Form Follows Function: A Model for Clinical Supervision of Genetic Counseling Students

Colleen Wherley, Patricia M Veach, Meredith A. Martyr, Bonnie S LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Supervision plays a vital role in genetic counselor training, yet models describing genetic counseling supervision processes and outcomes are lacking. This paper describes a proposed supervision model intended to provide a framework to promote comprehensive and consistent clinical supervision training for genetic counseling students. Based on the principle “form follows function,” the model reflects and reinforces McCarthy Veach et al.’s empirically derived model of genetic counseling practice – the “Reciprocal Engagement Model” (REM). The REM consists of mutually interactive educational, relational, and psychosocial components. The Reciprocal Engagement Model of Supervision (REM-S) has similar components and corresponding tenets, goals, and outcomes. The 5 REM-S tenets are: Learning and applying genetic information are key; Relationship is integral to genetic counseling supervision; Student autonomy must be supported; Students are capable; and Student emotions matter. The REM-S outcomes are: Student understands and applies information to independently provide effective services, develop professionally, and engage in self-reflective practice. The 16 REM-S goals are informed by the REM of genetic counseling practice and supported by prior literature. A review of models in medicine and psychology confirms the REM-S contains supervision elements common in healthcare fields, while remaining unique to genetic counseling. The REM-S shows promise for enhancing genetic counselor supervision training and practice and for promoting research on clinical supervision. The REM-S is presented in detail along with specific examples and training and research suggestions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)702-716
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 14 2015


  • Clinical supervision
  • Genetic counseling supervision
  • Reciprocal-engagement model
  • Student supervision
  • Supervision goals
  • Supervision model
  • Supervision strategies

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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