Client perceptions of the impact of genetic counseling: An exploratory study

Patricia Mc Carthy Veach, Sarah E. Truesdell, Bonnie S. LeRoy, Dianne M. Bartels

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Twenty-eight former genetic counseling clients seen at a major Midwestern university were recruited to be interviewed about their genetic counseling experiences, including most and least helpful aspects, what they learned, how this information impacted their decision-making, and their perceptions of their genetic counselors' behaviors. Responses were inductively analyzed, and several themes were identified, including: Clients sought genetic counseling to obtain genetic-medical information; a majority accurately recalled this information; genetic counseling influenced decisions for about 50% of the sample; decision-making was affected by several extra- session factors; a majority experienced distress during the session; most perceived genetic counselor responses as nondirective and liked this approach; counselor behaviors regarded as directive involved discussion of pregnancy termination; participants disagreed about the need for and provision of genetic counselor support; most regarded the session as helpful and stated that they would seek genetic counseling again. Suggestions for addressing these issues in practice and research are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-216
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Client perceptions
  • Genetic counseling


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