Islamic Counseling Services - Solace

What is counseling?

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

How is Islamic counseling different from regular counseling?

While general counseling aims to heal 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 to your problems and helps you draw nearer to your Lord. IOU understands that humans are prone to committing sins, so we’ll never pass judgment on anyone who seeks out counseling services.

Why not take medication instead?

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 can reckon with. Medication can help calm some symptoms, but it is definitely not a long term cure. Furthermore, pills can have side effects that cause more harm than good. Most problems are multi-faceted and just a pill can’t solve all of them. Even though counseling is time consuming and it’s difficult to confront painful emotions, it provides a long lasting cure and countless benefits.

How can counseling help?

Speaking to a friend or relative and venting your feelings can make you feel better. Just having someone listen to and care solves a major part of the problem. But, even those nearest to you are often ill-equipped to provide you with the help you need.
Counseling is vital because it provides an unbiased perspective, and professional guidance. A counselor can help you brainstorm solutions you hadn’t thought of or maybe didn’t know about. With the assistance of 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 has a deeper impact that reveals the root of the problem and finds ways to solve it. Counselors are trained mental health professionals 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 the 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 might say to the counselor, `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 Allah 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 Allah. 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 a cure is part of Tawheed and putting one's trust in Allah.
The Prophet, sallah Allahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: "Tie your camel and trust Allah"
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 Allah, 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 Allah created and which leads to the ends in terms of both Divine Decree and sharee’ah. Neglecting the means undermines the essence of putting one’s trust in Allah and undermines the Divine Command and Wisdom, This is because the one who neglects them thinks that this is a sign of having a stronger trust in Allah. But neglecting them is actually a sign of helplessness which contradicts putting one’s trust in Allah, The essence of this is the heart’s dependence on Allah to acquire and ward off that which will benefit a person 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 Allah. We should not regard helplessness as putting our trust in Allah, or putting our trust in Allah 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 as initiating counseling and remaining in counseling are both voluntary.

Myths About Counseling

Counseling is for weird, crazy people.

Counseling is for so-called "normal" individuals, and also those with severe mental disorders. It is for people who have enough self-awareness to realize when they need help, and want to learn ways to 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 about 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 go to the doctor if you are suffering from the flu. Likewise, you seek counseling if you are mentally strained or under duress.

I’m smart enough to solve my own problems.

An effective counselor would never tell you how to 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. intelligence or intellect 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 as initiating counseling and remaining in counseling are both voluntary.