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Black Muslim Women: An exploration into their lived experiences of therapy in the context of their intersecting identities.

Abdikarim, M. (2023). Black Muslim Women: An exploration into their lived experiences of therapy in the context of their intersecting identities.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


The prevalence rate of common mental health conditions has been found to be significantly higher for women than for men according to the Mental Health Foundation (2021). The Black Minority Ethnic (BME) community in Britain has also been found to be at a higher risk of developing psychological disorders (Mental Health Foundation, 2021). Research into mental health within religious groups revealed that members of the Muslim community were at greater risk of developing common mental health conditions compared to other religious communities in Britain. The Muslim population itself is diverse in race and ethnicity with 10% of the Muslim population in Britain being of Black African or Caribbean decent (Office for National Statistics, 2011). The statistic however does not seem to be represented in psychological literature. In Britain, Islam is often associated with the south Asian community whilst the Black and Caribbean community seems to be linked with Christianity (Nurein & Iqbal, 2021). For Black Muslim Women (BMW), identity is a complex concept because of the many social categories that they belong to and can occupy (Nurein & Iqbal, 2021). Research into intersecting identities has demonstrated that the focus on only one aspect of a person’s identity (whilst ignoring other identities) provides a significantly limited understanding of the individual (Sarno et al., 2015). This research aims to focus on the lived experiences of BMW, in particular their experience of therapy within the context of their intersecting identities.

Data was obtained from seven participants through semi structured interviewing and was analysed using interpretive phenomenological analysis (IPA). Four superordinate themes emerged from this analysis. “Being a Black Muslim Woman in Britain” explored the participants’ process of self-construction in relation to their intersecting identities and the meaning they made of these identities. “Psychological distress and help seeking” explored participants’ experience of distress along with their attitudes and beliefs around mental health and help seeking. “The role of identity in therapy” captured participants experiences of therapy within the context of their intersecting identities along with the meaning that they made of these identities. “Post therapy reflections” is the final superordinate theme where participants shared their reflections of their therapeutic journeys and gave feedback on their overall experiences of therapy. The findings of this study are discussed in relation to existing literature. Implications for counselling psychology are then explored and suggestions for future research are considered.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BL Religion
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Abdikarim thesis 2023 PDF-A redacted.pdf] Text - Accepted Version
This document is not freely accessible until 28 February 2027 due to copyright restrictions.


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