“Seeking Help is Difficult:” Considerations for Providing Mental Health Services to Muslim Women Clients


  • Fatima Saleem
  • Stephanie L. Martin University of Saskatchewan


Muslim women, counselling, psychotherapy, mental health services, cultural responsiveness


Mental health professionals who counsel Muslim women are well positioned to offer guidance on working with this underserved population. A basic interpretive qualitative research design was utilized to explore mental health professionals’ (N = 5) experience of providing counselling services to Muslim women. Analysis yielded four areas of consideration in the provision of counselling services to Muslim women: (a) difficulty of seeking help; (b) lack of awareness as a barrier; (c) need for community outreach, psychoeducation, and cross-cultural training; and (d) centrality of trust and careful application of modalities and orientations. Findings are described alongside implications for counselling practice, and directions for future research are identified.

Author Biography

Stephanie L. Martin, University of Saskatchewan

Fatima Saleem, MEd, is currently pursuing a Masters in Social Work at York University. She completed a Master of Education in Educational Psychology and Special Education at the University of Saskatchewan, focusing her research on exploring the experiences of Muslim mental health professionals working with Muslim women clients.


Stephanie L. Martin, PhD is a Registered Doctoral Psychologist, Associate Professor, and Graduate Chair in the Department of Educational Psychology & Special Education, University of Saskatchewan. Her teaching areas include the theory and practice of counselling and psychotherapy, professional practice and ethics, qualitative research methodology, and the psychology of women and gender. Her research focuses on healing from the trauma of violence and abuse, professional development and well-being, and women’s mental health.




How to Cite

Saleem, F., & Martin, S. L. (2018). “Seeking Help is Difficult:” Considerations for Providing Mental Health Services to Muslim Women Clients. Canadian Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 52(2). Retrieved from https://cjc-rcc.ucalgary.ca/article/view/61175



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