Genetic Counselor Perceptions of Genetic Counseling Session Goals: A Validation Study of the Reciprocal-Engagement Model

Julianne E. Hartmann, Patricia Mc Carthy Veach, Ian M. MacFarlane, Bonnie S. LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Although some researchers have attempted to define genetic counseling practice goals, no study has obtained consensus about the goals from a large sample of genetic counselors. The Reciprocal-Engagement Model (REM; McCarthy Veach, Bartels & LeRoy, 2007) articulates 17 goals of genetic counseling practice. The present study investigated whether these goals could be generalized as a model of practice, as determined by a larger group of clinical genetic counselors. Accordingly, 194 genetic counselors were surveyed regarding their opinions about the importance of each goal and their perceptions of how frequently they achieve each goal. Mean importance ratings suggest they viewed every goal as important. Factor analysis of the 17 goals yielded four factors: Understanding and Appreciation, Support and Guidance, Facilitative Decision-Making, and Patient-Centered Education. Patient-Centered Education and Facilitative Decision-Making goals received the highest mean importance ratings. Mean frequency ratings were consistently lower than importance ratings, suggesting genetic counseling goals may be difficult to achieve and/or not applicable in all situations. A number of respondents provided comments about the REM goals that offer insight into factors related to implementing the goals in clinical practice. This study presents preliminary evidence concerning the validity of the goals component of the REM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)225-237
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2013, National Society of Genetic Counselors, Inc.


  • Genetic counseling goals
  • Genetic counseling models
  • Models of practice
  • Outcome goals
  • Process goals
  • Reciprocal-Engagement Model


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