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Published on Jan 5, 2015
Psychologist Ronald Goldman, PhD, author of "Questioning Circumcision: A Jewish Perspective" and "Circumcision: The Hidden Trauma" discusses strategies for effective communication about ending circumcision.
Communication about circumcision may be improved by considering psychological factors such as empathy and persuasiveness. A preliminary persuasiveness survey identified statements that most influenced subjects to question the advisability of circumcision. The right to physical integrity ranked lower in persuasiveness than several statements about harm. Arguments critical of circumcision may contribute to a law prohibiting it, but such a law alone is not likely to change attitudes about the practice in religious groups. Additional steps are recommended to reduce distrust and opposition, start removing the barriers that restrict helpful dialogue, and create a bridge. Changing circumcision practice will require broad-based, long-term commitment. Choosing new approaches and programs that minimize disruption and fit the reality of the situation would facilitate progress. Psychological sensitivity is essential for improving communication and contributing to personal and social change.