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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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Understanding the motivations of health-care providers in performing female genital mutilation: an integrative review of the literature.

FREEReprod Health. 2017 Mar 23;14(1):46. doi: 10.1186/s12978-017-0306-5.

Understanding the motivations of health-care providers in performing female genital mutilation: an integrative review of the literature.

Doucet MH, Pallitto C, Groleau D.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a traditional harmful practice that can cause severe physical and psychological damages to girls and women. Increasingly, trained health-care providers carry out the practice at the request of families. It is important to understand the motivations of providers in order to reduce the medicalization of FGM. This integrative review identifies, appraises and summarizes qualitative and quantitative literature exploring the factors that are associated with the medicalization of FGM and/or re-infibulation. METHODS: Literature searches were conducted in PubMed, CINAHL and grey literature databases. Hand searches of identified studies were also examined. The “CASP Qualitative Research Checklist” and the “STROBE Statement” were used to assess the methodological quality of the qualitative and quantitative studies respectively. A total of 354 articles were reviewed for inclusion. RESULTS: Fourteen (14) studies, conducted in countries where FGM is largely practiced as well as in countries hosting migrants from these regions, were included. The main findings about the motivations of health-care providers to practice FGM were: (1) the belief that performing FGM would be less harmful for girls or women than the procedure being performed by a traditional practitioner (the so-called “harm reduction” perspective); (2) the belief that the practice was justified for cultural reasons; (3) the financial gains of performing the procedure; (4) responding to requests of the community or feeling pressured by the community to perform FGM. The main reasons given by health-care providers for not performing FGM were that they (1) are concerned about the risks that FGM can cause for girls’ and women’s health; (2) are preoccupied by the legal sanctions that might result from performing FGM; and (3) consider FGM to be a “bad practice”. CONCLUSION: The findings of this review can inform public health program planners, policy makers and researchers to adapt or create strategies to end medicalization of FGM in countries with high prevalence of this practice, as well as in countries hosting immigrants from these regions. Given the methodological limitations in the included studies, it is clear that more robust in-depth qualitative studies are needed, in order to better tackle the complexity of this phenomenon and contribute to eradicating FGM throughout the world.

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