Islamic Counseling Services - Solace

What is Counseling?

Counseling is a process in which the counselor, or therapist, helps you understand the causes for your problems and guides you through the process of learning to make good life decisions.

How is Islamic Counseling different from regular counseling?

While general Counseling aims at the wellbeing of the body and mind, Islamic Counseling caters to the soul and offers spiritual development as well. Our Counselor at IOU offers only Islamic solutions for your problems and helps get you closer to your Lord. We understand that humans are prone to committing sins, so we would never judge.

Why not medication?

Taking a pill every day to solve our problems sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?
However, our emotions and feelings are more complex than that little pill. Medication can help calm some symptoms, but it is definitely not a long term cure. Further, pills can have side effects too. There can be multiple causes to our problems, and just a pill can’t solve all of that. Though counseling can be time consuming and difficult to confront our fears and feelings, it provides a long lasting cure and benefit.

How can Counseling help?

Speaking to someone and venting out your feelings can make you feel better. Just having someone listen to you and care for you solves a major part of the problem.
You can talk about your problems to those close to you like friends and family members. But, at times, they are unable to provide the help you need.
Counseling gives an outside perspective, or some expert guidance. A counselor can help you brainstorm on options you hadn’t thought of or didn’t know. With a counselor, you can explore what you’re going through in much greater detail than you would with others. While the support of friends and family is important, Counseling is different. Counselors are professionally-trained listeners who can help you understand the base of your problems, overcome emotional difficulties, and make positive changes in your life.

Issues We Can Help With

Frequenlty Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can I reveal my sins or sins of those I know for the purpose of counseling?

In regard to this issue, Imam An-Nawawi mentioned various situations in which speaking about another person is permitted. One of these is in order to seek assistance and advice in forbidding evil and helping a person to change. This is permitted as long as the intention is to forbid evil. If the intention is for another reason, then it becomes unlawful.
It is permissible to seek somebody's assistance in forbidding evil and helping someone change his or her immoral conduct. One can say to the person who can offer such assistance, `so-and-so does such and such evil deeds. Can you exhort him?' etc. This is permissible as long as one intends to forbid evil. If, however, one intends something else apart from this, then this act becomes unlawful.

Am I a bad Muslim if I take up counseling?

It is true that those who are religious are less likely to suffer from psychological distress. However, it may also be that Allaah tests a true believer with distress in his life. Thus, he or she may need to consult with professionals for assistance. Taking the means for cure is part of faith in Allaah. This does not indicate weakness of Eemaan or that he or she is a bad Muslim.

Am I not relying on Allah by taking up counseling?

Taking the means for cure is part of Tawheed and putting one's trust in Allaah.
The Prophet, sallah Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Tie your camel and trust Allaah"
Ibn al-Qayyim said:
In the saheeh ahaadeeth there is the command to use medicine, and that this does not contradict the idea of putting one’s trust in Allaah, just as warding off hunger, thirst, heat and cold by means of their opposites does not contradict it. Rather, true Tawheed cannot be attained unless one takes the means which Allaah created and which lead to the ends both in terms of divine decree and in terms of sharee’ah. Neglecting the means undermines the essence of putting one’s trust in Allaah and undermines the Divine command and wisdom, because the one who neglects them thinks that this is a sign of stronger trust in Allaah. But neglecting them is a sign of helplessness which contradicts putting one’s trust in Allaah, the essence of which is the heart’s dependence on Allaah to acquire that which will benefit a person in both his religious commitment and worldly affairs, and will ward off that which will harm him in both his religious commitment and worldly affairs. Alongside this dependence one must also take the means, otherwise one will be ignoring the wisdom and command of Allaah. We should not regard helplessness as putting our trust in Allaah, or putting our trust in Allaah as helplessness.
Zaad al-Ma’aad, 4/15

I feel embarrassed to share my problems. Is it degrading to speak to someone about my troubles?

Not at all. A Muslim should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to seek help when needed. The Messenger of Allah, salla allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "The religion is good advice". We all need assistance at various times in our lives and assisting each other is part of our obligation as brothers and sisters in Islam.

How many sessions does a counselee typically need?

This differs from case to case, as each is unique and different. The number of counseling sessions would depend on the problem, as well as the motivation and commitment of the counselee to resolve conflicts and work towards goals.

What is the difference between consulting a professional counselor Vs an Islamic scholar for psychological problems?

An Islamic scholar would help with religious healing, which can be very effective. However, Counselors and Psychologists are professionally trained in dealing with human behaviour and psychological problems. They have insight into psychopathology and mental distress. The best approach would be solving the problem from a psycho-religious perspective, i.e. incorporating Islamic principles with psychotherapy.

I still feel reluctant to take up counseling, but don't know exactly why. What should I do?

If you feel uncertain about whether you should take up counseling, you can choose an introductory session and discuss your reservations with our counselor. There is no obligation to continue. Initiating counseling and remaining in counseling are both voluntary.

Myths About Counseling

Counseling is for weird, crazy people.

Counseling is for the most normal individuals, to those with severe mental disorders. It is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize they need help, and want to learn ways lead a happy and emotionally balanced life.

Counseling is a sign of incapability and weakness.

It takes courage to address problem areas, talk about them and examine painful feelings. Counseling is the first step to overcoming distress, and leading a fruitful life.

Counseling is only for people with serious mental health problems.

Many people seek help for everyday concerns: relationship problems, dilemma making a decision, job stress, academic difficulties, etc . Others seek counseling during difficult times, such as the loss of a loved one, or divorce.
In short, counseling is like visiting a doctor – you don’t go to a doctor only if you have a heart attack. It does help to see a doctor if you have a flu.

I’m smart enough to solve my own problems.

An effective counselor would never tell you how you should lead your life. He/she would only provide you with the options and give you an outside perspective, so you can make more balanced choices. We all have our blind spots. Smartness or being clever has nothing to do with it.
If you feel uncertain about whether you should take up counseling, you can make an appointment for an introductory session and discuss your reservations with our counselor. There is no obligation to continue. Initiating counseling and remaining in counseling are both voluntary.