Mental Health, Islamic Psychology, Women in Islam and more

Rania Awaad

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Channel: Rania Awaad

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What did you find the most interesting among the cases you encountered?

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Everything is dark and bleak and difficult. She would spend all the hours of the day kind of stuck in one room. And she was so upset because she loves her children, as a mother, different people for different tests in life. Also, many people might think that okay, I have this bad childhood traumatic childhood, so I cannot be a normal person. Is there hope

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that these words make them feel more guilty. In my clinic, I have both muscles and lungs. And sometimes people who are not Muslim, but they have a connection to God. When you look at Western psychology today, it's missing. They say psychology has lost its soul. Islamic psychology is wonderful solutions for the principles of Islamic psychology are for the human fitrah. So many people learned Islam, there is no goat, there is no God, but a lot.

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And one of the best experiences the person say and hunted enough, she said, Dr. Laura, what do you say when something bad happens? Who do we have other than Allah to help us through

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and handed in handed hammer the hammer, we have belief in Allah so we should be free from anxiety and depression. If a Muslim suffers from these, does that mean that they have weak faith?

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You're missing something.

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So that we can look to run our word. Welcome to eternal passenger YouTube channel. We are really happy to have you with us. I want to start with who is running out. And can you tell us briefly about your life, while they can cinema Rahmatullah, but I got to thank you so much for having me on this channel, my professional credentials. I'm a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the Stanford University School of Medicine. There I direct to the Muslim mental health and Islamic psychology lab. And I also direct a couple of other clinics within the Stanford psychiatry side. And currently continue to do two important things I think, in the community to porn organizations that

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I'm affiliated with. One is letter from a foundation, which I direct it's an organization for women and girls, teaching Islam. Why do psychologists focus on childhood so much?

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There's a concept in the mental health field of something called the long arm of childhood, as in to say there is roots to so much of what happens as adults, it's happening with us right now, that has roots in childhood. Were there any difficulties? They're trying to basically paint a background picture of what was the situation like? Was there some trauma? Was there safety? Was there happiness was there a lot of sadness what was happening in the background, although it's not 100% going to determine everything that comes next. That does help kind of understand a little bit about what's happening for the person. Salaam Alaikum. Brothers and sisters, we saw that 80% of our audience,

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including this video are not subscribed to our channel. As you know, we are a nonprofit organization, and advertisements are disabled on our videos. So the only reason we are asking for this is to suppress the truth. It may seem like a small act, but inshallah it may be a noose of guidance for many people. Now let's click the subscribe button and let's walk as an eternal passenger.

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Often, many people might think that okay, I have this bad childhood traumatic childhood. So I cannot be a normal person, normal operating person in terms of psychology, is there hope. So there's absolutely hope for right now, as in to say, regardless of what happened in childhood, yes, those things may have a bearing. And we're not going to go back and erase history, it is part of your story. But I love this concept of you also have the ability to write the next chapters of your book of your life, as a person shouldn't sit there and say poor me, poor me, look what happened to me. And one of the best experiences I've ever learned on this is some of the work I've been very honored

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to do with refugees. In a refugee mental health is a very difficult subtype of mental health that we work on. And subhanAllah, I told you how I studied in Syria. And so I felt very compelled after the war in Syria to help as many as much as I could back to this country that gave me so much. I'm not Syrian, but I wanted to help as much as I could. So I traveled many trips to Jordan, where there are many, many Syrian refugees, of course, in doing psychiatric evaluations and work with them, I would hear very difficult stories. I mean, in our field, you hear some very heavy things. And I thought I had heard everything that Subhanallah heavy, heavy stories. And one thing I noticed it really caught

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my attention. Every time I would hear this riff something heavy, I would hear right after it the person say and Hampton enough, then say something else really, really heavy and Hampton enough. I mean, it's so much they actually stopped one lady and I said to her, every time you're saying some heavy things, and then you say it hamdulillah and then she just looked at me and she said Dr. Laura,

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what are you saying when something bad happens? Who do we have other than Allah to help us through and handle

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didn't know. And I thought, truly, you could have some very difficult things happen in your life, depending on how you frame them, and how you process them, and inshallah by the SOFIA club, Allah, how you're healed through them, you can come out the other end, yes, you have a history. That's why I can't erase the history, it's there a difficult one. But you can have a very fulfilling life from this point onwards. This is very important. And sometimes the person can do this alone and with their family, and support and spirituality. And sometimes you need extra help. And there's nothing shameful about this, to be able to get to a point to write the next chapters. Well, if there's

