Visiting Shrines: A Turkish Religious Practice and Its Mental Health Implications

Canel-Cinarbas D., Ciftci A., Bulgan G.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL FOR THE ADVANCEMENT OF COUNSELLING, vol.35, no.1, pp.16-32, 2013 (ESCI) identifier identifier


The purpose of the present study was to explore through qualitative methodology the practice of visiting shrines, a religious practice indigenous to Turkish Muslims, and its potential mental health benefits. Thirteen individuals were interviewed at two shrines in Istanbul, Turkey. The researchers focused on visitors' presenting issues, beliefs regarding the practice, the mental health benefits of the visit, and the behaviors that the visitors engaged in during their visit. The data were analyzed using the Consensual Qualitative Research method. Five domains emerged from the data: (i) degree of religiosity and duties, (ii) knowledge and beliefs about shrines, (iii) purpose of visits, (iv) activities during the visit, and (v) experience and impact of the visit. The findings were discussed based on the mental health benefits of visiting shrines and the counseling and cultural implications.