Working psychologically with female genital mutilation: an exploration of the views of circumcised women in relation to better psychological practice

Prof Doc Thesis

Jones, Alison 2010. Working psychologically with female genital mutilation: an exploration of the views of circumcised women in relation to better psychological practice. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsJones, Alison
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Female genital mutilation (FGM) or female circumcision is the term given to traditional practices involving the intentional cutting or partial or total removal of the external female genitalia (WHO, 1999). This two part study used both qualitative and quantitative methods. The first part of the study aimed to explore the views and experiences of FGM amongst women who had undergone the practice. It also explored their views about what clinical psychologists needed to know and do in order to provide appropriate services. In this part of the study six participants were interviewed using a semi-structured interview. The data was analysed using interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Findings indicated that participants felt that despite there being many reasons given for FGM none of them justified the continuation of the practice. Further findings suggested that participants felt that clinical psychologists needed to; understand how FGM is accounted for (e.g. reasons and contexts); acknowledge the different views towards the practice; have knowledge of the many consequences of the procedure (e.g. on physical health, psychological health and relationships) and talk about FGM in a sensitive and non-judgemental manner during consultations.
Part two of the study explored the experiences, knowledge and training needs related to FGM amongst qualified clinical psychologists. A survey was completed by 74 clinical psychologists working in a range of specialities. The findings indicated that there was minimal experience of working with FGM related difficulties amongst participants. Knowledge about FGM and the consequences of it were also limited. Furthermore, clinical psychologists had received little training about FGM and many did not feel confident in working with issues related to the practice. Implications for clinical practice and recommendations for further research are suggested including; training opportunities specifically regarding FGM and further research that explores the connections between the physical and psychological consequences of the practice.

Keywordspsychological practice; female circumcision
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Publication dates
PrintMay 2010
Publication process dates
Deposited16 Feb 2012
Permalink -

Download files

License: CC BY-ND

  • 487
    total views
  • 659
    total downloads
  • 5
    views this month
  • 3
    downloads this month

Export as