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Diploma in Islamic Psychology

Dr Abdallah Rothman introduces the Diploma in Islamic Psychology - training course for mental health practitioners run by the Cambridge Muslim College
An approach to mental health that is grounded in Islamic beliefs and practices and metaphysics can speak more directly to the worldview of Muslim clients. It can help utilise the resources within the tradition and provide access to more people who may be otherwise apprehensive to avail themselves of the more widely available secular services.
However, currently there are not enough trained practitioners in this type of approach, and Islamic psychology and psychotherapy as a contemporary field is still in early stages of development, as has been mentioned before in this course, there’s a risk in referring clients to such practitioners where available due to the lack of professional training, evidence base and professional standards that are available in the secular domain. Thankfully, efforts are underway to develop the field to provide avenues for practitioners to get training in both theory and practice, and to be held accountable to professional standards with supervision and quality control.
At Cambridge Muslim College here in Cambridge, England, we have designed an intensive training program for practitioners to get a grounding in the theology, epistemology, ontology and metaphysics of how human nature and thus psychology is understood from an Islamic paradigm or worldview. The Diploma in Islamic Psychology gives students a grounding in the foundations of an Islamic understanding of psychology and how that gets translated into applications in Islamic psychotherapy. They learn about early Muslim scholars from over a thousand years ago who wrote extensively about what we know now as psychology, the study of the soul.
And they learn how the approach is a holistic one which conceptualises the human being as mind, body, soul and spirit, where physical health is not necessarily seen as separate from psycho spiritual health and what we know as mental health. So the approach is to address the person as an integral whole, where the unseen aspects of the soul are incorporated into diagnosis and treatment alongside the seen and measurable aspects of behaviour and biology. Because of this holistic approach to health and well-being, the students of the Diploma in Islamic Psychology come from a variety of different backgrounds in the helping professions.
We have a cohort of 30 students made up of counsellors, psychotherapists, psychiatrists, chaplains, pastoral care workers, naturopathic doctors, GP’s, somatic therapists and coaches. And this broadens the scope of what we currently refer to as mental health and allows for the bio Psycho social and spiritual wellbeing approach to be incorporated into various avenues of support. Thus, increasing the potential entry point where potential clients can access the services. The diversity of practitioners who are positioned to take an Islamic approach in their works speaks to the broader application and relevance of this holistic model, but also to the popularity, enthusiasm and recognition of the great need for a spiritually integrated approach to support Muslims across the world.
Not only are our students diverse in their professional background, we have over 18 different nationalities represented with students from nearly every continent, positioned to make a big impact in the global landscape of Muslim mental health. This is a fast growing field that is gaining enormous popularity and attention and stands to quickly become a full-fledged legitimate field. The students who complete the nine month academic program online are then eligible to participate in an in-person summer intensive practical training course here at Cambridge Muslim College.
Upon completion of the practical training and after a period of supervision, practitioners are then able to pursue certification with the International Association of Islamic Psychology, which was established by the late Professor Malik Badri, God have mercy on him, who is considered the father of modern Islamic psychology. The association was established to set standards of theory and practice for the field, to ensure that quality control and integrity to both the Islamic tradition and professional standards of practice. This is a relatively new but major development and stands to provide a pathway toward further development and establishing of the field.
This, in turn, will result in a greater number of trained practitioners to meet the great and growing need of supporting Muslim mental health in a way that honours clients beliefs and worldview and utilizes the resources within the Islamic tradition to support the health and well-being of the Muslim community.

In this step, Dr Abdallah Rothman introduces the Diploma in Islamic Psychology, a training course for mental health practitioners run by the Cambridge Muslim College of which Dr Rothman is Principal.

Islamic Psychology and Psychotherapy are relatively new fields of practice and research. As such, there are limited opportunities for practitioners to access professional training courses on Islamic Psychology that are based on a robust evidence-base and a clear set of professional standards. The Diploma in Islamic Psychology contributes to the field of Muslim mental health by creating a pool of trained practitioners who can support the mental health of Muslims in ways that honour their beliefs and worldviews and makes use of familiar religious practices in their therapeutic approach.

The online Diploma in Islamic Psychology is a nine-month programme that teaches students about how human nature (psychology) is understood in Islamic theology, and from the Muslim worldview. Students learn how this knowledge can be translated into psychotherapy whilst maintaining high professional standards. Dr Rothman describes Islamic Psychology as a holistic bio-psycho-socio-spiritual, approach to mental health and wellbeing. After completing the course, students can train to become certified practitioners of the International Association of Islamic Psychology.

Students on the course come from a range of health and social care backgrounds (including psychotherapists, psychiatrists, and chaplains), and from countries all around the world. Dr Rothman suggests that the range of students who undertake the Diploma speaks to the growing popularity and enthusiasm for a spiritually integrated approach to Muslim mental health.


The Diploma in Islamic Psychology.

The International Association of Islamic Psychology.

The charity ‘Inspirited Minds’ also run regular informative public webinars on Islamic approaches to mental health, as well as providing training. Take a look at their website for information on upcoming events and the services they offer.

Over to you

If you could ask Dr Rothman a question about the Diploma in Islamic Psychology, what would it be?

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Understanding Mental Health in Muslim Communities

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