Journal of Integrative Psychology and Therapeutics

Journal of Integrative Psychology and

ISSN 2054-4723
Original Research

Muslims and depression: the role of religious beliefs in therapy

Shaista Meer* and Ghazala Mir

*Correspondence: Shaista Meer

Author Affiliations

Academic Unit of Psychiatry and Behavioural Sciences, Leeds Institute of Health Sciences, University of Leeds, United Kingdom.


Background: Policy and practice guidelines in the UK and elsewhere promote the use of culturally appropriate treatment for clients from minority groups. The literature demonstrates religious coping can be effective in reducing levels of depression and that people from Muslim backgrounds are likely to use religious coping techniques.

Methods: This study explored the possibility of adapting an existing therapy to meet the needs of Muslims with depression. Behavioural Activation (BA) was selected as an appropriate approach based on its focus on behaviour linked to values. To investigate which adaptations were needed, interviews were carried out with practitioners (n=26) and Muslim service users (n=4). Data was organised into themes adapted from a previous cultural adaptation of BA. Three advisory groups were consulted on the content of the thematic framework.

Results: The findings supported the incorporation of religious teachings within psychological therapies and highlighted the importance of therapists creating space to discuss religion with clients who wish to. Therapists recognised religion could be a useful resource, however, often felt ill equipped to engage with a religious framework within therapy.

Conclusions: Practitioners, including those from Muslim backgrounds, require training and guidance regarding attention to religious beliefs within therapy. Practitioners need to be prepared to develop their knowledge of religious beliefs and cultural issues that may arise for clients from the communities with which they work.

Keywords: Depression, islam, religion, therapy, psychology, adaptation psychological

ISSN 2054-4723
Volume 2
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