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

Ellie Brown, Annie Topping, Richard Cheston

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
167 Downloads (Pure)


IntroductionMental 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.

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).

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. There was substantial consensus between clinicians and policymakers.

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 organisation‐level barriers. Addressing these barriers is likely to require a multifaceted 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)441-454
Number of pages14
JournalCounselling and Psychotherapy Research
Issue number4
Early online date29 Jul 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2019


  • barriers
  • concept mapping
  • health services research
  • mental health
  • mixed methods
  • psychological therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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