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LISTEN, QUESTION, AND CREATE: A PASTORAL COUNSELOR’S ENCOUNTER IN DUBAI Christie Eppler, Ph.D *all photos taken with permission

Markuly, Wilson Bridges, and Olive (2010) advocated that interreligious dialogue requires a “sophisticated ability to listen to others, to question one’s own assumptions, to create an ethos of mutual trust, and to achieve a level of communication that arises from the habit of testing each other’s assumptions together.”

Dubai: A Phenomenological Encounter of Culture and Tradition


The goal of this project was for me to gain knowledge and awareness of modern, Middle Eastern and Islamic culture through education and a lived experience.


What Propels Us?

Dubai: Two Brothers






Desalinated H2O

Two Brothers +  

~150 nationalities are represented in Dubai. Immigrants expressed gratitude for safe community A Pakistani told me he liked living with Filipinos because they are full of peace  A woman from Buenos Aires left her home because she did not feel safe. After not seeing daylight working on cruise ships, she signed up for a year of working in Dubai. She will face steep fines if she leaves before her year is complete 

And, some expressed distain for a pro-Western, consumer culture

Perceptions Regarding Citizens

Afforded free education, health care Receive monthly stipend for each number child Receive housing if they have X number of children Encouraged to marry (via arranged marriage) other Emirati (wedding expenses covered)

Perceptions Regarding Immigrants

 

Even if born in Dubai cannot become citizens Pay 70% in taxes Many sign year-long work contracts. Must pay for travel, room/board if they leave before the year Many immigrants see indicate they are the “workers” while UAE citizens have posh government jobs. “Tourist only see Emirati at passport control and at the mall”, said one man who worked in Dubai.

Two Brothers

Two Brothers Dubai Mall was “bailed out” in 2009 by the Abu Dhabi’s Sheik. Soon after, signs on malls’ entrances indicated promotion of traditional values: conservative dress, no public display of affection, etc.


Spiritual Gifts in Dubai Awareness of Holy




Beliefs & Meaning



Ritual & Practice

Community & Relationships

Authority & Guidance



ECOMAP Pick a Spiritual/Islamic Word and Connect Spheres to indicate what gives you energy and what draws your energy away

Vibrant, Modern

Brings in Others

e.g., Hospitality

Increase focus on Materialism

Potential to Dilute Traditions

Questions For Community, For Self: How does hospitality give life? Inhibit life? How can I/we create balance in our spheres?

Pastoral Counseling: Listening, Questioning and Creating with Individuals, Families, and Communities 

Pastoral Counselors Professionally Integrate Psychotherapy and Spirituality ( Pastoral Counselors must have knowledge of other cultural traditions and spiritual practices in order to assist clients to develop and use the clients’ own faith practices when striving for wholeness and growth

Listening, Questioning, Creating Staying Present


Being Clear

Being Open

Thank You!

Building Awareness of a Modern, Muslim Community: Christie Eppler PhD  

The goal of this project was to gain knowledge and awareness of modern, Middle Eastern and Muslim culture through education and lived experi...

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