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Paul Priester

Professor, Rehabilitation Counseling

Northern Illinois University


12-Step Recovery

This presentation will explore the question of whether the Twelve Step model is culturally appropriate for use by Muslims. First, potential barriers for use of this model with Muslims will be identified. Second, Paul will share results of a field study that he completed, exploring the use of the Twelve Step model in Turkey and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Finally, an Islam-based version of the Twelve Step model (Milati Islami) will be presented.

Paul Priester


Dr. Priester has worked in the substance use disorders treatment field for over 30 years. He has a Master's degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Iowa and a Ph. D. in Counseling Psychology from Loyola University, Chicago. His research interests include: best practices in training Recovery Support Specialists, the integration of spirituality into counseling, the training of clinicians to use culturally relevant techniques in counseling, the interface of Islam and psychology, the use of popular films (especially horror films) as an adjunctive tool in counseling, and the culturally relevant mental health treatment of Muslim refugees. He currently works as the Chair of the School of Interdisciplinary Health Professions and as a Professor in Rehabilitation Counseling at Northern Illinois University. In addition to his academic activities, he owns and operate two organic farms in Wisconsin (Happy Destiny Farm). Paul is in long term recovery which means for him, that he has not used IV drugs, gotten drunk or high for 33 years.

Does the Twelve Step model work for Muslims?

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