Factors Influencing Psychological Help Seeking in Adults: A Qualitative Study
Nursel TopkayaOndokuz Mayıs University, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences, Division of Psychological Services in Education, Samsun, Turkey
The aim of the current research is to identify which factors, and in what direction these factors influence adults’ decisions to seek psychological help for their personal problems. The research was designed as a phenomenology model; the data was gathered through the semi-structured interview technique, which is mostly used in qualitative research designs. In selecting the participants, the criterion sampling technique – one of the purposeful sampling techniques – was used. Two criteria were decided upon in selecting participants; being, never having pursued psychological help previously or having terminated a previous process early. There were 6 male and 4 female participants in the study. The interviews were conducted face to face and recorded by a voicerecorder. The interviews were then examined using descriptive analysis techniques. Two main themes emerged as a result of the analysis; namely, factors that inhibited and factors that facilitated psychological help seeking in adults. Social stigma, unwillingness to share problems with an unfamiliar person, the belief that private problems should be kept in the family, one’s belief that he/she can solve his/her problems, and not knowing enough about the psychological help process were determined as the sub-themes for inhibiting factors. On the other hand, the availability of psychological services, the belief in the benefits of psychological services, trusting in the mental health professional, and receiving help free of cost were determined as the sub-themes for the facilitating factors. The results were discussed in relation to the literature and several suggestions were made regarding how to overcome the barriers preventing individuals from seeking psychological help and how to make facilitative factors more acceptable, so as to increase people’s willingness to seek help.