Preferred therapist characteristics of Muslim college women in the United Arab Emirates: implications for psychotherapy

Source of Publication

Mental Health, Religion and Culture


© 2020 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Therapeutic alliance and psychotherapeutic outcomes can be influenced by therapist characteristics. While research has explored preferred therapist characteristics in Western secular contexts, few studies have examined this question among Muslim populations in the Arab world. This study explores Arab, Muslim women's expressed preferences concerning therapist characteristics. Two hundred and twenty college women attending a tertiary educational institution in the United Arab Emirates were presented with a list of twenty-two therapist characteristics derived from previous research and included attributes such as empathy, compassion and honesty. Participants performed a discrete choice task, expressing a preference for either male or female therapists, and for therapists of the same (Emirati) or different nationality. The most frequently endorsed characteristic among the present population was confidentiality. Implications are discussed with reference to psychotherapy practice with Muslim clients in the UAE and the need for an empirical approach to the identification of preferred therapist characteristics.

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Informa UK Limited

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