Acceptance and Commitment Therapy with Ecological Systems Theory: Addressing Muslim Mental Health Issues and Wellbeing

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Ahmet Tanhan


Muslim mental health, acceptance and commitment therapy, ecological systems theory, positive psychology, wellbeing, counseling


Muslims across the word underutilize mental health services for addressing their wellbeing and biopsychosocial, spiritual, and contextual issues. By 2030, the global Muslim population is expected to reach 2.2 billion people. This indicates that Muslim mental health is gaining importance and would require contextually (i.e., spiritually, culturally, empirically) more effective services. Practitioners used Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) and Ecological Systems Theory (EST) to promote wellbeing and address psychopathology for diverse groups. However, rigorous and comprehensive literature from 1986 to 2019 did not produce research addressing how ACT could be consumed to serve Muslims. Researchers in Muslim mental health have suggested benefitting from EST yet only few have mentioned using ACT. ACT is one of the most effective therapies based on randomized control trials to enhance wellbeing and address psychopathology. The main purposes of this paper are to (a) explain how ACT is one of the most appropriate counseling approaches to be utilized with Muslims because ACT and Islam have many commonalities and (b) propose ACT with EST perspective to enable a much more contextual perspective of ACT so that mental health professionals could promote wellbeing and address psychopathology at all ecological levels for all, starting with Muslims. With the arrival of third and fourth wave of counseling approaches, the use of positive psychology in research and practice has increased dramatically. ACT, Islam, and EST also highly stress a positive approach perspective thus considering of ACT and EST together might promise more effective research and practice in positive and abnormal psychology.


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