Toward multicultural counseling: The inclusion of American Muslims

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Robert C. Bogdan


Multicultural counseling, Inclusion, Muslims, Counseling

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Education | Religion | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Student Counseling and Personnel Services


This dissertation articulates the values and needs of Muslims in relation to the counseling and therapy professions. It also illustrates the Islamic world-view, elements of unity as well as elements of diversity among Muslims of the world in general and in the United States in particular. Furthermore, it describes how Islam is woven into its various hosting cultures in invisible ways.

It examines how Muslims perceive counseling and therapy, whether they would seek counseling when they face problems, and what are the issues for which they seek counseling. This research project reviews studies and literature related to American Muslims in counseling and incorporates them with the data.

This study uses qualitative research methods: predominantly in-depth unstructured interviews with Muslim clients in conjunction with analysis of document that are related to the subjects' experiences in counseling.

Attempts to understand and conceptualize the meanings and concerns of the participating individuals are based on the symbolic interaction approach.

From the data as well as from literature, both the religious as well as the cultural foundations of Muslims' attitudes and perceptions towards counseling are outlined. In addition to participants, the experience of two Muslim teenage girls and their family with a school counselor is used to demonstrate cultural biases in testing, diagnosis, and consequently in treatment.

Counselors' experiences with Muslim clients and their evaluations of existing educational, training programs and working settings are included. Furthermore, counselors' suggestions to improve professionals' multicultural competencies and settings with respect to their Muslim clients are also provided.

The implications of information presented for counseling is provided at the end of various segments as well as at the end of each chapter. This information is aimed at helping counselors understand and deal with their Muslim clients.

In the conclusion, suggestions and recommendations for clients, professionals, service providing and educational institutions are provided. It is hoped that such recommendations will help in maximizing the effectiveness of counseling and draw the attention to necessary changes in institutional services as well as in educational programs.


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