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someone that is close to us, that have a psychological problem, what are the three things we must do and we mustn't do? So number one, don't always think you can solve everything yourself. Number two, get the help for yourself, right. And number three, make sure that you know who you're getting the help from? This is very important to what are the three mental health conditions that people of the modern age suffer from the most? And what does Islamic psychology offer as a solution? One that I don't know that we necessarily expected, but it makes sense, actually, is family therapy. I don't think it's unique to the Muslim community. But I do think that it's in the modern world, it's

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definitely something that's heavily needed. Now, Islamic psychology is a wonderful solutions for this because so much of it is focusing on sn on excellence. Remembering that what you're doing with interacting with another person isn't between you and them. It's not a linear line. It's actually more like our spiritual teacher say, a triangle, these interactions. When you kind of reframe it, we talk about in our field, cognitively reframing, but also spiritually reframing it human interactions. It's incredibly healing.

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Can you compare modern psychological therapies, secular psychological therapies, and Islam's approach to psychology? What Islamic psychology offer to the issues that modern psychology cannot solve? In this entire journey? What I've come to learn and discover and I've been writing about shows the importance of Islamic psychology. The reason it's important is because when you look at Western psychology today, it's missing elements, you have a very strong emphasis on biology, on neuroscience, on being able to understand even kind of genetic background, you're missing the human kind of emotional element that's also connected spiritually. And as humans were made of all of these

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aspects, mind, body and soul. Today, the mind is well studied. Maybe even the mind body connection is becoming more popular and well studied in the field. But the soul is completely missing. They say psychology has lost its soul. And I agree, and I think this is where Islamic psychology comes in, it brings the neffs and the ruler, right, the self and the soul back into the study study of psychology. Also explain why a person may be depressed, or may sometimes not be doing so well in life. And you have to take them together, all together. And this is the Islamic tradition, they brought all of the aspects together. In Memphis, it had a wonderful model where he explained the

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human psyche as the club, metaphysical hearts being at the center, connected to it would be your emotions, your SS, your ALC, or cognition, yodel the soul, the neffs, the sense of self, all of these things together are interconnected. If you don't treat all of them together, you're only treating one side. So it's lopsided or skewed. This is to me Western psychology, where Islamic psychology brings all of it together. So what techniques that Islamic psychology used in the past that nowadays, psychologists should also use, maybe it should benefit from? Yes, this is what we're calling the revival movement of Islamic psychology. It's not new, it's actually something we're

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reviving. And we're wanting to bridge modern, clinical understanding from today's scientific understanding of today. What elements should we use this is what's been my trip this entire time, these last couple of weeks, we've been going around the entire country of Turkey, rarely to visit the daughter, she founds the Be modest stance, basically, the healing centers, the hospitals of the Muslims, there's a sense of relief that the soul gets in these beautiful spaces, sound so they use a lot of sound therapy, whether this be with water, or the fountains or the nature sounds or other forms of medicinal forms of music therapy, for example. They also integrated you know, the concept

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of aromatherapy and the smell, the color therapy, even colors that were chosen were very important. And just a sense of healing that's holistic all the way through, in addition to the medications, in addition to the therapy, the talk therapy that was happening, so these things were part of the original treatment modality as well. And this is the research papers and the book that we're writing at the moment, explaining all of this, in addition to the aspects that are currently missing in holistic healing, and so in addition to this entire team I'm referring to they also had the person who was considered to be giving space

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ritual advice, reminders of Allah subhanaw taala, this person who could travel with the doctor's team, so that as they visited every patient, the doctor would give what they need, the pharmacist will give the medication, but the person giving the walls would also give religious reminders. Very important. Have you ever had a non Muslim client to whom you applied Islamic psychological therapy? And they benefited from this? Yes, yes. And interestingly enough, I have to share with you, I wasn't sure about this until I learned from one of our mentors, elders of the field is Professor Rashid Skinner from the UK. One day I asked him, Have you ever worked with Islamic psychology principles

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with non Muslims. And he said, my entire career has been applying Islamic psychology principles with Donaldsons. And he says something very important, he said, the principles of Islamic psychology are for the human fitrah. The any they speak to every in any human, right, the soul, the self, the heart, the cognition. And so when you apply these principles to any human being, they should work. He says, make sure you ask permission, and maybe the words may not be the exact same Islamic words, you're gonna have to translate what you're doing. But I have done this, because in my clinic, I have both Muslims and non Muslims. And sometimes I'll say, Would it be okay, if I share with you

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something from my Islamic tradition? And if my patient says, Yes, I go on and explain the concept. Sometimes they are people who are also God centered people, maybe a different faith, but they have this concept of God. And so I'll say like to liquid reliance on God, and they get it. They say, Oh, this makes sense. Right, but the word might be different, or the concept may be slightly different.

