Clinical Considerations For Mental Health Professionals

Working With Women Who Have Undergone

 Female Genital Cutting

A dissertation/doctoral project submitted to the faculty of

the Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology

in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Doctor of Psychology at

Alliant International University, Los Angeles, California


Sayida Yasmin Peprah, PsyD

Krystel Edmonds-Biglow, Psy.D., Chairperson



Despite the fact that approximately 130 million women have undergone female genital cutting, two million or more girls experience this procedure each year, and that individuals from this population have been immigrating increasingly to Western nations, the majority of clinicians lack knowledge about this practice and its numerous psychological and physiological impacts (Chalmers & Omer-Hashi, 2002 & Gibeau, 2006). Although numerous research studies and articles have been published on female genital cutting, only a limited number have specifically addressed clinical considerations for mental health professionals.

This doctoral project was intended to provide mental health practitioners with a resource to increase their cultural competence in working with women who have undergone female genital cutting. The following chapters highlight the significant clinical considerations needed, when working with this population. These include, but are not limited to, understanding the practice of female genital cutting, psychological risks that affect women who have undergone female genital cutting, impacts of westernization and acculturation on female genital cutting populations, issues of countertransference, and counseling and treatment implications for mental health professionals working with women who have undergone female genital cutting.

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