Saudi Arabia: Marriage and Family Therapy – An Opportunity to Participate

family therapy


Stephanie isa graduate student in Marriage and Family Therapy, and writing a paper for a Cultural Diversity course on how therapists can better serve clients of different cultural backgrounds. She has decided to write her paper on patients of Saudi background, and seeks input from American Bedu readers.
This paper will be shared with the rest of her classmates (as their papers will with her) in an effort to make them all better therapists who can help people of many varied backgrounds.  Readers can contact her directly at [email protected] if they would like to email her the answers to these questions.

She is also happy to share the final research paper with American Bedu when it is completed.

Please feel free to skip any of these questions-

What is your Age/Gender/Nationality (Are you American/European of Saudi decent, or a Saudi National? Etc.)


What do you believe is the belief about counseling and mental health in Saudi culture?


What are your personal beliefs about counseling and mental health?


How is mental illness treated/diagnosed institutionally in Saudi Arabia? Is there a stigma, or is help widely available?


How is mental illness percieved/treated within a family structure?  Within a community?


What does the Qur’an have to say about mental illness and how people with mental illness should be treated?


Would people in Saudi Arabia go see a counselor to discuss problems like marital issues or depression?  What about Saudis living in America/Europe? What about second-generation Saudi-Americans?


Would you personally have any reservations about seeing a counselor? If so, what are they? If no, Why not?


If yes, what could a counselor do to reassure you?


What would you look for in a counselor?

-Would the Counselor have to be Muslim? Another Religion?(which?)  Have to be a Man? Have to be a Woman? Have to be knowledgeable about Saudi culture? Something else…?


Would there be any restrictions place on someone of an opposite gender seeing a counselor? What would those restrictions be?  Could/would a married couple go to marriage counseling?


If formal counseling is not/has not been a part of Saudi culture, what structures have taken its place? Where do people go for guidance and mental health? An Imam? Family Members? Other?


How could a non-Saudi counselor in the US help become more culturally aware and sensitive to treat clients of Saudi background living in the US?  What things should the counselor avoid doing/saying? What should the counselor absolutely do? How can the counselor demonstrate their respect for their Saudi clients’ culture?


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