Islam and Psychotherapy: Bridging Mental Health Services with Spirituality (Video)
Brother Hooman is the founding director of the Khalil Center, which is the largest provider of mental health for Muslims in the U.S. I have followed Brother Hooman’s work since I was an undergraduate in Psychology attempting to better understand the overlap of Islam, as a spiritual discipline, and Psychology, as a set of principles designed to help individuals with unseen diseases. Specifically, the integration of the two and how the linking of spirituality and psychology could be the missing piece for what each was lacking. Psychology failing to understand the role of the ‘spirit’, and spirituality failing to account for neurological, biological, or societal deficits which may impair one’s spirit from ever flourishing in the first place.
The most interesting part of Hooman’s work is unlocking the wealth of psychological knowledge which exists in the Islamic corpus. From the text of the Qur’an to the work of Al-Ghazzali to Al-Kindi; once we are operating in complete synchronicity between the nafs (ego), aql (mind), qalb (heart) and ruh (spirit), we see our human and spiritual capabilities come into fruition. Although, our western modalities may prop Sigmund Freud as the ‘Father of Psychology’; this western framework has largely ignored the ‘spirit’ and its deep implications in fuller and deeper enrichment. Ironically, we have seen a shift back towards ‘secular’ spiritual interventions with the popularity of mindfulness, with its roots in Ancient Buddhist practices.
One research endeavor that our Mindfulness lab at the University of Houston is trying to accomplish is to converge spirituality and mindfulness for more overall effect on well-being, academic success and lower psycho-pathological symptoms in university students. Our rationale being that individuals already possess spiritual heuristics or frameworks for how they bring meaning and purpose to their lives. One example being Islam with Muslims adhering to complete submission of God to bring humility, peace and compassion into our lives. As the Holy Qur’an so eloquently states:
“Verily, in the remembrance of God, do hearts find rest.”
Whereas traditional psycho-social interventions have completely removed spiritual components, our work will help individuals in a more thorough and complete manner by actualizing the facilities of the mind, spirit and heart (instead of only focusing on reducing psychopathological symptomology) for overall mental health and functioning.
You can find out more about brother Hooman’s work here.