Best Self-Help & Counselling in Arabic in 2022


Self-Help & Counselling in Arabic

The development and evaluation of an Internet-based self-help program in Arabic is in progress. With modest adaptations, the material was found to be acceptable. This development may reflect the changing discourse of mental health in the Middle East and among Arab immigrants, where traditional explanations of mental illness are being replaced with psychological and biological explanations, which are more consistent with the contemporary Western perspective. Ultimately, these findings will inform the design of effective programs to address the language and cultural barriers that often prevent people from seeking professional help.

Process evaluation

A recent study evaluated an online intervention, SbS (Self-Help in Arabic), that uses behavioral activation techniques and stress management to promote health and well-being. This intervention is delivered through a website and is based on a narrated story that is interactive. The translation was done with native speakers, who ensured the text and images were suitable for the Lebanese context.

During the piloting process, an Arabic version of the SH+ programme was produced with collaboration from the WHO and other humanitarian organisations. The programme consists of an audio course, delivered by trained facilitators in group settings, and complemented with an illustrated self-help manual. The results of the study show that the Arabic version is feasible, effective, and culturally appropriate. This tool can be used as an adjunctive mental health service for individuals or communities.

In addition to this, the process evaluation included interviews with 11 study participants. Seven participants completed the intervention, while four dropped out after the fourth session. To encourage participants to take part in the interviews, ten dollars were provided to cover their travel expenses. Participants were randomly selected at the end of the study period and provided verbal informed consent over the telephone prior to the interviews. They were diverse in terms of nationality, marital status, and area of residence.

Acceptability

This study investigated whether self-help & counselling modules in Arabic would improve the acceptability of mental health treatments. This study was an Internet-based randomized wait-list controlled trial in which participants received an Arabic translation of the myMCT manual immediately after randomization and again after post-assessment. Participants in the unguided treatment condition did not receive therapeutic advice or treatment. Participants were recruited from online forums through Facebook. Participation was anonymous and fluency in Arabic was required.

The ICBT program was developed for Arabic-speaking immigrants and refugees in Sweden. It was developed in collaboration with the Swedish Association of Local Authorities and Regions (Vikings). A core development team of 4 clinical psychologists, a webmaster, and a translator worked on the program. The program was delivered using the Iterapi platform. The study has several limitations, including the inability of some participants to access the program.

Language and culture adaptation was an iterative process. Pilot users commented on language, content, and tone. The Arabic modules were then evaluated by 105 real-life test users, who rated each module on a 5-point Likert scale, indicating its usefulness. A third theme focused on the stigma surrounding mental health problems in Arabic culture. Ultimately, the modules were deemed acceptable by the test group.

Barriers

Immigrant populations in Western countries such as Sweden have an increasing number of Arabic-speaking residents. Recent studies have shown that these immigrants are more likely to develop psychological disorders than their counterparts in Arabic-speaking countries. In addition, many immigrants face barriers in seeking treatment for mild to moderate mental health problems. These barriers may include a lack of accessible health care services or a belief that the health care providers do not understand their cultural background. In this study, we describe the development of an internet-based transdiagnostic cognitive-behavioral therapy self-help program for Arabic-speaking immigrants. Feedback was obtained from two focus groups and 105 pilot users.

We recruited the test users of Arabic versions of the modules through social media platforms and Web search engines. We also hosted Web seminars aimed at professionals working with recently arrived immigrants. Interested individuals registered by using an email address and a personal password. They were given free access to all materials and asked to rate them on the usefulness of the information. No personal information was collected from test users. Despite this, we are confident that the Arabic-language version of the modules will be widely used and appreciated by the community.

The prevalence of common mental illnesses in forcibly displaced people is high. Yet, they rarely seek professional mental health help. One major barrier is self-stigma. We aim to assess the feasibility and acceptability of the Coping with Flight and Trauma film. We will also assess whether the film changes participants' self-stigma. So, what are the barriers to self-help & counselling in Arabic?

Some participants suggested that the program should emphasize the biological explanations of mental health conditions rather than psychological ones. Focusing on biological explanations might help decrease the stigma. By normalizing psychological problems, the material would be more accessible and engaging. Alternatively, it could be accompanied by a video clip that dispels common myths and misconceptions about the mental health field. The participants were concerned about mental health stigma, a key barrier to seeking treatment.

Treatment components

In the current trial, the self-help component of the therapy was highly effective in improving participant satisfaction and reducing the number of sessions. Its success may suggest the need for further research to assess its efficacy. In the meantime, a self-help program can be developed in Arabic to address specific needs. Nonetheless, further research is needed to establish whether the Arabic-language versions of the treatment components are effective for addressing specific needs.

Arab populations often face barriers to accessing Western psychological treatments, including the use of psychotherapy. In a recent study of therapist-guided iCBT for Arab populations, therapists used an Arabic version of the Wellbeing Course. In addition, Arabic-language courses were presented with cultural sensitivity. Arabic Wellbeing Course participants showed a statistically significant reduction in symptoms of depression and distress, and a high rate of satisfaction with the programme.

The results of this study show that Arabic-speaking immigrants in Sweden are more likely to experience psychological disorders than their non-Arabic counterparts. An internet-delivered cognitive-behavioral treatment was individualized to the individual's self-described problems. In addition, the nine modules were tailored to specific psychopathologies including insomnia, depression, and anxiety. The study involved 59 individuals who underwent an eight-week course of self-help & counselling, with a wait-list control.

In the past, studies of Arab patients in the West have been underrepresented in mainstream American journals. While various attempts have been made to address Arab Americans as a minority group in the United States, a paucity of scholarship has arisen. The study of Arab patients has unique sociopolitical and cultural characteristics. Arab patients do not fully acculturate to the American way of life. Their culture also affects the conceptualization of mental illness and the therapeutic process.


Abby Hussein

As a single mother, career for my own mother, working full time, while trying to set up a business, no-one knows better than I do how important finding and maintaining the right balance in life is. During this rollercoaster of a journey, I lost myself, lost my passion, lost my drive and turned into an automated machine, who's sole purpose is cater and serve others. Needless to say, I became very disillusioned with life, my mental health became compromised and I just didn't have anything to give anymore. My work suffered, my family suffered, and most of all, I suffered. It took all the courage and strength that I could muster to turn this around and find an equilibrium that serves me first, allowing me to achieve all of my goals and reams while doing all the things that were required of me and those that I required of myself.

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