Publications & Presentations
Dr. Daneshpour gives keynotes and workshops on a range of professional topics of interest to mental health professionals, including:
Gender, Power, Social Justice
Ethics of Care in Couple and Family Therapy
Multicultural Competencies and Couple and Family Therapy
Culturally Sensitive Therapy with Immigrant and Refugees
Social Justice Based Couple and Family Therapy
Culturally Sensitive Therapy with Muslims
Interracial Couple Therapy
Self of The Therapist
Mentoring for the AAMFT Approved Supervisor Designation
Dr. Daneshour provides mentoring for the AAMFT (American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy) Approved Supervisor Designation.
Dr. Daneshpour also provides general professional mentoring for mental health professionals wanting to incorporate social justice and gender-sensitive approaches in working with couples and families.
Scholarly Work/Creative Achievement/Research
An examination of proactive coping and social beliefs among Christians and Muslims
Publisher: Springer, New York, NY
In the present chapter, relations between religious affiliation, social beliefs, and proactive coping were examined. It was anticipated that members of different religions would have different social beliefs and would differ on Proactive Coping strategies. It was also predicted that social beliefs, specifically Reward for Application and Social Complexity, would mediate the relation between Religion and Proactive Coping. One hundred and eighty individuals who identified themselves as practising Muslims or Christians, living in three countries (Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom), participated in the study. The results indicated differences between the religious groups in their endorsement of social axioms, with Muslims scoring higher on the subscales Social Cynicism, Fate Control, and Religiosity. No difference between the two religious groups on Proactive Coping was found. Findings are interpreted in …
Bridges crossed, paths traveled: Muslim intercultural couples
Marriage is both a powerful individual experience and an arrangement of considerable social consequence. While a number of historians of marriage and family have explored the significant transformations in the ways that men and women court, marry, and form families (Rose, 2001), a sustained historical examination of marriage across religious lines in America is surprisingly absent.
Cancer’s impact on spousal caregiver health: A qualitative analysis in grounded theory
Publisher: Springer US
The purpose of this qualitative study is to examine the impact cancer has on a spouse/partner caregiver. The psychological effects of caregiving are well documented, but information related to the physical outcomes of the caregiver of a partner with cancer is lacking. This is a qualitative study based in grounded theory and explores themes from transcripted interviews of eight spousal caregivers and four widowers. The caregiver is often the “silent sufferer.” Caregivers that experience compounding hardships and have multiple caregiving responsibilities tend to have paradoxical feelings about their experience and report higher levels of emotional and physical distress. Current caregivers report lower quality of physical health, as compared to widowers who report being in better health after the death of their spouse.
Couple therapy with Muslims: challenges and opportunities
This Chapter is an attempt to identify, discuss and clarify some important issues for mental health professionals working with Muslim immigrant couples using hermeneutic approaches and postmodernist perspectives. The main goal is to provide guidance and insights which can assist clinicians in working with this immigrant group apart from their ethnic backgrounds. Several clinical case examples will highlight strategies for approaching and helping Muslim couples.
Covered heads meet unveiled bigotry
I am a Muslim woman from Iran and I try to represent myself as an example of modesty and as a sanctuary to female independence by wearing hijab (Islamic head cover). I also serve as coordinator of the Marriage and Family Therapy program at St. Cloud State University, teach graduate courses, provide supervision for Marriage and Family Therapy students and see clients in my private practice to keep my stories and skills fresh. It has become second nature to get very curious looks from students, clients and professionals when I walk into a classroom for the first time, when I come to the lobby to greet a client or when I go to the podium to present at a conference. So, to put people at ease, I usually talk about my faith and hijab, and only then do I talk about my professional training and my experiences in marriage and family therapy. I always welcome questions and try to get people to stay away from culturally sensitive politeness; otherwise, they would inevitably walk away with more stereotypes then those they held before. I have worked very hard to be at the place I am today.
Eccentric Perspective: Considering Spirituality in Working with Muslim Families
Do you think it is strange that almost one third of the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world live as inorities in non-Muslim states and there are an estimated 6 to 10 million Muslims living in the United States of America (Daneshpour & Dadras, 2014) but most mental health professionals appear to have been exposed to relatively little content on Islam during their educational careers? Did you know that Muslims in the U.S. have emigrated from more than 100 different countries over many decades but the reasons for the recent mass Muslim immigration include: (a) ethnic persecution, such as in Uganda, Somalia, Tanzania, and Kenya; (b) religious persecution, such as the Hindu-Muslim conflicts in India; (c) Islamism, such as in Iran, Sudan, and Pakistan; (d) anti-Islamism, in countries where the lives of individuals and groups are threatened by extremists; (e) war, such as in Iraq and Afghanistan; and (e) civil wars, such as in Syria and they are in desperate need for mental health services? Are you surprised that there are rich traditions for the three Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam and all three faiths
emerged in what is now known as the Middle East? Can you fathom the idea that these three religions share way more similarities than differences, and a better understanding of these religious traditions may help to reduce stress and dysfunctional behavior as related to the role of religion in marriage and family life?
