Article Research

The Number One Reason People in the Middle East Avoid Therapy
In the Middle East, if you imply that you’ve noticed a mental illness symptom, people would shame you, judge you, bully you and label you crazy. Many would not want to hire you, marry you or even be acquainted with you.

In this part of the world, it is acceptable for people to treat their mental illness by inflicting pain on others but not by seeing a therapist. Psychopaths run loose and their assaults go unquestioned while sophisticated people who wish to seek professional help are deemed unreliable, unstable and, above all, insane.

We also have the ‘pious’ folk who have the guts to tell a bipolar or depressed person that the source of their mental illness is lack of faith.

The Stigma

Psychologist Ashley J. Smith, PhD, pointed out that the first barrier which prevents people from getting needed mental health services is the stigma associated with it.

“It is an issue, particularly within some populations,” she said, “The prevailing view that ‘mental illness’ is different from other illnesses or disorders typically viewed as more physical or medical in nature prevents people from seeking help.”

“Many mental illnesses are neurobiological in nature (e.g. anxiety, OCD, depression, ADHD, etc.) and are much more appropriately viewed in a manner similar to high blood pressure or diabetes—chronic medical conditions that require effective pharmacological and behavioral/lifestyle interventions.”

People who refrain from seeking professional help are usually afraid that if they admit being mentally ill, they will not be fully accepted into society, according to behavioral expert and family counselor, Michael Herbert.

He believes the case is similar to the denial and shame connected to addiction.

“I worked in Egypt and with many people from the Middle East, and the number one reason they came to me was because I’m a foreigner, which made them feel less judged,” he said.

Psychologist Marsha D. Brown, PhD, explained that “in some communities and/or cultures, mental illness is not something that is discussed outside the family, let alone with an outsider, such as a mental health professional.”

“Additionally, in some cultures, symptoms of mental illness may be perceived as an indication that a person needs to pray more or increase church attendance. It may also be seen as a sign that a spell has been cast or that the devil is trying to influence the affected individual.”

Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends
  • “General Therapy” Article
A Book Review
Michael White and David Epston published a book, in 1990, titled Narrative Means to Therapeutic Ends. This book is a culmination of the therapeutic work of each of these authors, though much of it was constructed independently (White & Epston, 1990).  Narrative Therapy is considered one of the major models of Marriage and Family Therapy.

Suicide Hotline in Kuwait

Suicide Hotline in Kuwait


Child Protection Hotline

Child Protection Hotline

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(Focusing particularly on "CHILD ABUSE")
Inquiry into the Handling of Child Abuse by Religious & other Organizations
Submission by the Islamic Council of Victoria 15th April 2013.(Link Above)
What does Islam say about parents abusing their children, or about bad parenting in general?
Quora: Answer by, 

Javed Aslam, 25 years of group study of Qur'an with in depth discussion

While religion might be, and sometimes is, the apparent reason for the mistreatment of a child by the parent(s), the real reasons usually lie elsewhere.

These include, the parent(s) having been mistreated by their own parents, lack of education, inability to control one’s anger, financial difficulties, marital difficulties, addictions, alcoholism, job insecurities, among others.

When religion is the apparent issue, whether it is Islam, Chritianity, or any other religion, the root cause is not because the religion taught or encouraged such mistreatment of one’s children but generally because of “crooked” misinterpretation of the texts and the teachings, either by the parent(s) or, more commonly, by the religious teachers in the community or sect.

Bringing up children has never been easy, and the parents as a rule have zero education in this. Often, the only guidance they have to go by is their own treatment when they were children.

The religious fervor, perceived or otherwise, is often a motivation in many cases, but I would argue that the fervor itself is often not based on the teachings of the religion but a self-concocted desire to make the child more “moral” than the parent’s own assessment of self. Is that something the religion teaches? Likely not.

Coming back to the teachings of Islam, the parents are made responsible to teach goodness to their children, but to do it with example, kindness, love and tenderness. Is this what happens in “religious” Muslim families? Sadly, sometimes it does not? All the factors outlined above play a role in Muslim families as they do in other religions.


What is Middle Eastern culture? Maybe you think of the Golden Age of Islamic civilization, or of hummus and falafel, but, in fact, there is a great diversity of the cultural production of the Middle East today. Of course, there still practitioners of the classical arts like calligraphy, ebru – Turkish paper marbling, miniature painting, Quranic recitation and singing of both Sufi and folk songs, shadow puppetry, tentmaking, zilij tilework, folk dance, and many more.  Many of these arts have experienced revivals under the patronage of the various states in order to maintain them as living traditions.

At the same time, artists in and from the Middle East, whether they work in music, the visual arts, film, dance, or other media, also produce works using the international vocabulary of contemporary art. Some may fuse elements of the traditional with these contemporary works while others express themselves wholly within a modern context. Classical or contemporary, there is much to learn and appreciate from cultural practices and traditions.

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