These workshops are provided to the communities upon request by the local community agencies, such as, Masaajid, Islamic organizations, or other local groups. A request may be made via the website, www.shifa.ca, by filling out a Request for Workshop form.

The cost includes airfare, boarding and lodging, and workshop fees.

All workshops are participatory and interactive. Questions and Answers are through and through. The common intent of all the workshop is not just to provide information, but to make the participant learn more about themselves, share their experiences, and inspire them to change for the better and learn to handle the life issues in more a healthy way.

All workshops are at least half a day long (3.5 hours). Some are a full day (7 hours). They may be shortened to a 1.5 – 2 hour seminars, but the audience participation will be minimal.

Workshop may also be tailor made to meet the specific needs of the communities or training.

Community Workshops

Living a Balanced Life

We are continuously struggling and often failing in meeting life’s changing demands with respect to ourselves, our families, our jobs, our friends, our neighbors, our community and our faith. We often become overwhelmed with these changing needs and demands that stress us out and at times leave us depressed, confused and helpless. Many becomes overly focused on one aspect of life thereby ignoring the other more important aspects. For example, becoming solely preoccupied with our work, our career golas, having fun, etc., and as a result ignoring the needs of our soul, our spouses and children and the obligations to Allah.

This workshop is designed to:
1. To identify some of the Life Pressures and Demands in our Life.
2. To understand how people are handling them generally now, and
3. And to lean how to best handle all these pressures through Living a Balanced Life.

Effective Communication

There are literally thousands of books, papers and articles written on the importance of effective communication in our relationships. How often people complain about having communication problems. There would hardly be a person who would deny the need for good communication, but sadly most people are lacking the skills required for effective communication.

This workshop is designed with the following objectives:
1. Understanding the process of communication.
2. What are the factors that make it effective or ineffective.
3. What skills are necessary for effective communication.
4. Creating a family environment that promotes open and honest communication, and
5. How we can promote mutual trust necessary for effective communication.

Conflict Resolution

This workshop is second in the series on Effective Communication. Effective Communication must be learned first before being able to resolve conflicts effectively.

This workshop is designed to assist the participants:
1. In learning to identify the nature of conflicts;
2. In sharing their present conflicts and consequences thereof; and
3. To provides an opportunity to learn effective conflict resolution skills based on self-awareness, communication skills, and Islamic principles.

Anger Management 

Allah (s.w.t.) has created ‘anger’ so that it may serve as a weapon to defend you from harmful things; and He created desire to help you move towards what is
beneficial for you. But, when these two go to an extreme, they become harmful and like a fire in your heart, which fills your brain with smoke and darkens the sources of intelligence and wisdom rendering you unable to think of and understand long range consequences of your actions. This is why our elders
have called them ‘Wisdom Robbers’.

This workshop is designed to assist participants
1. Understand the nature of anger – its purpose, causes,expressions and effects.
2. To learn what make them angry and why; and
3. To manage and express it without any damage to self and others.

Conflicts and Struggles of Muslim Women (for sisters) 

This workshop is designed for the Muslim sisters with the following goals.
1. To provide Muslim sisters an opportunity to voice and share their conrflicts and struggles.
2. To understand some of the current and historical issues leading to these conflicts and struggles.
3. To learn about the nature of men and women from an Islamic perspective.
4. To discuss the roles, rights and responsibilities of men and women in Islam, and
5. To learn how and when to struggle and for what, and get rid of the conflicts.

Choice – Do we have any?

How many times do we hear people complain, “I have no choice”, or “I had no choice”. We often make ourselves believe that we must keep suffering, we must keep trying more of the same that we already know does not work, because we see no other choice. Do we really not have any choice in anything?

The objectives of this workshop are:
1. To understand the concept of Choices.
2. To understand the importance of making choices and their implications and consequences in this life and the life hereafter.
3. To understand our freedoms and limitations with respect to making choices.
4. To learn the proper process of making choices, and
5. To know how there is always a choice.

We are always Changing, but are we growing?

A man claims to be short tempered. He says this runs in his genes. His father, uncle, etc., were all short tempered. He gets violent with his wife and children, but claims that he loves them, that he cannot change how he is. Interestingly, the same man, when at work, does not lose his temper, does not get verbally or physically abusive, and is often known as a nice man. So, what changes him to be a genetically angry and short tempered man at home?

