Article Text

The psychological challenge of genital injury
  1. W Frappell-Cooke1,
  2. P Wink2 and
  3. A Wood3
  1. 1Defence Clinical Psychology Service, Joint Medical Command, Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre Headley Court, Leatherhead, Surrey, UK
  2. 2Army Primary Health Care Service (E) Chetwynd Barracks, Chilwell, Nottingham, UK
  3. 3Doctoral student in Counselling Psychology, Department of Psychological Therapies, Teesside University, Middlesbrough, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr W Frappell-Cooke, Department of Community Mental Health, Woolwich Station Medical Centre, Green Hill, Woolwich, London SE18 4BW, UK; wendy.frappell-cooke877{at}


Introduction Injuries sustained from Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) can have a devastating impact on bodily integrity; physical injuries can be severe and include traumatic amputation of limbs, pelvic fracture, abdominal trauma, extremity fragmentation wounds and genital trauma. Soldiers suffering from genital trauma can experience overwhelming emotions and adjusting to their injuries is a process that occurs over time, that some find easier than others. This paper explores current practice and identifies guidelines for psychological interventions within this arena.

Methods Relevant associated literature has been reviewed to identify the long-term consequences of genital trauma and to ascertain best practice in supporting this patient population. Current practices within the Royal Centre for Defence Medicine (RCDM) and the Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre (DMRC) Headley Court have been explored.

Results There is little published literature in this area. Therefore, in respect of guiding treatment of this patient population, related research on the psychological consequences of prostate and penile cancer, limb amputation, acquired infertility and acquired disability has been used as a base to inform interventions. Current practices at RCDM and DMRC have been found to support interventions within related areas.

Conclusions There is no published evidence base to guide psychological interventions for genital trauma. Professional multidisciplinary intervention will potentially be beneficial in establishing the long-term needs of this patient population, together with qualitative research exploring the experience of soldiers suffering genital trauma.

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