Does receiving genetic counseling impact genetic counselor practice?

Elizabeth Peters, Patricia Mc Carthy Veach, Erin E. Ward, Bonnie S. LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


This study was an investigation of whether genetic counselors have received genetic counseling and if so, how they believe it affects their practice. One thousand genetic counselors were mailed surveys about the nature of genetic counseling services received, impact on their clincal practice, frequency and reasons for disclosing about their receipt of counseling to their clients, and demographics. Ninety-three of the 510 respondents reported receiving genetic counseling. Of these, almost three-fourths were practicing genetic counselors while receiving services. Reasons for services include prenatal concerns, family history of cancer, and history/risk of other genetic conditions. Frequently endorsed effects on practice include increased empathy and understanding of client decisions, feeling more connected with clients, greater emphasis on psychosocial support, and sympathy. Forty-six respondents disclosed to clients about their receipt of genetic counseling. Prevalent reasons include client asked, help clients feel they are not alone, demonstrate counselor understanding, decrease client anxiety, build rapport, and normalize client feelings. Practice and research recommendations are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)387-402
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2004


  • Genetic counselor practice
  • Genetic counselors as clients
  • Self-disclosure


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