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What are the barriers to accessing psychological therapy in Qatar: A concept mapping study

Brown, Ellie; Topping, Annie; Cheston, Richard


Ellie Brown

Annie Topping


Introduction: Mental health problems are highly prevalent throughout the world; however, all too frequently individuals do not receive treatment. Psychological therapy is a potentially successful intervention but barriers to access are likely to vary across countries and cultures and could be better understood. This paper aimed to identify perceived barriers to accessing psychological therapy for people living in Qatar in the Middle East.

Methods: A mixed methodology known as concept mapping was used to investigate the views of mental health clinicians and policymakers. Participants were invited to brainstorm the issue (qualitative data), then sort these barriers into groups (clusters), and rate them in terms of perceived importance (quantitative data).

Results: Fifteen clinicians and 11 policymakers took part in this study. A nine-cluster concept map was produced with the following titles; Stigma, Impact of the family, Cultural implications, Stigma impacting on reality, Cross-cultural Therapy, Workforce and training, Local (mis)understanding of therapy, Structural problems within the country and East meets West.

Discussion: We concluded that there are numerous barriers to accessing psychological therapy in Qatar. All participants rated barriers relating to the individual as having a greater impact on individual’s access to therapy than organization level barriers. Addressing these barriers is likely to require a multi-faceted response involving health policy as well as political and sociological level changes. The views of service users and their families also need to be explored.


Brown, E., Topping, A., & Cheston, R. (2019). What are the barriers to accessing psychological therapy in Qatar: A concept mapping study. Counselling and Psychotherapy Research, 19(4), 441-454.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 2, 2019
Online Publication Date Jul 29, 2019
Publication Date Dec 1, 2019
Deposit Date Jul 4, 2019
Publicly Available Date Jul 30, 2021
Journal Counselling and Psychotherapy Research
Print ISSN 1473-3145
Electronic ISSN 1746-1405
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 19
Issue 4
Pages 441-454
Keywords barriers, psychological therapy, concept mapping, mental health, mixed methods, health services research
Public URL