Engaging Turkish Immigrants in Psychotherapy: Development and Proof-of-Concept Study of a Culture-Tailored, Web-Based Intervention


  • Hanna Reich Orcid
  • Daniela Zürn
  • Ricarda Mewes Orcid


Background: Culturally tailored interventions can increase the engagement and the success rate of psychotherapy in immigrant and ethnic minority patients. In this regard, the integration of the patients’ illness beliefs is a key element. Applying principles of Motivational and Ethnographic Interviewing, we developed a culture-tailored, web-based intervention to facilitate engagement of Turkish immigrant inpatients in psychotherapy.
Method: The different aspects of the engagement intervention development are described and its acceptance and usefulness were tested in a proof-of-concept trial with an experimental control group design (active control condition: progressive muscle relaxation) in a sample of Turkish immigrant inpatients in Germany (N = 26). Illness perception, illness-related locus of control, and self-efficacy were assessed pre and post intervention.
Results: The engagement intervention was rated better than the control condition (p = .002) and in particular, participants felt better prepared for therapy after working with it (p = .013). By working with the engagement intervention, self-efficacy increased (p = .034) and external-fatalistic control beliefs diminished (p = .021). However, half of the participants needed assistance in using the computer and web-based interventions.
Conclusion: The developed intervention provides a first step towards feasible culture-tailored psychotherapeutic elements that can be integrated into routine clinical care. The first results regarding acceptance and usefulness are promising.