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So the general idea among Muslims is that we have belief in Allah, so we should be free from anxiety and depression. If a Muslim suffers from these, does that mean that they have a weak faith? Absolutely not SubhanAllah. And also, when people think about mental health, they're thinking about things like depression, or trauma, anxiety. And often we hear so so often that this is correlated with emotion, that if a person had strong emotion, they wouldn't become depressed, or if they had strong human, they won't get anxious. The reality is you can have both. And by proof for this is actually directly from the Quran, and from the seat of the Prophet sallallahu alayhi wasallam. If

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you look, for example, I always remind us that we all know this, but sometimes we forget to make the connection of the Prophet himself. sallallahu alayhi wa sallam is the best of all of creation played a good color. In addition, he also had a year of sadness, and Hosen. And when you think about the best of people are the prophets. So how about us regular humans, of course, we can have sadness but have immense telecall or reliance on Allah subhanaw taala as well, these both can coexist at the same time. Do you think having no belief is a source of spiritual problems? If so, what about non believers whose lives are going well, in terms of mental health? It's a good interesting question.

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Certainly. And this is something a lot of talks about in the Quran, he talks quite a bit about that he has given different people different tests in life. And sometimes your blessings, things that seem to be going good for you can actually be a test as well. So when people look at other people, and they judge happiness, it's really a fault in how we define what is happiness. In our Islamic concept. It's the concept of fella, even in our event, right? Allah subhanaw taala calls us to find out he calls us to success, but what kind of success? It's a success that's here in the dunya and an athlete or both. So if you only have one, you're missing something very important.

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What are the major traps that a person is struggling with psychological problems fall into Allah doesn't love me and what should be done? And how should they think and act to avoid them? I think these traps upon a library common psychological traps. In our field today, we would have a term where we call core beliefs, negative core beliefs, where the person might feel like the world is unsafe, everything and everybody is not safe around me. I don't trust anything or anybody or the world is unkind you know, people, and even our the biller, Allah subhanaw taala, they might see him as very vengeful and wrathful. Not with the names of Gemma and always the names of Jalon. Right?

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This is an interesting way. And so we get down to the bottom of what are the core beliefs a person has the negative ones, and also try to reframe them. And there's a whole series of exercises we do in cognitive behavioral therapy related to this core beliefs. So you might call them psychological traps are the core beliefs. And here too, I see very importance of spirituality or bringing the deen religion into the story. Because if you can balance for example, all of Allah subhanaw taala as names, right. I teach people the Hadith if they want Islamic psychology and they want this in the therapy and they say bring in Islam I say Okay, so now we bring in specific concepts, like this

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hadith, where Allah subhanaw taala is teaching us that he is as we see him to be I

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And I think that's very important. You can even take the 99 names of Allah subhanaw taala. And see the difference between the Jamal the beautiful names, the merciful and compassionate and loving names, and also the ones of July that are kind of like you're really making sure to understand the greatness and Majesty of Allah subhanaw taala. When you balance all of these together, you end up with a much better, balanced approach who will last? So many people learned Islam in a halal haram fashion. While they're learning their Islam in a very harsh haram haram haram, you're gonna go to hell. And very little on the love of Allah subhanaw taala. So what are the things that you shouldn't

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be doing? For example, there are some cases that you just worry too much. Just take it easy, because they're, they're depressed, and they have anxiety. But these words, make them feel more guilty, more weak. What would you like to say if a person is in that situation and have a family member or a loved one, what sentences we should be using or what attitudes we shouldn't be having. I want to share a patient's story. One time I had a patient come and she said she came to me after having seen many, many, many other doctors, including people who wanted to kind of bring Islam into the picture. So I thought, Okay, this is good. When I sat with her and understood her story and took all of her

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medical history. I personally diagnosed her with obsessive compulsive disorder, or OCD. And I felt that even though she wasn't doing a lot of physical things, you think about like hand washing and praying again and again or other things. For her. It was much more cognitive obsessions, and compulsions, which is not easy to figure out, it's hard to find. In this process, I learned that the other people before her, her family, and others, were giving her advice of saying, just throw the banana, Shetland rajim, and push it up.

