Cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) in an effective technique used widely in Western countries. However, there is limited evidence as to the utility, perception and understanding of CBT in developing countries. This study describes and investigates the experience of CBT training and practice in a group of practitioners in Tanzania. A qualitative approach to the investigation was used, and seven participants from Tanzania’s only psychiatric hospital who had completed CBT training were interviewed. The resulting verbatim transcripts were analysed via interpretative phenomenological analysis. Five superordinate themes emerged from the analysis: ‘the medical model’, ‘novelty’, ‘practicalities’, ‘process’ and ‘therapist effects’. The two themes ‘therapist effects’ and ‘process’ are discussed in detail as these may be particularly relevant to the clinical application of the therapy in a new culture and context. The implications for future development of CBT in Tanzania are considered. In developing CBT for dissemination in Tanzania, specific cultural and clinical issues highlighted by indigenous clinicians need consideration.
Key learning aims
(1) To identify what range of factors may influence clinicians’ perception of and learning about CBT when CBT training is delivered in a mental health setting in Tanzania, or to those with East African origins.
(2) To consider the use of qualitative research approaches to inform the early stages of adapting CBT for use in new settings and applications.
(3) To be able to apply knowledge about cultural differences to standard CBT in order to promote culturally sensitive practice.