WhatsApp supervision for a lay-led Islamic trauma-focused intervention in Somaliland: Qualitative content analysis

Alexandra B. Klein, Mumin H. Egeh, Alexandra R. Bowling, Ash Holloway, Ayaan Abdillahi Ali, Zeinab Adam Abdillahi, Mohamed Ahmed Abdi, Salma Hassan Ibrahim, Khadar Hindi Bootan, Hibaaq Isse Ibrahim, Aden Mohamed Ali, Abdirahman Muse Tubeec, Michael L. Dolezal, Dega A. Angula, Jacob A. Bentley, Norah C. Feeny, Lori A. Zoellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Clinical supervision is critical for the uptake of psychotherapy but difficult to facilitate in countries with limited providers, resources, and internet infrastructure. Innovative supervision approaches are needed to increase access to mental health treatments in low-to-middle income countries (LMICs). This study examined the content and feasibility of remote WhatsApp text supervision conducted as part of an open clinical trial in Somaliland. Islamic Trauma Healing ITH) is a brief, group, lay-lead, trauma-focused, mosque-based intervention that has demonstrated initial efficacy in pilot studies in the United States and Somaliland. After a 2-day, in-person training, lay leaders led four groups of five to seven members focused on trauma-related psychopathology and community reconciliation. Somali lay leaders trained in ITH (n = 9) and the research team (n = 6) attended weekly WhatsApp supervision during the intervention. Content was logged and subjected to qualitative analysis by two coders. Comments related to intervention implementation indicated that lay leaders understood the treatment rationale, adhered to treatment procedures, and believed the intervention components to be helpful and culturally relevant. Themes related to engagement suggested perfect attendance across groups and high levels of participation. Lay leader psychoeducation and skill development; supervisor praise, support, and encouragement; and supervisee gratitude emerged as additional themes. Remote text supervision conducted via WhatsApp was technologically feasible and may have facilitated skill development and the effective implementation of this lay-led intervention. When tailored to the local context, remote supervision approaches hold promise for increasing access to services in LMICs with limited resources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-70
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of traumatic stress
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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