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Experiences of Accessing and Undergoing Psychological Therapy in the UK: Turkish International Students’ Perspective

Mertan, E. (2023). Experiences of Accessing and Undergoing Psychological Therapy in the UK: Turkish International Students’ Perspective. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


There is a global rise in the occurrence and severity of mental health problems and help-seeking behaviours among students in higher education. Despite experiencing similar levels of psychological distress, international students experience and present with different symptoms of mental health concerns and don’t seek help as much as their domestic counterparts. Overall, qualitative research concerning students' therapy experience in the UK is limited and the international student mental health literature has mainly focused on Asian students. According to the researcher’s knowledge, there is no research investigating the help-seeking experience of Turkish students who are abroad for their studies. This paper presents findings from a qualitative study that explored the experience of accessing and undergoing psychological therapy of Turkish international students. Data were collected using semi-structured interviews with eight Turkish women who had engaged in psychological therapy whilst studying in the UK. Reflexive Thematic Analysis from a critical realist perspective was applied in the research process, which resulted in seven themes: deviation from the normal, pulling in two directions, feeling (un)invited, unmet expectations, managing the differences, benefits from therapy, and the nice therapist. Some of the themes consisted of sub-themes which described different aspects of participants’ experiences. The findings were centred around the cultural and/or language influences on the experience of seeking professional help and engaging in therapy as an international student. It is hoped that the findings will inform and motivate service providers to develop multiculturally
competent psychological therapy practices and accessible service provisions attuned to Turkish international students’ needs.

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Psychology
School of Health & Psychological Sciences > School of Health & Psychological Sciences Doctoral Theses
Doctoral Theses
[thumbnail of Mertan thesis 2023 redacted PDF-A.pdf]
Text - Accepted Version
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