The fact is that we are continuously changing, but often unconsciously until somethings happens to make us notice what we have become. This workshop is designed to:
1. Help the participant realize that they are all changing all the time.
2. To realize that the on-going unconscious and uncontrolled change process almost always results in dehumanizing us, and
3. To learn to take charge of the change process actively so that positive changes may occur in ourselves ensuring continuous growth.

Dealing with Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are very common emotional problems. Literally, millions of men and women suffer from these around the world. These are often treated with psychotropic medications. Unless the root causes of these problems are understood and appropriately dealt with, many people will become totally dependent upon the medications for the relief of the symptoms.

This workshop is designed to assist those who are suffering from these problems.

The objectives of this workshop are:

1. To understand the nature, symptoms, and causes of depression
2. To provide an opportunity for the participants to share their personal experiences with these issues.
3. To learn the difference between Depression and Anxiety as a mental disorders, and normal sadness and worries which are also often labeled as Depression and Anxiety.
4. To learn what makes one vulnerable to these mental/emotional problems.and
5. To learn how to effectively prevent and deal with these issues.

Stress Management

Stress takes it toll on our physical, mental, emotional and spiritual life. If stress is not properly dealt with, it may lead to more severe medical and emotional problems. This workshop deals with:

1. Understanding the nature of stress – what it is all about, and what causes it.
2. It’s effect on our body, mind and soul,
3. What are some of the most effective ways of dealing with it and avoiding it?

Mental Health and Mental Illness

There is a lot of misunderstanding and misconception about mental health and mental illness amongst the Muslim communities. Often psychological and emotional problems are seen as a sign of weakness and weak Iman – something to hide and shameful. Some chalk these issues out to magic (sahar) and the influcence of Jinns. Consequently, they don’t seek appropriate help. Either they silently keep suffering, attribute it to their fate, or they seek help from the wrong sources for the wrong reasons.

The objective of this workshops are:

1. To explain the concept of Mental Health and Mental Illness.
2. To remove the prevailing misconceptions – Good Muslims won’t suffer from Mental Illnesses.
3. To Understand the difference between normal life issues we all suffer from within ourselves and in our relationships and true mental, psychological, behavioral and emotional problems.
4. To encourage the participants to share their experiences with these issues, and
5. To learn what is counseling and psychotherapy all about, and how does it help relieve these issues or manage them appropriately, and

Time Management

Why do so many people complain about not having enough time and not being able to manage time properly? Interestingly, many of them are able to find time for extracurricular activities, but not for some important things in life, such as getting the work done in a timely fashion, spending some quality time the family, and fulfill the requirements of their faith.

This workshop is designed with the goals of:

1. Helping the audience reflect upon and understand what factors play a role in making it difficult to manage time properly.
2. How to remove the barriers in effectively managing their time, and
3. Giving them some strategies to manage time properly, get done what needs to be done in a timely fashion, and reduce the stress of always rushing to do everything last minute.

Unique Struggles of the New-Comers (Reverts) to Islam

This workshop is designed especially for the Reverts to Islam. It addresses the issues and struggles that are unique to them and are often get ignored by the larger Muslim community.

The objectives of the workshop are:

1. To have the participants share their on-going struggles, and
2. T provide guidance in how to effectively deal with some of the following oft mentioned issues.
– Learning and properly understanding the new faith.
– Differentiating between Culture and Religion.
– Effectively dealing with the variations in the interpretation of beliefs and practice.
– Coming to terms with the hypocrisy in practice.
– Re-establishing a good support system.
– Selecting a spouse – Warnings and Cautions, and
– Marriage and the rights of the husband and wife.

It is a full day workshop, or it may be broken down in to two half day workshops.

Learning to Move on – Dealing with Trauma 

This workshop is designed to assist the Muslim families and communities in effectively dealing with traumatic events in a family or in a community. Every now and then some scary and threatening events happen in a community which affects the entire community. Our Muslim communities generally do not have any support services readily available to console and effectively guide the family/community members through it and to help them move on.

