An exploration of Muslims' perceptions and experiences of mental health, illness and treatment services


Verwey, Lucy. (2018) An exploration of Muslims' perceptions and experiences of mental health, illness and treatment services [Thesis]. Australian Catholic University School of Psychology
AuthorsVerwey, Lucy
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy (Psychology)

This research involves an exploration of Muslims’ attitudes, perceptions and experiences of mental health and accessing professional treatment services. It utilised a mixed-methods design consisting of in-depth interviews and a survey. The face-to-face interviews were conducted with practising Muslims in Australia (n = 20), Indonesia (n = 8) and Jordan (n= 6). The online survey was based on the main themes which emerged from the interviews and was completed by Australian Muslim participants (N = 200). Grounded theory was employed as the underlying approach for the qualitative data collection and analysis. The results revealed three main findings. First, that Islam was central to the participants’ lives functioning as a sacred lens and sacred compass. The lens and compass provided a way for them to connect with Islamic beliefs, values and perspectives each day. This was relevant to their mental health, approaches to coping, and perspectives of effective treatment. Second, that the participants adopted distinct help seeking pathways which involved a range of religious and cultural influences. Third, the participants highlighted a need for religiously and culturally appropriate treatment for Muslim clients. In view of providing religiously and culturally appropriate treatment, key areas were identified in order to engage Muslim clients. This consisted of an underpinning knowledge of basic beliefs and practices, understanding relevant religious coping responses, and understanding the role of culture, community and family. The findings highlighted the importance of practitioners building a therapeutic relationship through trust and respect with their Muslim clients. Overall, the findings draw attention to the need for theorists, researchers and clinicians to incorporate religious perspectives of mental health and its treatment, particularly when working with Muslim clients.

PublisherACU Research Bank
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Publication dates
Online02 Jan 2018
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