Date of Award

5-18-2007

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Degree Program

Counselor Education

Department

Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations

Major Professor

Watson, Zarus

Second Advisor

Herlihy, Barbara

Third Advisor

Paradise, Louis

Abstract

As the demographic landscape of the United States continues to change, counselors along with other helping professionals are going to be challenged to find ways to meet the varying personal, social, and academic needs of an increasingly multiracial, multi-religious, and multicultural population. This study was an attempt to document and explain through an ethnographic study the experiences of six immigrant Arab Muslim women, ranging in age from 21 to 35, living in the United States. Data were gathered in the participants' natural setting, utilizing ethnographic interviews. The general research question was "What are the lived experiences of immigrant Arab Muslim women in the United States?" Secondary questions were: (a) How do Arab American Muslim women perceive themselves culturally? (b) How do Arab American Muslim women describe their specific cultural experiences? (c) What barriers, if any, do Arab American Muslim women experience in their daily lives? (d) What do Arab American Muslim women describe as their support system? And, (e) What are Arab American Muslim women's viewpoints on seeking counseling? The findings reveal that the six immigrant Arab Muslim women participants have difficulty assimilating in a society that differs in values and beliefs from their culture of origin. From a multicultural and feminist point of view, I found that the experiences of the Muslim women can lead to a counseling curriculum that educates and informs in-coming counselors and encourages the seasoned mental health professionals to target their services toward this group. Support from friends and family or lack there of, played a major role in the women's integration. By learning about the experiences in their day to day lives, what they need, how they feel and react to those experiences, counselors and other helping professionals are more informed and better equipped to recruit, retain, and assist Arab American Muslim women in counseling.

Rights

The University of New Orleans and its agents retain the non-exclusive license to archive and make accessible this dissertation or thesis in whole or in part in all forms of media, now or hereafter known. The author retains all other ownership rights to the copyright of the thesis or dissertation.

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