How Can I Become an Islamic Psychologist?

01 September, 2020
Q Salam Alaikum.

I'm an undergraduate in Psychology, and it's my goal to become a Islamic psychologist, inshallah. Unfortunately, I don't know how to go about it.

Would a Master's in Applied Psychology be my next step, or Master's in Clinical Counselling?

As Psychology from an Islamic perspective is relatively new, there aren't a lot of courses available.

I'm really not sure what steps I need to take to achieve this, and I would love to get some advice from counselor's who are already in the field. Awaiting your reply.

Answer


In this counseling answer:

Firstly, decide which field interests you; clinical, forensic, health, counseling, …etc. This will narrow down which masters to do should you desire to progress to this stage.

There is also another very important thing to consider in choosing your next step. Depending on the country you want to practice in, you will need to check with your local psychological society what the requirements are to become a licensed psychologist.

In the meantime, it is advisable to get a bit of part-time work experience in the field. This will also help to confirm if that particular field is really what you would like to do.


Wa ‘Alaikum Salaam wa Rahmatulahi wa Barakatuh sister,

Ma sha’ Allah, indeed, psychology is a very interesting field to be in. Psychology is such a broad subject that can be useful in many different fields. With so many routes to become a psychologist, it can be very daunting to the undergraduate psychology student as you contemplate which is the best route to take.

Emerging field

Islamic psychology is an emerging field, as you are aware. As I am sure you also know that Islam can be applied in many different ways to psychology.

We can apply it to improving our practice as we learn how to incorporate Islamic principles into all fields of psychology or to simply making psychological services more accessible to a wider Muslim community.

How Can I Become an Islamic Psychologist? - About Islam

Muslim psychologists are required in all the different branches of psychology. So, becoming a Muslim psychologist does not necessarily narrow the field anymore as you can apply Islamic psychology to counseling psychology as much as you can to health psychology for example.

Additionally, there will always be people who prefer to see a Muslim psychologist in all fields, in the confidence that the advice they will give will be in line with Islamic principles.

Field of interest

There are a number of things to contemplate to make the next step clearer for you. Firstly, decide which field interests you; clinical, forensic, health, counseling, …etc. This will narrow down which masters to do should you desire to progress to this stage.

It may be that there is no course that specializes solely in the Islamic approach to that particular branch of psychology. But in most cases, it is possible to apply the Islamic approach particularly when it comes to your thesis where you are freer to be specific on your topic of research. Therefore, you can choose to apply Islamic psychology to a topic of your choice relevant to the branch of psychology that you are studying in.

Becoming licensed

There is also another very important thing to consider in choosing your next step. Depending on the country you want to practice in, you will need to check with your local psychological society what the requirements are to become a licensed psychologist. In some countries, an MA degree is sufficient while in others you must also go on to do your doctorate degree.

If you are thinking of practicing in another country, you also need to find out whether your degree is recognized in that country. Sometimes you are required to take some kind of conversion course, or in others, significant work experience can be sufficient. Either way, all these questions are those that can be answered by the psychological society of your country or that of the country that you wish to practice in.


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Work exposure

In the meantime, it is advisable to get a bit of part-time work experience in the field. This will also help to confirm if that particular field is really what you would like to do.

Try something new also. It may be that you find you enjoy a different field that you hadn’t even contemplated before. Getting work experience will also help you to develop the necessary practical skills to become a psychologist as well as understanding how the theory that you are learning in your degree work in practice.

Working under the supervision, or in an organization where you will have regular contact with a psychologist will be highly beneficial. It will place you in a position where you can see directly what the role of a psychologist entails as well as being able to get advice from the psychologist themselves. 

This will place you in a strong position for progressing your career in the field, especially if you are able to do some kind of work directly with them. In many cases, this will not be a realistic option at first, but certain positions such as that of a care worker or research assistant are very useful in gaining insight into the field and relevant experience.

Conclusion

I am unsure of the current status of psychology in South Africa, but in many places around the world, psychology has become very competitive so you need to be prepared for this and the challenges that it may come with. However, with patience and persistence, it is very possible, in sha’ Allah. With Islamic psychology slowly emerging, new opportunities will continue to become available also.

I hope this makes things a little clearer for you. May Allah (swt) bring you much success in your career in both this life and the next.

Amen,

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Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Hannah Morris
Hannah Morris is a mum of 4 and she currently works as Counsellor and Instructor of BSc. Psychology at the Islamic Online University (IOU). She obtained her MA degree in Psychology and has over 10 years of experience working in health and social care settings in the UK, USA, and Ireland. Check out her personal Facebook page, ActiveMindCare, that promotes psychological well-being in the Ummah. (www.facebook.com/activemindcare)