Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy


Douglas G. Flemons

Committee Member

Shelley K. Green

Committee Member

Kara Erolin


Since family therapy was brought only recently to Saudi Arabia, studies exploring the field in this context are few. This dissertation will be the first to focus on the self of the Saudi Arabian family therapist (SAFT). In particular, it will be the first to pay close attention to SAFTs’ ways of dealing with the differing and, perhaps, incompatible epistemologies of Saudi culture and religion on one side, and systemic thinking and family therapy on the other. This study seeks to shed a phenomenological light on what informs SAFTs and what influences their work. Using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA), I interviewed seven SAFTs, identifying the challenges they encounter as they undertake their practice, and clarifying how these therapists are adapting Western knowledge vis-à-vis the Saudi culture. An old saying in Arabic conveys the self-reflective challenge of examining epistemological assumptions. We say “a camel can’t look at its own hump.” This dissertation is an attempt to at least steal a glance at it.

Included in

Epistemology Commons