Building an Islamic psychology and psychotherapy : a grounded theory study

Rothman, Abdallah Eric David (2019) Building an Islamic psychology and psychotherapy : a grounded theory study. (PhD thesis), Kingston University, .


At a time when there is increasing focus on the need to adapt approaches to psychotherapy to align with the cultural and religious/spiritual orientations of clients, this thesis explores the ontological foundations of psychology from an Islamic paradigm and how these foundational assumptions about human nature can inform practical applications for Islamic psychotherapy. The thesis presents a detailed literature review and two phases of the research study that both used a constructivist version of the grounded theory approach. In the first phase of the study, 18 scholars of Islam were interviewed as “key informants” whose input provided insights into the various branches of knowledge within the Islamic tradition that are relevant to the construction of an Islamic paradigm of human psychology. From the analysis of the interview transcripts, codes were created relating to concepts of the psyche, notions of human development, and understanding of the structure of the soul from the participants’ understanding of Islamic religious sources. An Islamic model of the soul was constructed from these findings. This is presented as a framework for the development of clinical applications in psychotherapy. In the second phase, 18 clinicians who integrate Islamic principles in their approaches with clients in psychotherapy were interviewed. From the analysis of the interview transcripts, codes were created based on the theoretical categories from the first phase, explicating how the Islamic model of the soul generated in that phase can be used to inform practical approaches to therapeutic application. The codes covered theoretical approaches to clinical assessment, treatment goals, and therapeutic interventions. Findings from this phase are presented across two chapters dealing with (i) therapeutic conceptualizations of the nature and structure of the soul in Islamic psychotherapy and (ii) the clinical scope of Islamic psychotherapy and how it is situated both within the Islamic tradition and within the context iii of contemporary psychotherapy. Through the implementation of a grounded theory approach, the Islamic model of the soul that is presented earlier in the thesis is now extended to incorporate the psychotherapeutic practice context. The resultant model of care that was constructed from the analysis represents a uniquely Islamic approach to psychotherapy grounded in the ontological assumptions about human nature from the Islamic tradition. In conclusion, the thesis develops a framework for Islamic psychology and a preliminary model for a theoretical orientation to Islamic psychotherapy. Consistent with the aims of grounded theory work, it is hoped the findings can contribute towards the further development of an overarching theory of Islamic psychology, provide a foundation for the development of informed clinical interventions, and help in understanding human nature and development from an Islamic perspective.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page