The objectives of this workshop are:

1. To provide an opportunity to the participants to freely express their perceptions and emotions of the recent traumatic experience.
2. To help them understand the nature of Trauma and its effects and possible outcomes on a person’s life, and
3. To arrange for individual assistance for the more severely affected persons, and
4. To guide through the healing and moving on process.

Marriage, Family and Parenting

Happy Marriages – Healthy Families

Why are large numbers of Marriages and Families unhealthy these days? Why is there such a high divorce rate in our Muslim communities? Why do have so many issues with our youth today? Why is it that these issues are not getting resolved? The one answer to these question is that we don’t have a proper understanding of what marriage is all about. We don’t know the rights and responsibilities of a husband and wife towards each other, or we don’t care about them. If a husband and wife are not happy and content with other. If they don’t have a happy marriage, it is unlikely that they would have a happy and healthy family. This workshop is designed to address these issues and teach ways of bringing happiness back into the marriages and raising healthy families.

Learning Objectives:

1. To properly understand the concepts of Marriage and Family
2. What does it take to achieve a Happy Marriage and a Healthy Family?
3. To share personal experiences with Marriages and Families

Preparing to Get Married (for young brothers and sisters)

Despite the fact that many of our young men and women are tying so hard to find ‘compatible’ spouses and spending significant time in ‘getting to know’ each other for months and in some cases years, the marriages in Muslim communities are breaking down at an alarming rate. Marital problems begin very early in the marriage. And young single mothers with small children without any support system are not uncommon.

This workshop is designed to:

1. Bring a clear understanding of what marital life is all about?
2. When is a person ready for marriage?
3. The important factors in selecting a spouse.
4. Exploring the concepts of’compatibility’, ‘love’, and ‘mercy’, and
5. Understanding the founding blocks of a successful marriage.

It is conducted separately for men and women.

Facilitating your Children’s Marriage (for parents)

This workshop is intended for the parents of the marriageable age children. Many of our parents suffer from the stress of finding the ‘right’ spouses for their children. They assume the sole responsibility of finding the spouses and getting them married. Living in a western country away from their extended families and support system, and raising their children who are often quite westernized, doubles the stress. Then, there are some parents who try to find spouses for their children in the same ways spouses were found for them by their parents in their homeland. This often resuslts in major issues between them and their children and the extended families back home.

The objectives of this workshop are to:

1. Discuss the parents’ role in facilititating their children’s marriages.
2. Provide an opportunity for the parents to share their values in this regard.
3. Help them realize that the sustomay ways of finding spouses back home no longer are effective or even workable here and now, and
4. Make them aware of the new realities and to guide them to learn better ways of facilitating and supporting their children’s marriages.

Marriages – Avoiding Common Pitfalls

This workshop is designed to assist recently married couples to identify the common daily issues in a couple’s life that may open up cracks in their relationship, and how to avoid and prevent them. The goals are to:

1. Have them go through a list of commonly occuring issues in daily life.
2. Share their own experiences in this regard, and
3. Provide concrete advice on how to effectively deal with these issues so as not let them become problems.

Effective Handling of Marital Problems – Preventing Marriage Breakdowns

There is no marriage without any marital problems, but these problems don’t need to become perpetual. Often, when these problems are allowed to go on without any resolution, they will ultimately close up the hearts and break the emotional bond between spouses and lead to a breakdown of marriage. Once the emotional bond is broken, love disappears and bitterness towards each other flourishes. It is very difficult to rebuild this bond at this stage.

This workshop is intended to help the couples:

1. Realize that problems are a normal part of all relationships.
2. Problems do not occue single-handedly.
3. Instead of blaming each other, taking respective responsibility for their role and share in the problems goes a long way to resolving them, and
4. Learning the proper ways of resolving the problem as quickly as they occur

Child Development

Since most parents are unaware of the normal developmental needs of a growing child – physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual, they tend to treat all their children, whether they are 5 or 25 years old, in the same manner. For example, a parent should not discipline a 2 year old, a 5 year old and a 15 year old child in the same manner. A child’s needs are continuously changing as they grow. If parents are in tune with these changing needs, they cannot be expected to fulfill them appropriately allowing their child to grow normally.

This workshop is designed for parents to learn about the children’s changing needs from birth to the adulthood. It identifies the developmental needs of each stage and provides tips for proper handling of them at each stage of development.

