As a therapist, I value working with clients of all different backgrounds. In fact, it is one of the best parts of my job as I meet someone and learn something new every day. The philosophy I find most helpful in working with clients is cultural humility. This is defined as the ability to have an accurate perception of our own cultural values as well as maintaining a client-oriented perspective that involves respect, lack of superiority, and attunement . This stance takes away the pressure that “cultural competence” places on us as therapists to know everything (which of course is impossible).
Cultural humility is also a perfect starting point for working with Muslim clients for several reasons. Muslims have been in the news a lot lately. Unfortunately, the coverage is usually negatively skewed, which has influenced perceptions of Muslims in the United States . This may also impact how therapists view Muslim clients who walk into their offices. Given that all of us are affected by implicit bias, it is critical for us to examine our biases, including how Islamophobia impacts the way we treat Muslim clients.
With a culturally humble stance, we as therapists are open to learning more about each Muslim client’s unique experiences as we monitor and challenge our stereotypes.