Psychotherapy in Uganda, created BY, FOR, and WITH therapists and consumers

In this update, we hear from Khamisi Musanje on his work in Uganda. In their work, you can see how DNA-v is explicitly contextual; there is no DNA-v without understanding situational, cultural, and relational context. That’s why social view is the outer contextual ring that surrounds all of our abilities (thoughts, feelings and actions).
Adapt therapies for use where they are most needed
Take the adaptation on in a deeply contextual way – no copy-and-paste
Include the people that the therapy is by, for and about!
Khamisi Musanje

While DNA-V and other ACT-related psychotherapies have enjoyed a great breakthrough in supporting young people in the developed world, such experiences remain minimal or almost non-existing in the developing world where the biggest percentage of young people live. An automatic copy-and-paste approach would quicken the utilization of such evidence-based psychotherapies in other contexts (where they might be needed most); however, the realization that the contexts are crucial to the effectiveness of an intervention and that many evidence-based health interventions developed for people in the developed world fall short when used in settings which are different from their original contexts, necessitates careful consideration and reasonable modifications to such therapies before use in new settings.

In an effort to extend contextual behavioural sciences to the low-income context of Uganda, I embarked on a journey to culturally translate DNA-V materials for use in Uganda and contextualize them to support adolescents living with HIV, who are approximately 190,000.

In this work, I engaged key stakeholders, including local mental health experts, religious leaders, traditional healers, social workers, teachers, adolescents and ACT practitioners, to produce culturally relevant materials. Beyond adaptation, I also tested the social validity of the DNA-V materials among potential providers and targeted users. In this step, I was interested in establishing whether the materials were considered appropriate for use in Uganda, if they were understandable and if they were liked. Impressively, DNA-V was perceived to be acceptable to both potential users and providers.

I am currently working on evaluating its effectiveness in supporting the mental health of adolescents with HIV. I admit that the journey has been tough but worth it.

I have so far disseminated this work in two peer-reviewed journals;

PLOS Global Health Journal;

Journal of Contextual Behavioral Sciences;

Khamisi Musanje – Uganda

Fabulous work. 

If you have an update on DNA-V, please let us know and we’ll share it with the world.
See you in next month’s update,

Louise Hayes,

on behalf of the DNA-V team