Parenting – Raising Responsible Children

This workshop is designed for parents with the following objectives:

1. To provide a thorough understanding of the parents roles, responsibilities and accountabilities in raising the children.
2. To discuss, what is responsible parenting.
3. To understand the changing needs of a child during his journey from infancy to adulthood.
4. To understand how the parenting style must change with the changing needs of the child, and
5. To understand how marital relationship between fathers and mothers may effect the upbringing of the child.

Family Violence and Domestic Abuse

The family violence and domestic abuse cases in Muslim families are increasingly being brought to the attention of the authority. Often, the victims, the family and the community keep quiet about these incidents even when they become aware of for the fear of losing the family and/or the children if they came out in the open. There is an urgent need in Muslim communities to educate the families about the domestic abuse issues, how to prevent them, and how to deal with them effectively when do occur.

The objectives of this workshop are to:

1. Clarify what constitutes abuse, what are different forms of it, and how it may be recognized.
2. Identify the psychological, emotional, social, and cultural factors that result in domestic abuse, and
3. Teach how to prevent and deal with abuse in homes effectively and safely.

My Children don’t Respect Me – Parent-Child Relationship Issues

When parent-child relationship breask down, the whole family suffers. The parents begin to feel sad and angry that their children don’t respect them, and the children begin to get angry and rebellious complaining that their parents don’t understand them.

This workshop is designed for the parents with the following objectives:

1. To provide an opportunity to discuss personal experiences with respect to the feeling – My children don’t respect me
2. To understand the dynamics of the relationship between parents and children in the present circumstances, and
3. To discuss ideas and develop a plan to create a family environment of mutual respect and care.

Sexual Development and Maturity (for parents)

The issues related to sexuality, such as, gender identity, homesoxuality and lesbianism, same sex attraction, and sexual preferences, etc., are increasingly causing problems in our youth and as a result in our families. Unfortunately, parents are not equipped nor do they often feel comfortable to guide their children in their normal sexual development.

This workshop is designed for the parents with the following objectives:

1. To bring a better understanding of sexual development from a Biological, Physiological, Psychological, Social and Emotional Perspective.
2. The teachings of Ilsam about sexual development, the nature of men and women in this regard, and the code of conduct for the interpersonal relationship between men and women, and
3. To provide concrete guidance about how to facilitate and guide the sexual development in their children at various stages of their sexual development.

Hello Facebook – Contemporary Youth issues with New Technologies (for parents)

New technologies today – Internet, Smart Phones, Video Games, Ipad and Ipod, Credit Cards, and Socia Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), are having a huge impact on our youth and families. Often parents are unaware of the capabilities of these technologies; the power these have to brain wash and destroy our minds and especially the young tender minds and souls of our growing children. Without this knowledge, the parents are incapable and helpless to educate their children about the proper use of these devices, or to place proper controles over their use in the family.

This workshop deals with:

1. Educating the parens about the usefulness and destructivenss of these technologies.
2. Sharing case examples of the ill effects of these on our youth and families.
3. Warning signs of their destructive effects, and
3. Providing concrete guidance about how to place appropriate controls in home for their use, and how to prevent their abuse.

Workshops for Youth

Growing up in non-Muslim Environment – Struggles of our Youth

Growing up in an environment with two very different sets of values of what is right and what is wrong is never easy. It causes a great pressure on our youth, and the pressures are from both internal (home) and external (school, friends, work) sources. Wat are some such pressures our youth have been facing in home, in school, with friends, in community, in their religion, and within themselves.

This workshop is especially designed for Muslim youth who are struggling to survive in a non-Muslim environment. The objectives are to:
1. To have the youth identify their pressures and struggles in their daily life,and how these are affecting their daily life.
2. To discuss in the group how are they presently dealing/coping with these pressures, and
3. To teach them more effective and efficient ways of dealing with them using their own strengths.

Integration of Muslim Youth – Psychological, Emotional and Spiritual Issues

This workshop is the second part of the “Growing up in non-Muslim Environment – Struggles of our Youth.” The objectives of this workshop are:
1. To identify and understand the Pressures they feel growing up in Western culture.
2. To understand what causes these struggles.
3. To understand the advantages and dangers of growing in in non-Muslim environment, and
4. To learn how to become a constructive part of this society without loosing their self-identity, values, beliefs and moral character.

