced conceptions of mental illness (including biologically based, spiritual/supernatural, and environmental causes); (b) acknowledgement of therapy as a potentially useful practice; (c) views of psychotherapy as unnecessary (and preferences for spiritual healing, help from friends and family, and/or medical advice); (d) views of psychotherapy as an ineffective practice; (e) perceived conflicts between psychotherapy and Islam; (f) adherence to a model of external locus of control; (g) adherence to a model of internal locus of control; (h) fear of stigma and shame; (i) cultural attitudes toward interpersonal openness and secrecy; (j) mistrust of mental health workers (regarding confidentiality, lack of cultural knowledge, biases, and motives); (k) lack of awareness of mental health services; (l) lack of access to mental health services; and (m) suggested solutions. Strengths and limitations of the study, as well as suggestions for further research, are addressed.

Indexing (document details)
Commitee: Belcher-Timme, Barbara, Hawes, Susan, Roysircar-Sodowsky, Gargi
School: Antioch University
Department: Clinical Psychology
School Location: United States -- Ohio
Source: DAI-B 79/08(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Multicultural Education, Clinical psychology
Keywords: Arab, Multicultural psychology, Muslim
Publication Number: 10817701
ISBN: 978-0-355-84297-5
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