Is self-disclosure part of the genetic counselor's clinical role?

Brittany C. Thomas, Patricia Mc Carthy Veach, Bonnie S. LeRoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The role of genetic counselor self-disclosure in clinical practice is unclear as there are few published investigations of this issue. In the present study, 11 genetic counselors who previously received genetic services were interviewed about their opinions and use of disclosure. Several themes were extracted from their responses. All participants reportedly disclosed to patients; however, not all disclosed their receipt of genetic services. Patient requests for self-disclosure influenced many participants' disclosure decisions. Opinions regarding potential benefits of disclosure varied. Nearly all participants stressed the importance of self-disclosing judiciously, stating that it may be counterproductive to client goal attainment. Four individuals with expertise in genetic counseling and psychotherapy were invited to react to these themes and to provide their opinions of self-disclosure. Their views are compared to those of the present sample, and practice and research recommendations are given.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)163-177
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Genetic Counseling
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2006


  • Counselor opinions of self-disclosure
  • Genetic counselor self-disclosure


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