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Counselling professionals’ awareness and understanding of female genital mutilation/cutting: Training needs for working therapeutically with survivors.

FREECouns Psychother Res. 2017 Dec;17(4):309-319. doi: 10.1002/capr.12136. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

Counselling professionals’ awareness and understanding of female genital mutilation/cutting: Training needs for working therapeutically with survivors.

Jackson C

ABSTRACT

Background: There is a dearth of literature that has looked at the psychological  impact of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), and little is known about the understanding and awareness of FGM/C amongst counselling professionals. Method: An online survey was completed by 2073 BACP members. The survey covered four broad themes: demographics; awareness and understanding of FGM/C; experience of working therapeutically with survivors; and FGM/C training. Descriptive and inferential analyses were undertaken on quantitative data, and thematic content analysis was undertaken on qualitative data. Results: Only a small proportion of respondents (10%) had knowingly worked with survivors of FGM/C. Overall, respondents lacked confidence in their awareness and understanding of FGM/C, including their safeguarding duties. Having cultural respect, knowledge and understanding was perceived as the most helpful factor
when working with this client group. Less than a quarter of respondents had undertaken any training with regard to FGM/C, although the vast majority expressed a desire to do so. Discussion: This research has highlighted the importance of improving signposting to existing training and educational resources around FGM/C, as well as the need to develop new resources where appropriate. The importance of embedding cultural competency into core practitioner training, not just training specific to FGM/C, is paramount.

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