Examining Family Stress: Theory and Research
Families develop shared worldviews called family paradigms, an ordered set of beliefs about the social world that are sensibly connected to the ways families actually respond to and interact with their social world and which help or hinder their problem solving abilities. Evidence suggests that these paradigms are generally built in and endure and regulate transactions with the family’s social environment. Under stress, however, a family may alter its paradigm as a result of transactions with the environment. Using a family system paradigm, this presentation will examine the theoretical literature in search of a better way of understanding stress and its management in families. Multiple causes and multifaceted coping strategies, and the advantages and disadvantages of management strategies in families will be highlighted.
Exploration of cross-cultural couples’ marital adjustment: Iranian American women married to European American men
Publisher: Springer US
This article presents a qualitative, phenomenological study which explored cross-cultural marital adjustment among intermarried Iranian American women and their European American husbands. Twelve couples participated in individual and joint interviews. Analysis of the interviews suggests that although cross-cultural differences exist between the couples, these differences were not preventing successful marital adjustment. The interviews revealed that successful marital adjustment relied heavily on certain positive features or “strengths,” which worked as buffers to cross-cultural differences. The findings of this study add to the limited literature on Iranian Americans, intermarriage, and cross-cultural marital adjustment, and have implications for counselors and marriage and family therapists working with cross-cultural couples.
Factors of successful marriage: Accounts from self described happy couples
The purpose of this study is to identify the factors of successful marriage that accounts from self-described happy couples. For this purpose 300 couples were selected from among the staff of the several companies, and the parents of students. The procedure undertaken is cluster sampling. So far three couples who got a high score from ECS (1989) and described themselves as happy couples underwent an in-depth, semi-structured interview. The results show that successful couples trust and consult each other, are honest, believe in God, make decisions together, are commitment to each other, and have friendly relationship. Traditional couples and non-traditional couples differed only in the procedures of family management.
Family of Origin Predictors of Marital Outcomes Among Coptic Orthodox Christian Egyptian- American Couples
Divorce rates in the United States have remained fairly high over the past couple decades (Stanley, 2015; Stevenson & Wolfers, 2007), and researchers have been interested in investigating factors that contribute to marital dissolution. Researchers have found that family of origin (FOO) has an important impact on adult relationships (Holman, 2001). There is also evidence to support an association between negative FOO experiences, lower relationship quality, and increased risk of divorce (Amato, 1996). Although marital outcomes have been evaluated for several decades, there is limited literature on FOO factors for minority populations, specifically with Middle Eastern and Arab families. Since family is the key social unit within Coptic Christian culture and Arab culture (Beitin & Aprahamian, 2014), the evaluation of intergenerational familial patterns may contribute to increased understanding of the relationship between FOO and marital outcomes.
Iranian successful family functioning: Communication
The purpose of this study is to identify successful family communication from the viewpoints of happy couples. For this purpose 365 couples (N = 730) were selected from among the staff of several industrial companies, and a number of teachers in Tehran. Purposive sampling method was used and 11couples with highest scores from Four ENRICH Couple Scales (2010), who described themselves as happy couples, underwent an in-depth, semi-structured interview. Interviews were taped and transcribed and the first order themes and subthemes were identified in the texts. In order to reduce the interviewer bias, the results were discussed and approved by each couple. The results showed that successful couples: a) solve their own problems, b) have mutual understanding in financial managements and costs, c) spend their leisure time together with their families, d) are good friends, and e) respect each other.
ISPU Promoting Healthy Marriages & Preventing Divorce in the American Muslim Community
As divorce becomes more prevalent among American Muslims, it is increasingly important for families to understand how to minimize the risk of divorce and build healthy marriages. Although there are various approaches to help couples achieve healthy relationships, little is known about how American Muslims perceive and utilize marriage education programs and counseling interventions, as well as how they navigate marital disputes, and utilize professional and religious-based services to prevent divorce. 1 This study was commissioned with the following objectives: 1) to explore the experiences of American Muslims with various marriage education programs and counseling interventions, 2) to understand perceptions about the effectiveness and relevance of such activities in the American Muslim community 3) and to develop recommendations to promote healthy marriages and prevent divorce in the American Muslim community. Researchers conducted in-depth interviews with Muslims in Southeast Michigan, along with
an extensive literature review and consultation with a team of experts. This report provides an overview of the literature; describes the study findings; and provides recommendations for community members, imams and mosque leadership and counseling professionals. The report aims to inform existing efforts to help American Muslim couples prepare for and maintain healthy marriages and enable imams, community leaders and counseling professionals to design effective and relevant healthy marriage and divorce
Lives together, worlds apart? The lives of multicultural Muslim couples
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Group
The lives of multicultural Muslim couples is the focus of this paper. It is based on interviews with couples in which the husband is a Muslim of Middle Eastern descent with a wife of European-American or Asian-American descent. These women converted to Islam before or after marriage, or have remained Christian. The opportunities, strengths and challenges in such relationships are discussed, including issues that emerge connected to family, community, and society. In addition, current multicultural therapy competencies are reviewed and approaches, interventions, and strategies that may be useful in the treatment of multicultural Muslim couples are presented.
