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Copy of Counseling Arab-American Individuals

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Ashley Beaton

on 25 March 2014

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Transcript of Copy of Counseling Arab-American Individuals

Acculturation with American culture
 Embrace multiculturalism over assimilation in order to remain close to their culture
 Periods of disharmony is common in family functioning after arrival to a new country
 Some recent immigrants or native born choose to deny their ethnic background in fear of stereotyping
 Others live in Arab American neighborhoods to prevent assimilation
 Those who engage with dominant culture have either distant ancestral ties, are successful or identify with Christianity or advocate secularism

• Zogby (2001) polled Arab Americans: 61% indicated they were “worried about the long term effects of discrimination against Arab Americans” caused by 9/11, 20% said they had personally experienced discrimination of this nature, and 45 said they knew someone had experienced this type of discrimination
• Moradi & Talal-Hassan (2004): Sense of control in the link of perceived discrimination to psychological distress & self-esteem
• Counselors should aim to help clients gain a sense of control by helping them gain a mastery of discrimination by engaging in individual and/or collective social activism
• Counselors should also be knowledgeable about antidiscrimination policies and work to advocate for clients when necessary

Cultural Considerations with Arab-American Clients
Myths and Facts
All or majority of Arab-Americans are Muslim
33% are Roman Catholic, 25% are Muslim, 18% are Eastern Orthodox, 10% are Protestant (Sue & Sue, 2013)
The same amount of whites terminate counseling after the first session as minority group members
50% of minority group members compared to 30% of whites terminate after 1st session
The Arab-American Look
What Do You Know about Arabs?
Counseling Arab-American Individuals

Who is an Arab-American?
Estimated that there are 3.500,000 Arab Americans
The American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) defines an Arab American as an American whose ancestors originated from one of the following Arabic countries:
Algeria, Bahrain, Comoros Islands, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen
Arab-American Culture
 Collective culture as opposed to emphasis on the individual; therefore the family is first priority in Arabic culture
 Conformity rather than independent thought and creativity predominate
 Religion is very important component of culture
 Belief in fatalism
 Male dominant society; male is the leader and highest authority in the household, economy and politics
 Women social status is dependent on marital status and child rearing

• Arab culture is a collectivist culture, in which the individual is embedded within a patriarchal family context
 Decisions made with all members in mind
• Consider their immigration history as some could be refugees from war (such as Kuwait, Iraq, Iran); this could have caused physical or emotional stress
•Proper attire and etiquette
Sensitivity in termination

Cheyenne Anthony
Ashley Beaton

Discrimination in post 9/11 America
Role of Religion in Mental Health
 Religious practices, values & beliefs are a major part of the Arab-American community i.e. education, interpersonal relationships, child rearing
 Consider involving a religious leader when providing services; this may encourage them to seek mental health support
 Religion is heavily infused into Muslim Arab Americans
 Identifying oneself as Muslim has strong implications for psychological adjustment
 Muslims who endorse higher intrinsic religiosity have better overall mental health (Amer &Hovey, 2005)

Considerations Working with Arab-American Families
• Individual economic and social status highly connected with family’s status
• Family honor and avoidance of shame is central in Arab American culture
• Actions are reflective not only of the individual but also of the family; therefore family involvement is very important when working with a child
• Reiterate & emphasize the importance of confidentiality
• Involving the family in the initial stages will build trust and rapport and be beneficial to the therapeutic relationship
Arab-American Women and Therapy
 Turning to a stranger can be seen as shameful
 Support from traditional sources (such as prayer & family)
 Therapy negatively impacts marriage prospects & increases chances for divorce
 Likely to delay personal satisfaction/needs in favor of family or community
 Lack of knowledge about psychotherapy
 Inability to navigate mental health system

Specific Techniques/ Interventions
• According to the APA, therapists counseling an Arab American client should use a combination of empathetic, educational, cognitive–behavioral, dynamic, experiential, and existential approaches
• Giving the clients assignments in between sessions is encouraged
• Include family & close friends in treatment when possible
• Clients will likely not respond well to a distant, quiet, or abstract counselor
• Ask questions

#Alice in Arabia
Laila, who is 16 years old, was born in Chicago to parents who had emigrated from Syria the year before she was born. She speaks both Arabic and English fluently, and wears a hijab (head covering). She is proud to be a Muslim-American, and has both Arab and non-Arab friends. One of her teachers has recently referred Laila the school counselor because she has recently lost interest in activities, lacks an appetite, and sleeps poorly. The counselor suspects that Laila is experiencing symptoms of depression, but Laila’s mother does not want her to seek counseling because it will “look bad” and “reflect poorly” on both Laila and the family. Furthermore, the school counselor is a male, and Laila’s mother is very uncomfortable with this.
Case Study
Full transcript