An Analysis of 100 Muslim Email Counseling Clients

An Analysis of 100 Muslim Email Counseling Clients

Sheima Salam Sumer (, USA)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-0018-7.ch012
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This chapter analyzes 100 of the author's Muslim clients to learn about their most common problems, demographic information, number of emails typically exchanged, and number of resolved and unresolved cases. The most common problems were marital, family (non-marital) issues, depression symptoms, and anxiety symptoms. Eighty-four percent of clients were women and 16% were men. Most clients were from either the Indian subcontinent or North America and were in their twenties. The average number of email exchanges (a single client's email and the author's therapeutic response) was six. Of the 100 clients, 36 cases were resolved, 57 cases were unresolved, and 7 cases are ongoing. The main type of marital problem faced was infidelity (physical and non-physical). Islam-informed cognitive behavioral techniques, as well as relevant Islamic teachings to use in therapy, are recommended and explained. An overall finding is that global Muslim clients seek online counseling for mostly relationship problems.
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This chapter presents the author’s findings from analyzing emails from 100 Muslim clients. It answers the questions below, but the overall purpose of this analysis is to better understand the daily struggles of Muslims around the world.

  • 1.

    What issues/problems are most common?

  • 2.

    What demographic groups utilize this service the most?

  • 3.

    How many emails are generally exchanged?

  • 4.

    What methods of counseling seem most helpful?

According to the author’s literature review, email counseling for Muslims is a new field of study with little to no research. Research on the field of email counseling in general is lacking (Baker & Ray, 2011).

Clients learned about this free email counseling service from the author’s website, Clients simply emailed the author to begin counseling. For over 4 years the author has provided this service, receiving thousands of emails from hundreds of Muslims around the globe.

Email counseling entails therapeutic email correspondence between the author and each client. The author mainly uses cognitive behavioral theory. Techniques include teaching cognitive behavioral tenets as well as building clients’ self-awareness of thoughts and feelings. The author also gives religious recommendations such as Islamic coping strategies and videos/articles. The author employs aspects of person-centered theory as well, especially empathic communication and reflection of feeling.

The author studied the last 100 email clients who had emailed her over the past five months before beginning to write this chapter. The objectives of this chapter are to discuss online counseling in general and in the Muslim world, to present the results of analyzing 100 Muslim email counseling clients, to suggest solutions and recommendations, and to discuss future research directions.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Dua: Talking to God and asking of Him.

Shaytan: Arabic word for Satan.

Waswasa: Whispers of Satan.

Istikhara: A special prayer done when needing God’s guidance about a decision.

Khula: Divorce initiated by the wife involving the return of the husband’s wedding gift.

Adhkar/Dhikr: Any word/phrase of remembrance of God, such as “God forgive me” or “Praise be to God.”

Hadith: Saying of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Imaan: Faith in God and in Islam.

Haraam: Not allowed in Islam.

Sabr: Arabic word for patience.

Tahajjud: A highly spiritual extra prayer done in the middle of the night, any time after the last required prayer and before the first prayer of the next day.

Qadr: The belief in destiny.

Shukr: Arabic word for gratitude.

Pbuh: Abbreviation for “peace be upon him” which Muslims say after the Prophet Muhammad’s name out of respect.

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