Group Therapy - CIT

Culturally Informed Therapy (CIT) for Muslims Across Florida

Our team is currently offering a free 15-week, remote (via Zoom) group therapy for Muslims across Florida. Groups are currently offered in English, to individuals with general mental health concerns (such as stress, depression, anxiety, and communication difficulties). We also offer a separate group for individuals with serious mental illness (such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective, and bipolar disorder). Below, we answer some common questions about CIT!

What is CIT?

There have been different versions of CIT over the years. Culturally Informed Therapy for Muslims is a remote, group therapy designed to assist Muslims in improving their quality of life and wellbeing through a spiritually integrated cognitive behavioral therapy program. CIT emphasizes each person's religious/spiritual values and culture throughout the intervention. CIT takes 15 weeks to complete and covers 5 main areas: collectivism (i.e., your connection to other people in your social world), mental health education, spiritual and religious coping, communication training, and problem-solving.  Each session lasts approximately 75 minutes, with a maximum of eight clients per group. Importantly, CIT is part of an ongoing research study. Members who participate may not only benefit from the therapy, but will assist us in making later versions of CIT better for future Muslim clients. 

Dr. Amy Weisman de Mamani developed CIT-S (Culturally Informed Therapy for Schizophrenia) over the course of her career. The original CIT-S is described in her manual Culturally Informed Therapy for Schizophrenia: a family focused Cognitive Behavioral Approach. Though original iterations were primarily for individuals with serious mental illness and their families, she has since expanded this therapy to be applicable for a range of mental health concerns. Unfortunately, though previous versions of CIT were open to all religious groups, we did not have enough Muslim clients to examine its effectiveness for Muslims in particular. The MAP team's initial research was focused on better understanding the needs of Muslim clients in order to adapt CIT for their ongoing needs. We hope to continue improving CIT for Muslims as we receive feedback and review the results of this study.

Does CIT work?

CIT has been tested among various groups over the last few years, and has shown to be efficacious in improving both mental health symptoms and measures of general well-being, including quality of life and greater usage of religious and spiritual coping strategies. In a pilot study conducted among people with schizophrenia, CIT-S proved more effective than a psychoeducation-only comparison condition in reducing psychiatric symptoms (Weisman de Mamani et al., 2014). In a study of caregivers of individuals with schizophrenia who went through CIT-S, Weisman de Mamani and Suro (2016) found that the intervention outperformed a psychoeducation-only condition in reducing caregiver burden as well as guilt/shame. Maura and Weisman de Mamani (2018) also found that CIT-S administered in a multifamily group format was similarly effective in reducing psychiatric symptoms. Furthermore, the intervention has demonstrated superiority to a psychoeducation-only comparison condition in reducing depression, anxiety, and stress in both people with schizophrenia and their caregivers (Brown & Weisman de Mamani, 2018). In this same study, it was found found that CIT-S increased family cohesion, and this change appeared to mediate the treatment effect on psychiatric symptoms. See Weisman de Mamani et al. (2021) for a detailed review of the previous efficacy studies and a step-by-step approach to delivering the intervention in a family format.

At the same time, CIT must be assessed in various other groups and settings in order to determine its generalizability across contexts. In a collaboration with the Coral Gables United Church of Christ, we delivered CIT for both serious mental illnesses and general mental health concerns (via separate groups) to community members, and found that participants reported significantly improved quality of life and greater usage of religious and spiritual coping strategies (Weisman de Mamani et al., In Press). At this stage, we aim to deliver CIT and CIT-S to Muslims across Florida to assess the efficacy of the interventions in addressing this population's mental health difficulties, building connectedness with others, and facilitating engagement with positive religious and spiritual coping strategies.

What are the benefits of group therapy?

Group therapy involves multiple clients and one-to-two therapists. In group therapy, providers will often adapt the content of the sessions to meet the needs of as many clients as possible. Clients will have the opportunity to talk to therapist(s) as well as other clients about their problems and difficulties. Both therapists and clients will offer feedback, support, and ideas. 

Some clients feel nervous about joining group therapy; they have concerns about being judged, shamed, or lacking privacy. However, most clients feel differently after the first session. In group therapy, you meet others who are going through similar difficulties which can make you feel less alone. You also get the benefit of the insights/experience/knowledge of the therapists and other group members.

Unlike individual therapy, you share the therapy time with other group members. Some people find this helpful; they learn from the experiences of others who are speaking. The group format also helps the therapists see your communication skills in real time, and allows them and other group members to give you helpful feedback. 