Muslim families and family therapy
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Ltd
Muslim immigrant families living in the United States may well come to be attentiaon of mental health professionals. This article examines the applicability of the Anglo‐American models of family therapy to Muslim immigrant families. The most significant difference in value systems between the Muslim and Anglo‐American cultures is Muslim families’ preference for greater connectedness, a less flexible and more hierarchial family structure, and an implicit communication style.
Systemic thinking, which deals with the pattern of relationships, is valid for all families regardless of cultural difference. However, the preferred directions of change for Muslim families need to be integrated into the assessment and goals for family therapy.
Muslim Marriages in the Western World: A Decade Review
This paper reviews research studies that have examined Muslim marriage trends in the western world for the past ten years (2005-2015). Studies were classified in six categories: 1) Impact of religiosity on marital relationship; 2) New forms of courtship and marriage in the Muslim community; 3) Women issues and marriage; 4) Appropriate marital instruments utilized in working with Muslims; 5) Counseling with Muslims; and 6) Marital quality. Important areas for future studies are highlighted.
Perception and Experiences of Marriage Preperation mong U.S. Muslims
Although Muslims in the United States are a growing population, there is limited research on their relational patterns and how they prepare for marriage. We conducted in-depth interviews with 32 members of the Muslim community in Southeast Michigan including married individuals, divorced individuals, herapists, and imams (Muslim religious leaders) to explore their perceptions and experiences of marriage preparation. Our analysis revealed that marriage preparation varies but is less likely to involve a requirement of premarital counseling, with imams being the primary providers, not therapists. Barriers to participation include stigma, lack of awareness, logistical and financial challenges, and parental influence. Partnerships between imams and therapists, and family and community efforts are necessary
to address barriers and increase participation in premarital education programs.
Promoting Healthy Marriages & Preventing Divorce in the American Muslim Community
Marriage is a cherished bond. Although divorce is permitted in Islam, it is considered a last option. Couples are encouraged to be proactive in establishing and maintaining a healthy and strong relationship and to explore all possible remedies before pursuing a divorce.
Self described happy couples and factors of successful marriage in Iran
The purpose of this study is to identify factors of successful marriage from the viewpoint of happy couples in Iran. For this purpose, 365 couples (N = 730) were selected from staff of several industrial companies and teachers in Tehran and Birjand. Purposive sampling method was used. Eleven couples with highest scores from Four ENRICH Couple Scales (2010) was described themselves as happy couples underwent an in-depth, semi-structured interview. Happy couples formulated effective factors for their successful marriage as follows: a) we trust each other and are committed, b) we consult with each other, c) we think our relationship is intimate, d) we solve our own problems, e) we cooperate with each other in children’s upbringing f) we share common beliefs, and g) we express our love to each other. Traditional patriarchal and matriarchal couples and non-traditional couples differed only in dealings with family…
Sexual Abuse in Iran
A review of Iranian newspapers and magazines reveals that child sexual abuse is a problem and there is a need for laws protecting victims when sexual abuse happens inside the family. Among constraints that have hindered the preparation of a national plan of action is cultural resistance to addressing the problem because the subject is largely taboo. Often the issue is dealt with more generally under headings such as “violence” and “trauma” (UNICEF 2003). Sexual violence and abuse within the family is rarely reported and children themselves are largely silent on this issue. Laws make reporting by children unlikely. Article
220 of the Iranian penal code recognizes only a light sentence and fine for a father who kills his child in the course of administering “educational” punishment. Early marriage with the permission of the guardian is valid provided that the interests of the ward are duly observed. According to ≠Ulyà-i Zand (2002), this could also potentially be a form of female sexual abuse.
