Blog Original research

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


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.

This article can be accessed in this LINK.

Archives Blog Review

Psychological and counselling interventions for female genital mutilation.

Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2017 Feb;136 Suppl 1:60-64. doi: 10.1002/ijgo.12051.

Psychological and counselling interventions for female genital mutilation.

Smith H, Stein K.


Women and girls living with female genital mutilation (FGM) are more likely to experience psychological problems than women without FGM. As well as psychological support, this population may need additional care when seeking surgical interventions to correct complications of FGM. Recent WHO guidelines recommend cognitive behavioral therapy for women and girls experiencing anxiety disorders, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. The guidelines also suggest that preoperative counselling for deinfibulation, and psychological support alongside surgical interventions, can help women manage the physiological and psychological changes following surgery. This synthesis summarizes evidence on women’s values and preferences, and the context and conditions that may be required to provide psychological and counselling interventions. Understanding women’s views, their own ways of coping, as well social and cultural factors that influence women’s mental well-being, may help identify the types of interventions this population needs at different times and stages of their lives.

This article is available in this LINK

Archives Blog Original research

Female Genital Mutilation in a Young Refugee: A Case Report and Review

Journal of Child & Adolescent Trauma. 2010, 3(3):234-242.

Female genital mutilation in a young refugee: a case report and review

Suardi E, Mishkin A & Henderson SW


Female genital mutilation (FGM) is a widespread practice affecting up to 140 million girls and women worldwide (World Health Organization, 2008a). A substantial advocacy literature reports long-term psychological consequences of FGM, but there is little in the psychiatric literature to document this (Behrendt & Moritz, 2005). Within the broader psychiatric literature on refugee mental health, there are debates about the general validity of psychiatric diagnoses in refugee communities, including somatic disorders and posttraumatic stress disorder (Summerfield, 2008). We present the case of a young woman with a history of FGM, who was repeatedly hospitalized for gastrointestinal complaints of unclear etiology and discuss how her case illustrates the diagnostic and cultural complexity of the psychosocial consequences of FGM and political asylum-seeking.

This article can be accessed in this LINK