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Supporting Muslims who experience addiction: Muslim practitioner perspective

Suhayl explains his approach to supporting people living with addiction
Because some people don’t really understand addiction, because very early on, when we see clients, they very much in a crisis point. And at that time they just need to be listened. They just need to be to feel connected to somebody. So depending on where they are on their spiritual journey in the 18 that’s how I talk to them, you know, so somebody who, you know, who’s got an issue with alcohol and it’s a client and they they they they don’t talk about therapy and all they talk about is a llanos. And he’s put me in this situation so I kind of roll with that, you know, because that’s a comfort for the individual.
For me, the individual, you know, is getting that therapy by talking about it. And and it’s I think that issue with and maybe and to be addressing the question is that sometimes you know is very clinical what we do. So in 12 sessions six sessions you must have you’re going And I try and make it very conversational you know and make it very real normal for them and be depending again where they are on the journey. You know I talk to them because sometimes they can be judged. When you talk about religion, you know they can make leaks and it is because of my lack of faith that I am in this scenario or situation.
But no, it could be because of trauma abuse. It could be because of neglect. When you were young, you know, it could be a host of reasons. And and I think just playing it down to simplifying it to see that we just need you to do your prayers or you’re not really attached to the mosque. You know, it’s oversimplifying of. No, it’s yeah, oversimplifying. Initially, we do what we call our extended brief intervention, which is a 1520 minute depending on your client, a conversation about what they’re experiencing about the gambling behavior.
And within that the two sessions that we do and it’s after that two sessions that we decide or the client decides that they want to continue with the support and within those two sessions we do an assessment, the pull ten assessment and the PG site is called a problem gambling severity kind of assessment. And based on the scores, we make a referral into Tier three. So then that’s the 12 sessions that they would receive is after those two initial sessions with myself. Some clients like to continue and they don’t like it to be prescriptive, but as and when they want so as and when they feel they need the support.
But I think a structured support is quite good and in those 12 sessions it’s a one hour session or 50 minute session that we do. And yet at the end of it throughout the 12 sessions we look at their scores. So they’re going down, you know is their mental health improving their anxiety, suicidal ideation and is their support network still the same as it was in the first session? So that informs Future Session. So next time we talk about developing that support network or coping strategies. So it’s very much structured in that way.

In this video, Suhayl explains his approach to supporting people living with addiction. People often only reach out to support services when they are at crisis point so can be distressed when they first meet their support provider.

Suhayl evaluates where Muslims living with addiction are on their ‘spiritual journey’ in relation to their level of religious practices and the beliefs they hold, before incorporating religiosity into the support he provides (as explained in the previous video). Attributing mental health problems to spiritual problems alone is likely to be an over-simplification of its causes – biological, psychological and social causes remain important.

Suhayl refers to two assessment tools, CORE-10 and PGSI, you can find out more about these tools below. The sessions are then structured based on the results from these assessments. Following this, service-users participate in twelve sessions with a gambling harms support worker. The assessments are repeated regularly to evaluate changes over time and to structure the support session to the individual’s needs.

Screening Tools for Gambling Addiction

1. The CORE-10 Assessment

CORE stands for “Clinical Outcomes in Routine Evaluation” and the CORE system comprises tools and thinking to support monitoring of change and outcomes in routine practice in psychotherapy, counselling and any other work attempting to promote psychological recovery, health and wellbeing. The CORE outcome measure (CORE-10) is a sessional monitoring tool with items covering anxiety, depression, trauma, physical problems, functioning and risk to self.

CORE Measurement Tools (CORE-10), a project of the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families.

2. Problem Gambling Severity Index (PGSI)

The PGSI is a screening tool that has been developed for use among the general public. It consists of nine items to assess the risk of experiencing gambling-related harm (Gambling Commission 2021).

Gambling Commission. 2021. Problem gambling screens. The Gambling Commission.

Over to you

What tools or questions would you use to evaluate a person’s religiosity, or as Suhyal puts it – where they are on their spiritual journey?

Please share your response below.

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