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Selina Studer

Maria Kleinstäuber




BioMed Central Ltd.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Background In mental health care, the number of patients with diverse cultural backgrounds is growing. Nevertheless, evaluated training programs for transcultural competence are missing. Barriers for engaging in transcultural therapy can be identified in patients as well as in therapists. Besides language barriers, clinical psychologists report insecurities, for example, fear of additional expenses when involving a language mediator, ethical concerns such as power imbalances, or fear of lack of knowledge or incorrect handling when working with patients from other cultures. Divergent values and concepts of disease, prejudices, and stereotyping are also among the issues discussed as barriers to optimal psychotherapy care. The planned study aims to empower clinical psychologists to handle both their own as well as patients’ barriers through a web-based training on transcultural competence.

Methods The training includes 6 modules, which are unlocked weekly. A total of N = 174 clinical psychologists are randomly assigned to two groups: the training group (TG) works through the complete training over 6 weeks, which includes a variety of practical exercises and self-refections. In addition, participants receive weekly written feedback from a trained psychologist. The waitlist control group (WL) completes the training after the end of the waiting period (2 months after the end of the TG’s training). The primary outcome is transcultural competence. Secondary outcomes consist of experiences in treating people from other cultures (number of patients, satisfaction and experience of competence in treatment, etc.). Data will be collected before and after the training as well as 2 and 6 months after the end of the training.

Discussion This randomized controlled trial tests the efficacy of and satisfaction with a web-based training on transcultural competence for German-speaking clinical psychologists. If validated successfully, the training can represent a time- and place-flexible training opportunity that could be integrated into the continuing education of clinical psychologists in the long term.

Trial registration DRKS00031105. Registered on 21 February 2023.