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I understand where they're coming from, you're actually meant to expose yourself to the very things the very thoughts that are bothering you, gradually, and with help of a professional to do it slowly but surely. And she was so upset because she loves her children as a mother. But these thoughts were so powerful in her head, we have two things that people do either they ritualized, they form a ritual around it, which is pushed as part of the disorder, or they actually try to push it away. So then we bring it together, slowly, but surely exposure therapy to the very things that are upsetting her, until eventually they fall away. By the end of the therapy, masha Allah, she was fully

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functional again, in this case, she was able to not just be in her house, again, as a mother, prepare the meals, do things that she does at the home, but she actually was able to get out of the house and actually go to the university get a master's degree, become very, you know, active in the society again, whereas before she would spend all the hours of the day kind of stuck in one room. So it's a drastic difference upon

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what are the problems you observe, especially in teenagers, for example, comparing themselves to be the influences in social media or fear of missing out? So how do you solve these issues when they come to you? Yeah, teenagers, I would say is another big category we work with, absolutely. People are plugged in all the time. So they're looking at social media accounts and comparing themselves with others. But there's also relationship issues, learning how to now become somebody who's dependable. Also, we find that there is identity issues, as in to say, is Islam really for me? Now they're hearing a lot of other ideologies and ideas, whether social media, or from the college

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university campus. And there is now coming into question, Who am I? And do I want this? Or do I want to exchange it for something else? So this has been also very important where Islamic psychology plays a very important role.

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Also, you told me that you have been listening to many dramatic stories that people will tell you, how do yourself, get over these things that are affected? Maybe it comes to your dreams? So how did you cope with these things when they happen? Yes, of course, and we in the field are only humans ourselves SubhanAllah. There are some very good techniques that I've learned, both in my program, itself, of how do you kind of keep things in the office as they say, and not kind of let it bleed into your home life or your family life and so on. But also, more importantly, I think what I've learned is from my spiritual teachers, so put on the kid or something in between each of the

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sessions, and also a practice of, I don't know if my patients know this, but I would make to all of them, they're part of my TA. And you have to be someone who has a good kind of standing spiritually, to then help the next person because an empty cup cannot pour out what it doesn't contain. As a female doctor, you must have had a lot of female clients, what are the major problems and what would you like to say to women that are watching us that have these kinds of problems? Probably the biggest problem of the modern era that I'm finding right now is the concept of Superwoman. I can do everything and anything and all of it

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And I just don't think that's healthy. Also, we learn the importance of help. This also takes humility. And it takes a village, as we say, to raise a child, to have a good relationship with all the members of the family. And if Allah did not give you the finances, the means or the people, maybe this is not the right field or the time for you to do this thing. Recently, there was this graduation ceremony of one of the famous universities in Turkey psychology department, they were showing that the law ridiculous that manual? Yes. What do you think about that? If it's the most one of the most amazing I have certain pieces of calligraphy that are in my office? And this is one of

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them? And yes, the verse that you mentioned, is it not with the remembrance of Allah, that the hearts become tranquil? And this is such a beautiful concept. And for some people who are connected already to Allah subhanaw taala. That makes sense for somebody who isn't it may not fully connect just yet. What does this mean? When I work with a believer, Muslim, and sometimes people who are not Muslim, but they have a connection to God of some sort, it's so much easier to do therapy with them than someone who doesn't have this connection. Why? If somebody had a trauma happened, or something difficult, and we're processing through it, ultimately, they understand something bigger than them

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is in charge, there's a divine wisdom to what happened to them, and also to the next stages of healing. But if you don't see this, everything is dark and bleak and difficult. And you don't understand the concept of that there's an al Qaeda or a sad there's a judgment coming next, for whoever harmed you and hurt you. If you don't have this concept, and it's only here in this dunya it's very confining Quran Yahweh, thank you for your beautiful answers. We've benefited a lot from your experience. May Allah allow you to fulfill your dreams inshallah. And may you be a means of healing many many Muslims and patients as well. I've had a wonderful interview today with the

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eternal passenger YouTube channel and him today that's been a wonderful opportunity to to share a little bit about our work in Islamic psychology and also kind of be able to be with you all here in Turkey I hope inshallah everyone who's viewing online benefits as well and keeps us in their prayers.