Social axioms in Iran and Canada: Intercultural contact, coping and adjustment
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Asia
A comparison was made between Iranian participants living in Iran, Iranian immigrants to Canada, and Canadian‐born participants on the Social Axioms Scale (SAS), including a sixth dimension, Harmony. The Iranian immigrants to Canada endorsed views that were intermediate between the other two groups. In the data from Iran, the relationships between social axioms on the one hand and measures of active coping and adjustment on the other were examined. Belief in Reward for Application predicted Active Coping; acknowledgment of Social Complexity predicted Life‐Satisfaction; and endorsement of belief in Harmony predicted Mastery. Those whose beliefs on Harmony and Social Complexity were closer to their country mean were higher on Mastery and Self‐Esteem, but those whose beliefs on Fate Control were closer to the country mean showed lower Life‐Satisfaction.
Social Justice Implications for MFT: The Need for Cross-Cultural Responsiveness
Multicultural sensitivity, cultural responsiveness, and cultural humility are all forms of historical determinism in order to respond to perplexing social realities of disenfranchised and oppressed groups’ experiences with high prevalence of social disparities. Such disparities have been well-documented across significant domains of life. For example, ethnic minorities underutilize mental health service compared to white populations (Pole, Gone, & Kulkarni, 2008) and experience significant cultural bias regarding the process of their treatment (Schulman et al., 1999).
Steadying the Tectonic Plates: On Being Muslim, Feminist Academic, and Family Therapist
This chapter offers the reader multiple ‘mini-narratives’ and defines Islamic feminism and postmodernism which provide the base for the feminist praxis. It weaves between and across the postcolonial and white western feminist constructions of “Muslim women” who have developed a feminism within the context of Islamic tradition and are continuously translating their ideas for change into practice.
Stress and Adaptation among Iranian Families: A Multisystem Model of Personal, Couple, Family, and Work System
This research identifies relationships between stress and adaptation/satisfaction among Iranian families at four system levels: the personal, couple, family and work. Analysis of data from 147 Iranians, including 58 men and 89 women, revealed that stress is negatively related to adaptation/satisfaction at all four areas of life (personal, couple, family, and work). The findings also revealed that couple and family coping resources (problem solving & communication) and couple and family systems (cohesion & flexibility) are highly correlated. Contrary to what were hypothesized, Iranian men and women did not significantly differ with respect to personal and work stress. There were no significant gender effects for personal, couple, family, and work satisfaction, communication, problem solving, cohesion, or flexibility.
The Effectiveness of Couples Therapy Based on the Gottman Method Among Iranian Couples With Conflicts: A Quasi-Experimental Study
This study examined the effectiveness of couple therapy based on the Gottman method in decreasing emotional divorce and improving verbal-nonverbal communication skills among Iranian couples dealing with conflicts. The design of the study was quasi-experimental with pretest and posttest, and a wait list control group. The sample for the study consisted of 14 voluntary couples who sought therapy at a mental health clinic in Iran. Participants were assessed using the Emotional Divorce Scale and Primary Communication Inventory questionnaires. Analysis of covariance models were used. Results of the study showed that the Gottman method reduced emotional divorce and improved their verbal-nonver- bal communication skills.
Theorizing the Process of Leaving a Violent Marriage and Getting a Divorce in Tehran
This study utilized qualitative methods to develop a theory regarding the process used by Tehranian women who leave violent marriages to get a divorce. Findings from semistructured, in-depth interviews with nine women in Tehran who left their abusive husbands suggested that there are six stages in this process: “denial,” “using cognitive and internal strategies to save marriage,” “using behavioral and external strategies to save marriage,” “seeking power to end violence,” “preparation to leave marriage,” and “termination” stage. The implications of this study help therapists working with women in Tehran who are living in violent marriages and provide effective prevention and intervention services that are appropriately targeted to the specific needs of Iranian women.
Veiled Heads: A Middle Eastern Feminist Perspective
“Hardcore Feminist” I called my mother in front of my skeptical and surprised classmates, as I was presenting my family’s three generational genogram many years ago. I felt that there was no other word to describe my stereotype shattering maternal half. My classmates were astounded that these two simple words could be used to describe the mother of me, the veiled Iranian Muslim woman standing before them. The question that even today still rings in my distant memories is: “Don’t you think being Muslim and feminist are kind of mutually exclusive?”
Family Systems Therapy and Postmodern Approaches
Over the past century, due to war, political unrests, and dictatorships, Muslim families from diverse countries with distinct cultural back- grounds have immigrated to a variety of nations across the globe. Therefore, it is difficult to make universal statements about the rela- tionship of Muslim men and women, and their attitudes about family life. Local ethnic, social, and historical factors affect the ways in which the Islamic faith is interpreted and applied. These influences determine how strict and traditional or how flexible and open the interpretation of Islam is in any given place. Most importantly, the attitudes of the fam- ily members toward their own ethnicity and its values, and their own perceptions of their position in the dominant culture influence every Muslim family differently. This is sometimes to the point that even family members have difficulty separating cultural issues from Islamic perspectives. Furthermore, in many Western countries, there has often been confusion regarding what characteristics come from being raised as a Muslim.