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Open Access Integration of Religion and Spirituality Into Trauma Psychotherapy: An Example in Sufism?

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Bilateral stimulation (BLS) is of significant importance to eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. Eye movements seem to be the most effective form of BLS in EMDR. A brief summary of the cultural applicability of EMDR is provided, and research which showed the value of incorporating religion and/or spirituality into psychotherapy is highlighted. Islamic Sufism, in common with other traditional religions, has long been known to have a psychotherapeutic perspective and has been used over time to help people to overcome trauma and stress. This article argues that the ritual movements associated with the Sufi Dhikr may involve a form of BLS and that this might underline some of the therapeutic effectiveness of Dhikr and Sufism. The authors recommend investigating if the Sufi Dhikr element could be incorporated into a modified EMDR protocol. We anticipate that this would give EMDR an even wider and more popular acceptance in the Middle East and the Muslim world.

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Keywords: CULTURE; DHIKR; EYE MOVEMENT DESENSITIZATION AND REPROCESSING (EMDR); SPIRITUAL THERAPY; SUFISM; TRAUMA THERAPY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 August 2015

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