Demystifying Therapy

Week 2

Thank you to those who have shared their stories and experiences. If you're interested in doing the same, fill out this form and/or reach out to Layth (lalkhani@stanford.edu) or Howra (howra@stanford.edu).

The Demystifying Therapy campaign, launched by the Muslim Mental Health Initiative aims to dismantle the stigma surrounding mental health in the Muslim community. One way to do this is through sharing stories of fellow Stanford Muslims' experiences with therapy. Follow along to read the stories of Stanford Muslims and demystify therapy.

 Story #2

Join an undergraduate student who recounts her experience with therapy, and the factors that led her to seek it out.

The first time I ever tried therapy was here at Stanford, and I used the CAPS services.  I think it was a great experience for me because this was my freshman year and generally, coming to Stanford was a period of contemplation about my life in general and understanding what my goals are here and where do I stand with my academic goals, career goals and spiritual values as well. So I think I for sure will seek more opportunities to be able to have therapy because I believe that it's something that helps you stay afloat and helps you share your reflections and thoughts with someone in a very healthy manner.

 For those who have heard only the negative aspects of CAPS, I think I'd like to say to them that any kind of help is help. And while it's important to not get your hopes up, especially at CAPS, because of the long waiting times and different issues that the professionals deal with, I still think that having a professionally trained person hear you out at the very least is a great experience to have. If you're dealing with something, I would say it's better than nothing.

Being able to express my emotions and have someone listen without judging was part of what made therapy beneficial to me, and I feel like the other aspect was just having someone's perspective on your reflections, on your own life and having some sort of external validation. And when you see someone else's perspective on your thoughts regarding your own life, it kind of helps you triangulate your emotions and feelings. It helps with finding like a middle ground between something that you might have been extra in or something that you lacked in your emotions. As in, what if you were less kind to yourself or more dreadful. This helps you feel grounded, especially when you're talking to someone and you hear them saying that maybe that's not how it should be done, or maybe you're going to hurt yourself if you do something a certain way.

I feel like coming here made me more reflective of my own life and it's a positive thing, and I really feel like I'm experiencing a greater amount of self-awareness in my life and self-expression as well. I think it's definitely a positive thing that made me seek out therapy.

 

Myth: Mental illness is a sign of weak Iman

This statement could not be any further from the truth. We were created as human beings and as such we are created in a manner that makes us prone to fault, in the same way, that we get sick physically there are developments within our life that influence us mentally.

We find this to be true even in regards to the greatest of all creation the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) who was found at various points in his life to be in a state of sorrow or grief. In the studies of the life of the Prophet (ﷺ), we see that he (ﷺ) even went through a pronlongued period of immense sadness after the death of his wife Khadijah and uncle Abu Talib—to the extent that this period of his life would be coined ”عام الحزن” or “the year of sadness”