An Unknown, Unnamable Journey: Family Therapists in Complex Conversations as Muslim and Sikh Immigrants

  • Kiran Arora
  • Saliha Bava
Part of the AFTA SpringerBriefs in Family Therapy book series (BRIEFSFAT)


How do family therapy practitioners of marginalized faiths navigate the polarizing political contexts of North America while being responsive to self, other, and our communities? Saliha, raised as a Sunni Muslim woman in India reflects on this question with Kiran who was raised as a Sikh woman in Canada on what it means to become a family therapist in the United States. We reflect on how our families’ religious views weave into our identities as therapists at the intersection of immigration, nationality, ethnicity and politics. We explore the interconnectedness of identity-making and context as dynamic relational processes. Further, we illustrate the reflective performative power of shaping identity via writing, and share four practice implications based on our lived experiences of negotiating the personal, political, professional, and spiritual as therapists. We conclude with clinical and teaching examples to illustrate these implications. In the face of dominant discourses and overt social oppression that deny the spirituality embodied in our religious identities, this is a work of resistance!


Writing-in-inquiry Sikh Muslim Psychotherapy Identity Spirituality Immigrant 


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Copyright information

© American Family Therapy Academy 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kiran Arora
    • 1
  • Saliha Bava
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Long Island UniversityBrooklynUSA
  2. 2.Marriage and Family Therapy Program, Mercy CollegeDobbs FerryUSA
  3. 3.Houston Galveston InstituteHoustonUSA
  4. 4.Taos InstituteChagrin FallsUSA

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