Working with religious muslim clients: A dynamic, quranic-based model of psychotherapy

Hisham Abu-Raiya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This article draws on the tenets of a Quranic theory of personality that has been recently developed (Abu-Raiya, 2012, 2014) to suggest a dynamic, conflict-based model of psychotherapy that can be utilized when working with religious Muslim clients. This model posits that the human psyche is composed of several structures that represent both satanic and divine sides of humans, and that the foundational conflict operating within the human psyche is between its satanic structures and their divine counterparts. Psychotherapy based on this model aims to uncover the nuances of the posited conflict, reduce anxiety associated with the conflict, and tame the satanic sides of the psyche by strengthening ego functioning and nurturing spiritual life. This type of psychotherapy should be applied by dynamically oriented, spirituality sensitive psychotherapists who are knowledgeable about the major Islamic tenets. It is appropriate for clients who are motivated, insight-oriented, and above all, accepting of the Quran as the main authority when it comes to significant psychological and human concerns. This model is brought to life in a case study. The article concludes by pointing to the prospects for the model and the challenges psychotherapists might face in applying it.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)120-133
Number of pages14
JournalSpirituality in Clinical Practice
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2015


  • Dynamic model
  • Muslim clients
  • Psychotherapy
  • Quranic theory of personality


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