Mental Health Issues of Muslim Americans
The concept of the “psychic unity of mankind” (Boas, 1911) has helped us to apply psychiatric theories, research findings, and rehabilitation techniques developed in one cultural setting (the West) to clients immersed in another culture. During the past three decades, however, research findings from cross-cultural psychiatry have demonstrated that individuals’ beliefs regarding health and sickness are deeply rooted in the socio-cultural traditions shared by members of their social network (Segall, Dasen et al., 1990; Uba, 1994; and Triandis, 1994). A proper understanding of these differences is, therefore, crucial for clinical assessment, diagnosis, treatment, and conducting research. To respond to the growing needs of psychiatric problems encountered by Muslim Americans, many community social service centers have been established in the United States during the past two decades. We now have a growing body of research data suggesting how to tailor our field to the specific needs of this population. We will discuss what kind of emotional and psychiatric problems are most prevalent in Muslim Americans, explain what kind of therapeutic approaches mental health professionals have used, and what treatment strategies have been found effective in the psychosocial rehabilitation of Muslim Americans.
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