You may continue to see an individual therapist while being involved in our group. At times, we may recommend individual therapy for difficulties that need more time and attention. Our team is always happy to provide you with referrals. 

Testimonials from Muslims who have attended CIT-M

1. "I'm very happy that I had the opportunity to take part in the Muslim American Project's Culturally Informed Therapy for Muslims. In the past I had participated in therapy, but I never felt that my therapist understood the issues I was facing as a Muslim. I ended up stopping therapy after putting in quite a lot of effort because I felt frustrated for not being understood. When I came across the Muslim American Project I was intrigued. I thought that this might be the place where I would be understood. I had never had group therapy, only one to one, so I was concerned that somehow my privacy would be invaded or that others in the group would be judgemental.  I really wasn't sure what to expect. 

In the end, I found that everyone's privacy was respected. The therapists took great care to choose members that would form a cohesive group. We learned how to address our problems in a way that respected Islam and our cultural beliefs and we learned from each other. The learning process  took place for nearly half a year of weekly Zoom meetings and I made a lot of progress working through some of the issues I was facing. We were taught techniques that we could use on our own to analyse and sort out our problems. Culturally informed therapy has really made a difference in my life." - Sister

2. "When I came across Culturally Informed Therapy for Muslims, I did not know what to expect. I had never heard of therapy specifically designed for Muslims. Having finished the therapy, I can definitely say that the quality of my life has changed for the better. Throughout the sessions, my spiritual values and culture were made relevant and this immensely helped me see topics in a different light. I appreciated the therapists approach of integrating spirituality with therapy, I felt it was just the right amount of both. I learned important life skills such as problem solving and healthy communication. This experience immensely improved my mental well-being and I am very thankful for that."  - Sister

How do I join?

CIT is part of an ongoing research study. When you call or email us, a research assistant will get in touch with you to ask you basic questions in order to set up an interview with one of our therapists. Prior to our interview, a consent form will be reviewed with you and a therapist will answer any follow-up questions you have. After completing the interview, we will ask you for your availability and put you on a waitlist. Once we have enough clients to start a group, we will begin! Throughout the therapy process, we will ask you to complete questionnaires. This will allow us to determine whether the therapy is working and how to improve future versions.

In order to participate, you must speak English and be in Florida during sessions.

Please call or email us!


*Phone: ‪(305) 771-4366‬

*All incoming calls go directly to voicemail. Some clients have noted their phone companies label our number as spam.


Brown, C. A., & Weisman de Mamani, A. (2018). The mediating effect of family cohesion in reducing patient symptoms and family distress in a culturally informed family therapy for schizophrenia: A parallel-process latent-growth model. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 86(1), 1–14.

Maura, J., & Weisman de Mamani, A. (2018). The feasibility of a culturally informed group therapy for patients with schizophrenia and their family members. Psychotherapy (Chic), 55(1), 27-38. doi: 10.1037/pst0000109. 

Weisman de Mamani, A. Altamirano, O., Lopez, D., McLaughlin, M., Maura, J., Martinez de Andino, A., Ahmad, S.S., Hafner, L., Lund, S. (In Press). Culturally informed therapy: An intervention that addresses the psychological needs of religious individuals of diverse identities. In P. S. Richards, G. E. K. Allen, D. K. Judd (Eds.), Handbook of Spiritually Integrated Psychotherapies. American Psychological Association.

Weisman de Mamani, A., Lopez, D., McLaughlin, M. M., Ahmad, S. S., Altamirano, O. (2022). A pilot study to assess the feasibility and efficacy of a transdiagnostic, religiously/spiritually integrated, culturally informed therapy. Spirituality in Clinical Practice. Advance online publication.

Weisman de Mamani, A., McLaughlin, M., Altamirano, O., & Lopez, D., Ahmad, S.S. (2021). Culturally informed therapy for Schizophrenia: A family-focused cognitive behavioral approach, clinician guide. Oxford University Press.

Weisman de Mamani, A. & Suro, G. (2016). The effect of a culturally-informed therapy on self-conscious emotions and burden in caregivers of patients with Schizophrenia. A randomized clinical trial. Psychotherapy, 53, 57-67.

Weisman de Mamani, A., Weintraub, M. J., Gurak, K., & Maura, J. (2014). A randomized clinical trial to test the efficacy of a family-focused, culturally informed therapy for schizophrenia. Journal of Family Psychology, 28(6), 800-810. doi:10.1037/fam0000021