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Understanding Muslim women clients of counselling: An interpretive phenomenological analysis

Sadiq, Rehman, Nadia

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Nadia Sadiq, Rehman


Muslims and Islam have become a central feature of global news and often find themselves in narratives associated with local and national terror. These negative representations may have an impact on Muslim individuals’ wellbeing and navigation of life in Britain. Yet, recent research has highlighted that Muslims underutilize mental health services and face multiple barriers to do so including fear of discrimination and being misunderstood. However, these studies are far from giving us insight into experiences of those individuals who have taken the step into counselling. Very little is known about Muslims experiences in this regard and this research looks to address this. This research aims to explore the subjective lived experiences of counselling of Muslim women. Muslim women are often seen as a homogenous group, this research intends to show their diversity and nuances.

Semi- structured interviews were conducted with ten Muslim women who had engaged in counselling. Verbatim transcripts of the interviews were analysed using Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis (IPA).

Three major themes were identified from the analysis that constituted of; 1) Self in Relation to Context, which explores the relationship between Muslim womens’ self- constructions and their contexts, showing that how they make sense of themselves as women and as clients is always in interaction with their environment and relationships, 2) Movements in Experiences of Relating to the Self, which explores the emotional and psychological impact of the issues that the women were facing and their behavioural responses to their issues, and 3) Self in Relationship with the Therapist, which explores the significance of the therapeutic relationship and how this is influenced by client- counsellor similarities and differences and also influenced by wider contextual factors. Findings illustrate the intricate and parallel connections present within, and between, cultures and counselling that impact on the therapeutic experience for Muslim women clients. The study highlights the significance of connection and faith for Muslim women clients. Implications of these findings for clinical training and practice are discussed.


Sadiq, Rehman, N. Understanding Muslim women clients of counselling: An interpretive phenomenological analysis. (Thesis). University of the West of England. Retrieved from

Thesis Type Thesis
Publicly Available Date Jun 6, 2019
Public URL
Award Date May 28, 2019


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