Psychotherapy is a process of intervention that is rooted in the idea of the “talking cure”. This process is guided by extensive research done on human behavior and empirically validated ways of intervening to alleviate psychological disarray. In Islamic terminology, this is an attempt at understanding Allah’s Sunnah (system and structure that Allah has created) and the practical application of Islam. The Qur’an instructs humankind to seek out and reflect on the signs and creation of Allah and to study them as a means of attaining nearness to Him. Islamically integrated therapy may utilize psychotherapy in a similar way to assist in the attainment of spiritual serenity. In fact, psychology is made up of the Greek words psyche (the soul) and logos (the study of). The soul here refers to all non-physical aspects of a person and fits in very well with the Islamic concept of mental and spiritual health. Psychotherapy is the therapeutic attempt to revitalize the spiritual self by paving the way towards the exploration of the self via guided introspection. Coupled with this method is the inclusion of traditional Islamic healing practices that are part of the healing process.
The Islamic tradition and sciences of spirituality have served this function historically through the means of a spiritual Master who is at the head of the community. Due to premature development of the Islamic community in America and the complex challenges that Muslim Americans face, the work of Muslim religious leaders may be enhanced by a more holistic approach that integrates both an understanding of human psychology, biology, society in addition to Islamic tradition. This is also known as the bio-psycho-socio-spiritual approach in psychological practice.
There has been an erosion of the traditional Islamic community and many American Muslims do not belong to a cohesive interconnected community under the direction of a religious scholar/spiritual guide.
The popularity of many forms of modern psychology in the west has been largely due to the dissolution of the concept of the community and the industrialization/ commercialization of all fields of health. There has been a focus on a post-hoc method to dealing with pathology and individuals have become dependent upon the psychologist and medications for the lack of social supports. The benefits of modern psychology, with its emphasis solely on the individual in isolation, are limited. In reality, the individual is an atom that is connected to the molecule of his/her community.