Taking the first step to get counseling is a really big accomplishment that some people simply aren't ready to take. In an ideal world, everyone who needs help will go and get it. However, not everyone does. Here are the top six reasons why some Muslims don't go to counseling.
1. I worry about my reputation and what people will say.
A lot of people worry about their reputation and their family name being associated with counseling, therapy, or psychology. However, counseling is confidential. No matter how well the community might know a certain counselor, this person is still bound by confidentiality. They are literally breaking the law if they speak to anyone about anything you said. They aren't even allowed to tell people that you're in counseling.
For example, if you are my patient and I run into you at Walmart, guess what will happen? I may nod my head and say alsalamu alykum as I do to all Muslims, but other than that, I will keep going without acknowledging that I know you. This protects your privacy and will prevent anyone who is with you from asking questions about how we know each other.
2. I don't have an issue and there is nothing to talk about.
If you are unhappy in your life and struggling, then there might be something to talk about. If your family is noticing changes in you, then there is something to talk about. If you are feeling down, sad, and possibly thinking about ways to hurt yourself, then there is something to talk about.
3. The Quran, Salah, and dua are the answers to all my problems
Yes, the Quran, daily Salah, and dua play an important, if not, crucial part in our mental wellbeing. However, in our beautiful deen we are taught to make an effort towards things. We have to make tawakul in Allah Subhanah Wa Talla, but we need to put an effort by using resources that are provided to us. Keep making dua, keep reading Quran, and keep doing your daily Salah, but if you need counseling, don't wait, get help.
4. Counseling is too expensive.
Some insurance companies cover counseling for free or have a low deductible. However, for those insurances that don't cover or have a high deductible, many counseling offices offer sliding scale fees. This means, the fee will be based on your income and the amount that you can afford. There are also many non-for-profit organizations that offer counseling for free. Some colleges and work places also provide counseling to their students and employees.
5. Talking to a stranger is weird; I already talk to my best friend about my issues.
Talking to a stranger might be weird, but a counselor won't be a stranger for long. You develop a relationship with you counselor that is professional and trusting. Counselors are nonjudgmental and their job is to make you comfortable in their office.
Further, your best friend is a great resource, but they are not trained to handle everything you tell them. Counselors are trained, licensed, and experienced in therapeutic techniques and are very familiar with psychological disorders.
6. Counselors are only after my money.
Personally, I haven't seen any counselors driving around in a Lamborghini or living in a villa. Counseling isn't exactly a get rich type of work. People who go into this field are in it for the love of helping people. We genuinely want to help you get better and we enjoy what we do.
What has prevented you from going to counseling? Let us know below.