Building a healthy Self-Identity and Self-Image

An alarming number of our young boys and girls are going through an identity crisis, and, in many cases, the parents also suffer from the same confusion. In such a multi-value and multi-belief environment, it is not easy to figure out who you truly are and who you want to be. Our children struggle to be everything, and often end up with nothing, or something that has limited value in this life, neglecting the everlasting life hereafter. Many of our youth have begun to doubt their faith and have many questions about their beliefs that remain unanswered. They unknowingly and unnoticeably are moving out of Islam, and some are even openly declaring it to their parents.

This workshop is intended both for the parents and the youth. The objective of these workshops is to guide the parents and the youth how to promote and develop a healthy self-identity and self-image that is based on our true identity – being the servants and the representatives of Allah (swt) on this earth.

My Parents’ don’t understand Me – Parent-Child Relationship Issues

When the relationship begins to break down between parents and children, not only the parents but children also begin to feel not respected and not understood. If this goes on for too long, children tend to drift away from home and find refuge with friends who can understand them better going through such issues in their own life.

The objectives of this workshop is:
1. To provide an opportunity to discuss personal experiences with respect to the feeling – My Parents don’t understand me.
2. To understand the dynamics of the relationship between parents and children in the present circumstances.
3. To teach better communication skills enabling them to understand each other better, and conflict resolution skills to resolve the differences, and
4. To create a family environment of mutual respect, responsibilities and accountability.

Sexual Development and Maturity (Separately for young brothers and sisters)

The issues related to sexuality, such as, gender identity, homesoxuality and lesbianism, same sex attraction, and sexual preferences, etc., are increasingly causing problems in our youth and as a result in our families. Unfortunately, the youth does not have proper guidance to understand normal sexual development – what is normal and what is not. Most of their information on the subject from friends, what is being taught in the school, what they see young men and women doing, internet and movies.

This workshop is conducted separately for males and femles. There is also a separate workshop intended for the parents. It is designed for the youth with the following objectives:

1. To bring a better understanding of sexual development from a Biological, Physiological, Psychological, Social and Emotional Perspective.
2. The teachings of Ilsam about sexual development, the nature of men and women in this regard, and the code of conduct for the interpersonal relationship between men and women, and
3. How to handle their own sexuality in private and in public.

Hello Facebook – Contemporary Youth issues with New Technologies

New technologies today – Internet, Smart Phones, Video Games, Ipad and Ipod, Credit Cards, and Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, etc.), are having a huge impact on our youth and families. Many young and old have become so addicted to these that their school, work and family life is noticeably suffering. The interest in education is lost and the and communication at home is reduced to minimal. Unknowingly many are ending up in wrongful things setting themself up for psychological, emotional and social hurts.

This workshop deals with:

1. Educating the children about the usefulness and destructivenss of these technologies.
2. Sharing case examples of the ill effects of these on our youth and families.
3. Warning signs of their destructive effects, and
3. Providing concrete guidance about how to use these devices gainfully and how to protect themselves from their harm.

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Effectively Managing Peer Pressures and Bullying

This workshop is designed to:

1. Help the youth understand what makes them susceptible to Peer Pressures and Bullying.
2. Improve their self-confidence and remove their fears, and
3. Teach them the effective ways of dealing with Peer Pressures and Bullying.

Dealing with Addictions

This workshop is intended to:

1. Help the youth understand what leads to an addiction and how some seemingly benign pleasures quietly take roots and become addictions.
2. Show the effects of these addictions on a person’s whole life through actual case examples, and
3. Teach them how to enjoy the legitimately enjoyable things without becoming addicted to them, for all addiction undoubtedly will lead to failures in life.

When you know it’s wrong, why do you do it?

All of us at one time or another have done things and still do things which we know are wrong, but we go ahead and do them any way – Why?

The goals of this workshop are:

1. To share and discuss why we end up doing wrong things knowing they are wrong.
2. The youth’s active participation will help them learn more about human nature and themselves.
3. To clarify what makes somthing right or wrong and who decides it, and
4. To develop a strong will to resist their desires and stop themselves before wrong no longer seems wrong.