Family Therapy With Palestinian Arabs: Building on Inherent Habits of Spirituality for Psychological Well-Being

  • Khawla Abu-Baker
Part of the AFTA SpringerBriefs in Family Therapy book series (BRIEFSFAT)


This chapter emphasizes the contributions of religiosity and spirituality to psychological wellbeing for Palestinians. It shares examples of the use of spirituality in therapy as an answer to personal tension or loss. It introduces the idea of combining internal motivation of the client with spirituality and religious belief as an external locus of control to benefit client’s wellbeing.

Religious practices penetrate daily life and are highly adopted among religious and secular Arabs from all religions in the construction of their traditions. Oftentimes a trauma causes individuals or families to “become religious” or to “hold for their Islam”. Muslims seem to accept loss immediately; they even “praise God” for it. Often times Westerns misjudge these spiritual and cultural reactions.

The chapter suggests explanations for intersections between political, historical, social, gender, mental, religious/spiritual and psychological factors. Also it offers implications for therapy and social mental health for the benefit of students, practitioners and other professionals who are interested in the influence of spirituality, religion, culture and politics on daily life of Palestinians or in the Arab World. Personal narratives and clinical cases are used to clarify processes, ideas and examples.


Arabs Palestinians Prayer Mental health Quran therapy Anthrotherapist Islamic spirituality Trauma Loss Internal/external locus of control Salat Alistichara (The guidance seeking prayer) 


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Copyright information

© American Family Therapy Academy 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Khawla Abu-Baker
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Alqasemi College of EducationBaqa AlqarbiaIsrael
  2. 2.Western Galilee CollegeAcreIsrael

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